Kerns family
Photography: Courtesy Kelli Kerns


November 2023 Member Spotlight: Kelli Kerns, Dublin, Ohio

by USA Water Ski & Wake Sports

Learning to water ski and being involved with AWSA has been a huge blessing and a big part of my life. My parents taught me to ski when I was 5. We took weekend trips to the Ohio River where we had a 25-foot cabin cruiser. I used to ski for 20 miles at a time and loved the waves from the barges. I knew nothing about competitive skiing.

It wasn't until I was in the middle of my 20s that I went out with a guy who took me skiing. I was so excited to impress him with my water ski skills, and then he started skiing around red buoys. I was blown away, and I was so determined to learn how to really slalom. It didn't work out with that guy, but I ended up hanging out on the Scioto River and meeting so many nice people who taught me how to ski the course. I was sitting on the dock one day with a can of gas when a cute guy pulled up and asked if I wanted to ski. I have been married to that guy for 30 years now! We have three sons and two grandkids who all love being on the water. Our youngest was a three-event skier for Miami University; it was the best experience he could have had in college. Once we were empty nesters, our whole life revolved around skiing. We started competing, judging, scoring, following professional events, and getting involved with OWSA.

My favorite memory is winning Nationals in 2021. I never thought it was possible. The conditions were horrendous, and I just wanted to make my opener. I didn't even know I won until everyone started hugging me. It was an incredible feeling! I am thankful that my fellow Lake Bobason skiers made me tough. They would ski in the wind, rain, and freezing cold, and I had to keep up. As amazing as it was to win a national championship, the very next tournament was just as surprising. I finally ran 34 miles per hour in a tournament.

I am so grateful for my water skiing friends, my ski spouse, and the water ski lifestyle we have created together. My life wouldn't be the same without it!

I am Kelli Kerns. I am a water skier, and #WeAreWaterSki.


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