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Tony Klarich “Mule Kick” on a Vertical Air.

Big River on the Colorado River. 1989

Photo: Rick Doyle

Tony Klarich was the driving force in hot dog water skiing for over a decade from 1983-1995. He learned from his uncle, Mike Murphy, who is considered to be the father of the sport in the 1970s.

Klarich invented more than two dozen new moves on the ski including the front flip, helicopter dock start, side slide, and tick tock toe. The sport reached it popularity in the late 1980s, and skis designed specifically for hot dogging were released. While this made it easier for the general skiing population, Klarich preferred the speed and technicality of a longer ski, and switched back to a 67″ inch standard slalom ski in mid 1990s.

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