Water Ski and Wakeboard Canada (WSWC) wishes to inform you of Steve Bush’s upcoming retirement as Water Ski National Team Head Coach.
Water Ski National Team Head Coach since 1978, Steve Bush has dedicated himself to guiding and nurturing the development of Canada’s top water skiers for over four decades. Internationally recognized, Steve has made an indelible mark on the sport and has put Canada on the map as one of the strongest and most respected water ski nations in the world.
A retired Fire Chief, from North Vancouver, British Columbia, Steve began his coaching career at the Vancouver Water Ski Club in the 1970’s and moved quickly up the coaching ranks where he served as the Provincial Team coach before being asked to take on the National Team Head Coach role in 1978.
Steve is a Charter Professional Coach, Master Coach Developer and has been recognized by the Coaching Association of Canada with 3 Longines Wittnauer Coaching Awards, 6 Petro Canada Coaching Leadership Awards, the Jack Donahue Coach of the Year Award and in 2022 was awarded the Coaching Association of Canada’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
As National Team Head Coach, the Canadian Water Ski Team has won over 190 World Championship medals (80 World Championship medals, 64 Junior World Championships medals, 54 Pan Am Games medals). As well as, under Steve’s leadership, the team has earned the coveted Team Title at World Championships in 1991, 1993, 1999, 2009, 2015, 2019 and 2021.
In 2005 Steve was the recipient of Water Ski and Wakeboard Canada’s Hall of Fame Builder Award for outstanding and long serving contributions to the sport in Canada.
A master planner, Steve’s recipe for success has been to surround himself with great people and ensure our athletes are not only great athletes but also great citizens.
National Team athlete, Stephen Neveu, attributes Canada’s success to Steve: “Steve Bush has been instrumental in the continued success of the Canadian National Team. Every athlete received his full attention on all facets of their water ski careers. From developing junior talents across Canada, to ensuring the National Team has the resources available to perform on the world stage, Busher leaves no stone unturned.”
While instrumental in the podium performances of Team Canada for over four decades, Steve’s impact has extended beyond the field of play, with athletes accrediting their success to Steve’s passion and drive for them to excel not only as athletes, but as individuals.
Former National Team Member and world class coach, Matt Rini has had Steve as a mentor his entire life, “Busher, thank you for being there through my entire journey in this sport, from the Jr National Team to the National team and then as a mentor to me becoming the coach I am now.
You have given so much to me and my family and I am forever grateful. All the best in your retirement “
Known world-wide, Steve is on-site, year over year, from record tournaments to World Championships, supporting his athletes. He can be found at Nationals observing the younger skiers, often in conversation with them, giving them tips to improve on and off the water and encouraging them to pursue high performance water skiing.
National Team Member, Jaimee Bull reflects on her time knowing Steve, “Busher’s retirement is bittersweet for me. After all the hard work and passion he has poured into the National team, I am so excited for him to be able to enjoy spending time with family and hanging out with his buddies in Sun Valley. That being said, I am very sad to see Busher go and I’m a little nervous to not have him directing our team anymore. Busher is one of the most involved people in waterskiing that I have ever met. He has invested time in skiers from the youngest ages to those competing at the senior level, and has never seemed to lose his love for the sport. Wherever we went, Busher always thought out what would best benefit the team. He planned all our trips, organized our training and has put up with a bunch of us Canuckleheads for a long time. I’m not sure how Steve has been able to keep track of everyone’s lives, but he always checks in and follows what we’re doing outside the National Team, demonstrating how much he cares for his athletes. Busher, thank you so much for all you have done for skiing in Canada. We will miss you very much but cannot wait to see you thrive in this new chapter of life!”
Canada is grateful for the years Steve has generously invested his time, energy, and passion for the sport of water skiing and the Canadian National Team. “Steve has built a foundation of excellence for our athletes and our coaches. He has done so, at all times, with integrity and respect. With a steady hand and a caring heart, he has put Canada on the map as a leader in the sport. Steve has built an incredible legacy, one that we will honour as we look to the next chapter of the program. On behalf of the Board of Water Ski and Wakeboard Canada and the towed water sports community in Canada, we cannot thank you enough, Steve, for the indelible impact you have had on the sport and we wish you all the best in this next chapter. We know you won’t be far from the sport, wherever your next chapter brings you. Thank you! “ Jasmine Northcott, CEO, Water Ski & Wakeboard Canada.
Steve has had an incredible 44 years as Canada’s National Water Ski Team Head Coach and will be missed. Steve’s parting words, “I am certainly going to miss the comradery of the National Team, especially at World Championships. I enjoyed being part of the water ski family and keeping up with all the skiers throughout their journey on and off the water. However, I do look forward to spending more time with my 5 grandkids.”
