Eric Horton

Eric Horton is without a doubt, a pioneer in the world of wake sports. His innovative spirit has resulted in the evolution of speed control systems, and has helped to increase the international profile and competition standardization of wake sports. Horton was prompted to create the PerfectPass speed control system when, while towing his water skiing children around the lake, he realized the large role played by boat drivers in wake sports. As an engineer he began to play around with speed control system ideas. By the mid 1990s Horton had a working prototype of PerfectPass. As the creator of the speed control system, Horton is responsible for the increased accuracy with which boats are able to be controlled in competition. Also, this system allows for the standardization of training for athletes. The creation of this system has been revolutionary in that all current world records have been achieved behind PerfectPass. Additionally, the increase in fairness that comes with the use of this system prompted the IWSF to make electronic speed control mandatory for all IWSF sanctioned events beginning in 1997. As a result of this system, Horton has received numerous awards including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in Technology for Atlantic Canada (2005), Sport Nova Scotia’s “Sports Make a Difference” award (2005), and honourable mention for the APENS Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Engineering (2006). In addition to the creation of this speed control system, Horton is heavily involved in officiating and rule development/implementation for national and international federations. His water ski officiating led to three consecutive nods as runner up in Sport Nova Scotia ‘s IKON Official of the Year Award (for all sports). Horton was influential in the creation of various rules and methods that serve to increase the degree of fairness and standardization of the participation in as well as the officiating of wake sports tournaments. He also consults regularity with the technical director of the International Water Ski Federation and various national water ski federations on issues concerning rules, tow boat and speed control. Eric Horton’s involvement with wake sports can be characterized as innovative and full of dedication. Both attributes that make his induction as the first pioneer into the WSWC Hall of Fame warranted and celebrated.

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