In the summer of 1924, before most Americans even owned a bathing suit, the fish in Long Island Sound suddenly saw a pretty, bare-legged girl whiz by on the surface. Today, for fish everywhere in the U.S., the silver trail of a water skier overhead (as shown in the picture opposite) is merely a part of the summer scene. There are now three million pairs of water skis in use, most of them worn by people who 10 years ago would not have had the nerve to try them. Skiers who doubt they can even stand up often master the flashy acrobatics shown on the following pages. At Cypress Gardens, Fla., capital of the sport, the experts now ski without skis, on their bare feet, and the Gardens management once induced a reluctant elephant to ride on an aquaplane. It did well. No one knows quite where the sport is headed, but, for sure, wherever it goes lots of water lovers will follow.

In a sharp slalom turn a skier throws up a silver wall of water

One skier jumps over his partner's rope (left) while another pair swings out against taut lines

As he zigs and she zags, a skier playfully douses his partner with spray