Wow. It really took me back to sit down with my old friend Thomas Degasperi, a class act who started water skiing at five years old and has pretty much been setting the standard ever since!
Born in Trento, Italy, Thomas was raised by a supportive family and of course heavily influenced by his dad, a well-known coach and owner of a water ski school in northern Italy. Having parents like Thomas’s – who have supported his dreams from an early age – makes such a difference and in this case pretty much birthed a legend. At 15, Thomas won his first medal at the European Championships and after that there was no looking back.
Along with winning two World Championships, eight European Championships and multiple Moomba, Malibu Open and Masters titles, Thomas has made a phenomenal 60 appearances on the podium at events of all kinds. He also helped ignite epic rivalries on the collegiate scene, attending the University of Louisiana at Monroe as part of the waterski team and obtaining his bachelor's degree in marketing. In my day, a lot of skiers who medaled nationally and internationally skipped college and went straight to the pros, but Thomas and his posse of young collegiate competitors changed the playing field in many ways.
It was so much fun to remember crossing paths back in Europe, competing and hanging out, watching World Cup soccer and even taking in historic D-Day beaches together. Back then Thomas was more or less starting out and saw me (just about ready to hang up my spurs at that point) as a “legend,” which is humbling It was good times! More recently we’ve both been avid fans of Ski Paradise, a fantastic venue based in Acapulco that we’ve frequented maybe 20 times each over the years, making new friends and cementing longtime relationships that make the sport of water skiing so special.
Thomas may be humble, but he can’t hide his good looks or charisma. In addition to running his own ski school in Orlando, Florida, he is also a well-known pop figure in his native Italy, where he has been a contestant on the popular reality TV show Dancing with the Stars. In the U.S. he has been on a national TV commercial to promote 5 Hour Energy. Just a great guy with a great attitude towards life! Want to keep up with Thomas? Follow him here:Support the show
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Wade Cox’s legendary professional ski career includes multiple Pro titles and tours. Throughout the 1990’s he was on top as the HO Skis and Pro Tour poster boy. More recently he is spreading his waterski knowledge as a coach, via SkiWithWade tours and through his podcast, “Ski with Wade.”
Links for merchandise, schedules and more about Wade:
Ho Sports Shop:https://skiwithwade.com/ho-sports-shop/