I often get asked about our popular, charismatic, dynamic, and incredibly talented Waterski guru from the early 1980’s Jon Carder and am happy to report that John is still as dynamic, vibrant, athletic, and competitive as ever in the world of waterskiing, as well as a successful Pediatric Emergency Care Doctor in Knoxville, TN.
While having breakfast in Carmel, CA on a rainy November morning a voice called out with the unmistakable Southern accent “Is that Rick Littlefield?” Sitting next to me was my good friend Dr. Jon Carder, and his lovely wife Dr. Lee Jung. Jon deserves full credit for being the Founding Father of the Robin Hood waterskiing program. Back in the 1980s when Jon first arrived RH had one ski boat, a 17’ Boston Whaler Montauk with a 70 HP Mercury outboard motor. He convinced me to purchase two used Ski Supreme competition ski boats as an incentive for him to return the next year. Next thing I know he had built a slalom course, was teaching barefooting, slalom, trick skiis, and eventually convinced me (reluctantly) to build a jump ramp, and offer intensive Ski Academy during pre-camp.
During his years with us, John had a cult following of admirers much like our Muay Thai Champion Nghia Tran has today. Admiring campers all wanted to sit at his Water Ski table and ski with him as much as possible. Funny, mischievous, very bright, and with relentless energy John became a superstar. He trained and inspired Brazilian camper Renato Abucham to greatness as Brazil’s Jr. and Men’s Champion. He taught me to barefoot, conquer the slalom course, and even jump in middle age.
Few people at Robin Hood have been more fun to be around than John. There was always an exciting adventure happening and much laughing. I call John the most likable show off I have ever met. If he saw a group of girls sunbathing across the lake or in a passing boat he would signal me to drive close to them and he would perform some ridiculous attention to get their admiration like a forward flip on a waterski, or kick up the biggest slalom wake imaginable. He could be hysterically funny and nobody was ever bored in his company.
Thank you John for your large contribution to Robin Hood. You inspired me to pursue as many unusually talented counselors and people as I could find. Without John’s inspiration we may not have evolved into what we have become in 2016. Thank you John. –Rick Littlefield