View Full Version : Barefoot Accident - Chippewa Lake, Ohio

05-12-2006, 04:45 PM

Man, 43, injured in lake accident
Ski-team member listed in serious condition after being slammed into boat
By Julie Wallace - Beacon Journal staff writer

NORTON - A Medina man was hospitalized Thursday with serious injuries suffered when -- while water skiing barefoot and traveling backward -- he smashed into a parked boat at about 45 mph.

Ken Arend, 43, of Medina was practicing with the Chippewa Lake Water Ski Show Team on Emerald Lake on Clarkmill Road in Norton when the accident occurred Wednesday evening. He was listed in serious condition Thursday in the intensive care unit of Akron City Hospital.

Tom Melter, the ski team's president, said Arend had surgery Wednesday night and underwent another procedure Thursday morning that was intended to stop internal bleeding.

Some members of the team have been at the hospital with the Arend family, all of whom are active with the ski team. Arend's wife, Sarah, is listed as the public relations contact for the ski team, and a Web site features pictures of the family sporting water ski vests.

The ski team, which has 92 members, just started practicing Monday for the summer season. The goal of the early practices was to loosen up from winter -- not to tackle the stunts that will be performed in the show this summer.

The team practices four nights a week, and performs on other days.

``We are a family, and this has been quite devastating for our group, but we are going to get through it,'' Melter said.

Norton Fire Medic David Davis said the fire department got the call about the accident at 6:43 p.m. Wednesday. By the time medics arrived, Arend had been brought to the dock by members of the ski team, Davis said.

Arend, who was conscious while the medics cared for him, was complaining of back and pelvic pain, Davis said.

Witnesses provided a description of how the accident occurred.

Melter said Arend is a salesman for the 3M Corp. Arend and his wife have three daughters and a son.

The family, Melter said, is an integral part of the ski team, and they all are active. ``It's their life,'' he said of water-skiing.
Julie Wallace can be reached at 330-996-3542 or [email protected]

88 PS190
05-12-2006, 06:21 PM
when people are barefooting backwards, or trick skiing its the driver's responsibility to stop the boat and drop the skier when dangerous situations present themselves, he could not have been too far to the side of the wake, the driver must have brought him way too close.

Its possible the driver had no observer as well, and was unaware of the posistion of the footer in relation to the boat, or assumed the footer was aware of the dangerous conditions.

Footers, correct me if i'm wrong here, but if you are footing backwards, and the driver sees a roller, he'd be expected to slow and drop you off right?

05-12-2006, 06:31 PM
From what the article states, they were practicing for there show ski team. In which case, no the driver probably wouldn't slow for the rollers, as in the show they are expected to be able to foot right through some of the nastiest water.

With that said, the driver should have stopped and dropped the footer for a parked boat, but the article also states that they weren't supposed to be practicing acts for the show, so maybe this guy is supposed to foot right past the boat, and something went wrong????

05-12-2006, 06:59 PM
When I use to foot backwards, if rollers were coming I would have the driver throttle back or honk the boat horn.

88 190, you are right, it is the drivers responsiblity to make sure his skier is safe as the skier can not see anything.

One morning on the river someone pulled a backward footer so close to my stopped boat that it got everyone in my boat wet. If I was that skier, I would be livid.

05-12-2006, 09:03 PM
One morning on the river someone pulled a backward footer so close to my stopped boat that it got everyone in my boat wet. If I was that skier, I would be livid.SKIER or NO SKIER, I'd be livid :rant:
Where's the mirror?
Where's the observer?
Our prayers are w/ him, and his family.

Sign Ken's Guestbook (http://www.chippewaskiteam.org/KA/addentry.php)

Tuesday, 16. May 2006 07:32 PM


Rest assured your in our prayers, may God give you a full and speedy recovery so that your once again
"walk'n on water" as his son JESUS CHRIST walked before you.

