Going Airborne

Going Airborne

Child water skiing
Anyone who knows Portsmouth waters know this photo isn’t there. But since Todd couldn’t find a photo from back then, this brave young fellow is standing in for him.

One of my favorite childhood memories is learning to waterski behind my uncle’s speedboat when I was about 12 years old. It was in a cove off McCorrie Lane in Portsmouth. Most of my cousins were already expert waterskiers by then. So I worried I would look foolish trying it out for the first time. But with a little patience and encouragement from my uncle – who wasn’t known for being patient and encouraging – I got up on the skis; I absolutely loved the experience of speeding across the water with the wind blowing through my long hair. Soon enough, I felt confident enough to dart back and forth across the boat’s wake; I even tried to get airborne as I jumped the waves.

After that great day, I couldn’t wait to do it again. So a month or so later we made a return trip to Portsmouth for another waterskiing lesson, and this time my uncle encouraged me to try to ski on just one ski instead of two. I tried and tried to get up on one ski, but it takes strength to start on one ski and I was a scrawny kid and didn’t have the strength to pull myself up. I did succeed, however, in getting up on two skis and then kicking one ski off several times, only to lose my balance and fall and tumble across the water after just a few seconds. Still, I felt good about giving it a try on only my second day on waterskis.

It was more than 10 years before I waterskied again, and I haven’t done so in more than 30 years. But those two days learning to waterski off Portsmouth are memories I still talk about to this day whenever I get together with my cousins. They’re still my favorite memories of being on – and in – Narragansett Bay.

~Todd M.

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*Please note:  Be sure to access the Johnson & Wales University Harborside Campus through the main entrance on Harborside Blvd. Your GPS may suggest taking Ernest Street to JWU’s Shipyard Street entrance, but that route requires a key card for entry.  

From Route I-95 North or South, take Exit 18 (Thurbers Avenue). Head downhill on Thurbers Avenue to US Route 1A (Allens Avenue). Turn right onto Allens Ave. Continue southbound on Allens Ave. into Cranston, where Allens Ave. becomes Narragansett Blvd. Turn left onto Harborside Blvd. at the traffic light by the Shell gas station. Follow Harborside Blvd. through the Johnson & Wales Harborside Campus. At the end of Harborside Blvd., turn right onto Save The Bay Drive. Save The Bay Drive becomes a circular, one-way roadway as you approach the Bay Center. Parking is available in four guest lots after you pass the main building. Enter the building through the main entrance.