Record-Breaking Water-skier

In August our Exhibits Assistant curated her second temporary display for the Port Moody Station Museum’s Mailroom. She chose the theme “Port Moody Leisure” and included toys, trophies and sports equipment.

One of the artifacts in the display was a lone waterski.

“Maybe that’s Jim Sincock’s water-ski,” said a staff member.

“Who?”

“The water-ski record-breaker. Al Sholund wrote an article about him in Focus.”

One of the two honourary presidents of the Port Moody Heritage Society and our local historian, Al Sholund, wrote about Jim Sincock’s world record for the longest non-stop point-to-point water-ski trip over salt water in the December 2004 issue of the City of Port Moody’s newsletter. You can read this article by clicking here (go to page seven).

In 1965, Jim Sincock, a 37-year-old New Westminster water-skiing daredevil, was waiting in line to buy some fuel for an attempt at a water-skiing record. Another man standing in line overheard and came over to hear more about the attempt to break the record. He introduced Jim to Bud Espeseth, who worked for the Imperial Oil Company or Ioco. When Bud heard about the attempt to break a record, he talked the City of Port Moody into getting involved.

According to Jim’s calculations, Port Moody’s Rocky Point Park (next to the current location of the Port Moody Station Museum) was far enough away from Olympia, Washington to make up the length needed to break the record. The previous record for long distance water-skiing was made by someone who skiied back and forth across the Ohio River.

Foiled by seaweed on his first attempt, Jim set off on July 28, 1965 and broke the record. Jim donated one of the water-skis to the Port Moody Historical Society, which became today’s Port Moody Heritage Society, and one to the Olympia Chamber of Commerce. The water-ski we have in our collection is the one donated to the Port Moody Historical Society.

The Museum Assistant decided to hunt down the American water-ski. Surely the Olympia Chamber of Commerce donated theirs to the local museum. Rereading the article by Al Sholund, we decided to send an email first of all to KGY radio in Olympia. Nobody answered. It turns out that the original radio station owner passed away and with him all knowledge of the event.

Then we looked up Jim himself in the phonebook. There was only one of him in all of Canada and he lives in the city next door, Coquitlam! Right away the Museum Assistant phoned him. He was indeed our Jim Sincock and we scheduled an oral history interview with him for the following week.

Jim turned out to be as charismatic as you would expect of daredevil. Along with the interview on MP3, we borrowed two of his scrapbooks to scan Port Moody-related articles.

It turns out that Jim retired from water-skiing after he broke the record in 1965. But he didn’t turn his back on water-skiing.

On Monday morning, Jim Sincock’s daughter, who was our first visitor that day, told us that after he retired he taught his dog, and later his cat, to water-ski. Even though the cat looks soaked and grouchy in photos, Jim’s daughter says the cat came to enjoy water-skiing on a coaster.

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