Rob and Carolyn

05-13-2006, 04:43 AM
This is truly an awful accident. I am sure the driver feels really bad for what happened. I donít know all the circumstances of this accident but it is the driverís responsibility, if at all possible, to get the boat into neutral before a collision takes place.

I was footní one time and had a teenager on one of those 90mph jet skis that came out of nowhere and came between the boat and myself. The rope clothes lined the kid and jerked the handle out of my hands. He said he never saw me that he only wanted to jump over the wake. We were all lucky this time but it could have been ugly.

I know this has nothing to do with this poor guy but it goes to show you how some things are beyond the control of the driver.

My thoughts and prayers are with this guy and his family.

05-13-2006, 08:53 AM
Funny you mention the smoker cuttin' across your line....

Pulling my cousin slalom behind my boat out for some free-skiing and a wake-jumpin smoker ran between her and the boat.....she dropped the rope just as it was hittin' him in the chest.....probably prevented some serious injuries to both.....

If it was me, I think my reaction would've been to edge the direction he was coming from.......

The guy never stopped either......can't catch an 80mph jet ski with a 45mph ski boat to do some neck wringing

The accident mentioned above is unfortunate and outlines how important it is to be very aware of your surroundings as a driver so that you can protect your skiers.

My thoughts and prayers are with those folks and their ski team.....

05-13-2006, 09:36 AM
That is a very unfortunate accident. I think often the people that spend so much time practicing and around boats are just as likely to have an accident because they get used to much closer distances. Everyone has to be so careful, such a shame to see any accident especially one like this.

05-14-2006, 01:29 PM
Horrible story. Rule 1 is if you are footing forward..you are in charge...if you are going backward...the driver takes care of you by cutting the throttle before you hit something or get slung up on the beach.

05-14-2006, 01:40 PM
Did anybody else get the feeling that maybe he was supposed to be that close to the boat or something for the show?

"The goal of the early practices was to loosen up from winter -- not to tackle the stunts that will be performed in the show this summer."

Sounds like maybe he was supposed to jump the boat or run right by it????

05-15-2006, 12:16 PM
Apparently, one of the tricks they do at Cypress Gardens, haven't seen it, just heard about it, is to pull the backwards guys around in circles and whip them around the course. Maybe they were doing something like that and he was way outside the wake. Why there was a boat parked out there is another mystery - maybe as Erk said it was supposed to be part of the show. Any case, what a tragedy for the family. I just started backward behind the boat this year, and it is true - the vast majority of success or failure lies with the driver. You can't see or adjust for anything coming at you.

05-15-2006, 12:22 PM

05-15-2006, 01:40 PM
Ohhh that makes me hurt just reading about it. Hope the recovery goes well and he'll be able to make it back out on the water at some point.

05-15-2006, 02:39 PM
I've had the pleasure of meeting and watching this guy foot many times, and he is a great guy, and the enitre team of skiers are very nice and professional. That said, the accident took place on a private lake mostly designed for slalom skiing (the site of the 2004 MasterCraft Pro Championship). Typically this team puts on Wednesday night ski shows that are free to the general public at this lake, so they are used to the venue, and the drivers do a great job in a tight space.
From what I was told (I was not an eye witness, this is a third party account), the footer was backwards, and about mid-lake, they have a "show dock" that comes off shore for their starts, etc. Anyways, one of the boats was parked at the end of the dock (which they normally do during their shows) and the boat pulling the footer was coming up the lake when he made a slight course correction, which obviously had a large effect on the footer swinging him out further and striking the parked boat.

As of the other day I was told that the guy has a shattered pelvis and some possible head injuries. Don't know much more than that, except to say I wish he and his family the best and a speedy recovery.

05-15-2006, 03:07 PM
Just got more news.......

Again, a somewhat third party account, so take it for what it is...

