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About Us

Shawano Ski Sharks is a fiscally responsible, non-profit water ski club that presents free, weekly ski shows in a family-focused environment. All Ski Shark members, skiers and non-skiers alike, work together to increase skills, develop creative shows, build showmanship, and hone leadership abilities to create the best water ski show in northeast Wisconsin.

Started in 1976, 40+ years later the Team is still going strong and better than ever. Weekly waterski shows are provided for the entertainment of the local community and tourist visitors to the Shawano area. The Ski Sharks compete at a high level against other teams in the State of Wisconsin as well as nationally. Recent years have brought about the hosting of local, regional and even national events! 

Welcome to Camp Onawahs 2024!

Ski Sharks History

It was the mid-1970s, organizers of the annual July 4th festival at the County Park in Shawano, WI were looking for some entertainment. In 1976, they hired the Crandon Ski Serpents (now called Crandon Water Shows) to come and perform a waterski show during the event on Shawano Lake in front of the County Park. That performance piqued the interest of local teenagers who thought it looked like fun. This led to discussions with the Crandon team on how to form a new ski team.


1977 - The Shawano Ski Sharks are born! With help from the Ski Serpents, the Ski Sharks perform jointly with the Ski Serpents at the annual Shawano County Park get together. The Ski Sharks continue to pull people together and get training from the Ski Serpents team.


1978 - The Ski Sharks move from performing at the County Park over to the Bamboo Bar on the other side of Shawano Lake. This becomes the first permanent ski site for the team for years to come. Regular shows are established at this ski site. Ski Sharks purchase their first team boat from the Ski Serpents.


1979 - Wanting a ski jump the Ski Sharks hear that the Oconto Skiing Patriots have an old one for sale. The Team purchases the jump ramp from the Patriots team. Unfortunately, the ramp is in poor repair and has been abandoned on the side of the Oconto River. Members of the Ski Sharks had to cut in a temporary road through a wooded area to haul out the ramp and as the jump was not road worthy or road legal, had to sneak it to Shawano on back country highways during the middle of the night. Once repaired, that ramp served the team for a long time.


1983 - First place at the Northeastern Wisconsin Regional Tournament in Oconto.


1988 - Shawano Lake is known for its rough water on windy days. Rough water and show-skiing don’t mix well. The Team sought out a new permanent ski site and in 1988 moved from Shawano Lake to Smalley Park on the Wolf River on the west side of Shawano. This is the same area the Team skis at presently.


1993 - 1st place at Wisconsin State Tournament, division 3. The first State title for the Ski Sharks.


1997 - The ski site moves from the north side of Smalley Park further south to make use of the sand beach.


Early 2000s - One of the most difficult times for the Ski Sharks! The dot com bubble had burst, sponsorships were hard to come by and the team had dwindling membership and financial resources. It was during this time that the ski team nearly dissolved. A thank you to Ben for keeping it alive during these few difficult years.


2010 - 1st place at Wisconsin State Tournament, division 2. To keep up with changing national regulations, the 1970s era jump is retired and committed team members build Ski Sharks a new jump that meets current rules.


2012 - First community Learn to Ski event.

2015 - First Believe and Ski adaptive event.


2016 - Ski Sharks host the Big Pull with a new world and national record of 30 barefooters behind one boat.


2017 - 1st place at Wisconsin State Tournament, division 3. As the Shawano Hospital is being relocated and Smalley Park goes through a revitalization plan, it is decided to move the ski site back to the north side of Smalley Park. Massive investments are made in site development, community involvement and landscaping, bringing the ski site up to par with some of the best in the nation. Ski Sharks host the Big Pull with a new world and national record of 32 barefooters behind one boat.


2018 - 1st place at Wisconsin State Tournament, division 2. In cooperation with the City of Shawano, Wisconsin DNR and the Shawano Park n Rec Dept, Ski Sharks cleared invasive species from Smalley Park and planted hundreds of native plants and shrubs to restore the shoreline.


2019 - Ski Sharks host the Big Pull with a new world and national record of 38 barefooters behind one boat.


2020 - Ski Sharks host a stop of the Flaunt-It swivel ski tournament.


2021 - 2nd place at the Division 2 National Show Ski Tournament. Ski Sharks hosted the entire D2 Nationals right here in Shawano. A Flaunt-It swivel ski stop was also hosted at Smalley Park. Ski Sharks hosted the Big Pull with a new national record of 40 barefooters behind one boat.


2022 - Investments in Smalley Park continued as the Ski Sharks with Shawano Park n Rec continued to improve the ski site and the park for public use. New bleacher seating and shoreline docks were added for 2022. Ski Sharks hosted the D2 National Individual Qualifier tournament in July.

2023 - The ski site continued to be improved with an in-ground sprinkler system and underground electrical runs. This was all in an effort to beautify the park and make the site nicer for spectators. As the Team continued to invest in its future, a new triple rig ski boat was purchased with world record potential built in. The Team set a new personal best 30 person human pyramid.

2024 - Ski Sharks will host the Division 2 National Show Ski Tournament from August 2-4! Another Big Pull national and world record barefoot attempt will also be hosted in Shawano on Sept 8th. Ski Sharks are building the biggest, baddest show ski boat in history to break world records. Come check it out at all the shows during the summer of 2024!


Jerry, Gary and Doug, a huge thank you from the hundreds of people that have had the honor of calling themselves “Ski Sharks” over the last 40+ years. What you started in the 1970s, continues today! Over the last 15+ years the Ski Sharks have slowly grown into a team that has gained national recognition. Connecting with local government and community has allowed national and world class events to come to Shawano. Being fiscally responsible has allowed the team to give back to the community by helping grow Smalley Park with team funded improvements as well as provide annual “Learn to Ski” and “Believe and Ski” events for the community. The Ski Sharks hope that you enjoy the show and we look forward to performing for the Shawano area for many years to come.

2024 Show Theme

The Ski Sharks take a trip to Camp Onawahs where friendly competition meets camp mischief. Follow our social media platforms for monthly camp updates.

Ski Sharks first towboat
1970s waterski pyramid
1982 team picture
Ballet line from 1980s
1993 team picture
1990s team picture
1993 waterski pyramids
flag line.jpeg
Kim & Liz Knope, Michelle DeFere, Carla
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