During the show, the footer typically marks his spot to let go by where he is in relation to the slalom course, and in such a case, he let's go at 3 ball. For whatever reason, this time he held on longer and released at 5 ball, which was just before he hit the boat, so at least he was not still holding on when the impact occurred. Also, he hit right about on his tailbone, avoiding any direct contact on the spinal cord, and at this point, they are reporting no head injuries.
Again, this is a third party account from someone who knows the owner of the lake and the team in general.

05-16-2006, 11:45 AM
Just an update. If you would like to follow the story it looks like the team will be posting updates on their website: www.chippewaskiteam.org

During our practice on Wednesday, May 10th Ken Arend was seriously injured in a skiing accident. Please take some time to sign his guestbook and wish him well.
--Click Here--


Sunday Afternoon 5/14/2006: Very good news today. Ken had 2 hour surgery this morning to place a plate in the pelvis region to help with recovery. Doctors said he came thru the surgery very well, with minimal loss of blood and very good blood pressure. Ken is resting right now. Sarah has been able to communicate w/ Ken with sign language. Ken is responding to Doctors questions which is also a very good sign. The Doctors are very encouraged with his progress. Keep the prayers coming.

The Ken Arend Recovery Fund:

We set up an account at the National City Bank in Chippewa for the Ken Arend Recovery Fund. Checks should be made out to: CLWSST Ken Arend Recovery Fund. Send Donations to

National City Bank

Ken Arend Recovery Fund

5797 Chippewa Road

Chippewa Lake, OH 44215

05-16-2006, 04:44 PM
Thanks for the addt'l information JKSKI. What a tragedy for the family and friends.

05-24-2006, 08:05 AM
Just an update on the condition of our fellow footer.....


Tuesday Noon, May 23, 2006: Ken is off the breathing machine and is breathing on his own. He was able to talk to Sarah. They will be running more tests this afternoon. Very Good News and Sarah is very happy.

Tuesday Morning, May 23, 2006: Sarah just called and said the hospital is telling her that they are considering taking Ken off the breathing machine today. This is a significant step in Ken's recovery and Sarah is nervous about the outcome. Ken is still running a fever, but the doctors feel his lungs are doing better and would like to take him off the breathing machine. If they do take him off the breathing machine, they will monitor him closely to see if he can breath normally on his own. This may be a significant day for Ken, please pray for a great outcome and for the professionals trying to help Ken.

05-24-2006, 05:21 PM
My family's prayers and hopes are with them. I cannot imagine the concern the family is going through. Keep up the feedback!!

05-25-2006, 09:02 AM
More info for those that are following this story...


Wednesday Late Afternoon, May 24, 2006: Doug just called after seeing Ken and said Ken is doing very well. Doug and Sarah talked to Ken and Ken was responding to both of them verbally(some things Ken is saying is not making sense due to the pain medication). Ken is breathing on his own and Doug was excited to see the improvement in Ken today.

Wednesday Morning, May 24, 2006: Sorry no report last night. Ken made good progress yesterday afternoon. He is off the breathing machine and so far the tests they are running do not indicate any immediate concerns with his internal vitals. He is still on antibiotics and pain medication (they are starting to decrease the dosage of pain medication). How that the breathing machine is out, he is starting to communicate verbally with Sarah and the nurses. Today, they are planning to see if Ken can safely drink fluids and run some more tests. So far, our prayers are being answered, keep them coming.

05-26-2006, 09:20 AM
Looks like things are improving...


Friday Morning, May 26, 2006: Ken moved out of ICU and into a regular hospital room yesterday. The room number is 462 A and visiting hours are 11 Am to 8 PM. Ken is doing very well. He is calling Sarah on the phone and talking about getting back to work. He had breakfast this morning and has a very good attitude. No concerns from the hospital staff at this time. Ken does remember what happened and wants to get going on his rehab. Our prayers have so far been answered, please keep Ken in your thoughts throughout the coming days.

05-27-2006, 02:34 PM
That is great news!

Skiers are a lot tougher then people think!