As we look to the future of the Water Ski high performance program, it will be incumbent on WSWC to determine the best model to support the team now and into the future. Over the next year, an Interim Management Team, of Kyle Hunter and Matt Rini, has been put in place to manage the day to day operations and programming. In that time, the Water Ski High Performance Committee will work in collaboration with the National Team over the next year to determine the appropriate model for the program 2024 and beyond.
In celebrating Steve’s retirement, the Water Ski community is invited to share your congratulatory comments, memories, and photos with Steve through the following Kudoboard link: https://www.kudoboard.com/boards/681V6buO
For more information:
Chief Executive Officer
Water Ski & Wakeboard Canada
ADDITIONAL QUOTES ON STEVE’s RETIREMENT:
George Athans, 3 time World Water Ski Champion, Member of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame & The Order of Canada, “Steve is by far the most successful coach and manager in the history of the sport. Nobody has given as much to his skiers and won as many international titles. Steve, you symbolize all that is good about sport.”
Jim Clunie, past National Team member, “Busher, you are without anyone to be compared to in the history of our sport, and would be hard pressed to find anyone in any sport that has had your career. Unbelievable legacy of success and building kids into Adults.
My time on the National team from 1986 – 1999 and following your leadership has shaped the rest of my life in so many positive ways. How to present yourself professionally, manage difficult situations, how to train and compete to win, but also handle losing. I think the most valuable thing of all I learned from you was to deal with adversity and setbacks, which I think helps a person for one’s entire life. Your impact to us all , has gone so far beyond winning championships that it can’t be put into words.”
Taryn Grant, current National Team Member, “Busher has played a significant part in my water skiing career. I remember when he picked me out at a tournament and said I had something special. Since then, Busher has always been there for me, you know that he is watching you whether on-site or from home, he knows how you’re skiing and always checks in.
It is hard to put into words the impact Busher has had on me and so many others in the water ski community. I am forever thankful for him and am sad he won’t be picking me up from a foreign airport with water in hand. Although Busher is stepping away as the National Team Coach, I know he’ll always be around, cheering us all on!“
Cole Grant, Jr. National Team Coach, “A good coach can make a great athlete, a great coach can make a great human being. Thank you for being a coach, a mentor, and a friend. No one will ever be able to replace you. The best we can do is honour you by following your path and remembering to ‘walk towards the fire and not run!’”
Kristy Kraus & Family, “Steve, you are a wonderful teacher, leader, and friend. You are everything one could look for in a good mentor. You groomed decades of athletes to be sound professionals and champions. Watching you work has been an interesting and memorable experience. I will always be grateful to you for your support and kindness to me and my family.
Thank you for being such an amazing mentor, coach and leader to so many.
Thanks for opening my eyes to new stages of opportunity and strength and giving me opportunities to work alongside you. I will always be grateful for your guidance and kindness.”
Judy (McClintock) Messer, past National Team member, “I was fortunate enough to be on Canada’s National Team from the very first that Steve was asked to Liz Allen’s ski school for the training camps that we had back then. I believe it was 1977 (I was an alternate at the World’s in Milan, Italy that year) and I continued on the team with Steve being a very important factor until the Group One Championships in Santiago, Chile in 1996.
Thank you so much Steve for all of your time, expertise and care that you gave to help make each one of us the Athletes we became. I had many wonderful traveling experiences and life long lessons throughout the years.
I was a very proud member of Canada’s National Team and appreciate you so much Steve. Much love & Appreciation.
Alex Paradis, current National Team member, “Busher, Thank you so much for always making sure we had the best setup anywhere in the world. I have learned so much from you about skiing and life. You always had a solution for every situation, something I have always admired of you. Also your contagious sense of humor and how you always kept the team unified. I wish you all the best, enjoy your retirement and please come visit anytime! Cheers!!”
Conley Pinette, current National Team Member, “I’ve been a part of the junior national team and national team for the last 5 years and even for many years before that Busher has had a huge impact on me. I want to thank Busher for his years of hard work and for always believing in me and most of all the lessons he taught me over the years, many of those lessons I think about everyday including that you do not need to slam a car door to make sure it’s closed. Thanks for everything, Busher.”
Karissa (Wedd) Rennie, past National Team Member, “Busher is a legend in the Canadian water ski community and in the water ski community around the world. Our team has been so lucky to have a person who is so passionately committed not only to our sport, but to each individual athlete on all of our teams. Busher is the person who vetted all of our sites and made sure everyone had what they needed when they needed it (although that water we had in France was questionable). Busher always had lessons to teach on the water (the importance of preparedness and visualization), off the water (closing a car door with touch), at the dinner table (ice breakers to keep conversation going), and frankly everywhere in life. Busher has always been an asset to this community. Everyone who had the opportunity to know Busher was lucky. Our entire community hit the jackpot with having someone like him lead us. Thank you, Busher, for your many years of dedicated service to our community and to all the individuals’ lives you touched in ways that will forever stay with us. You, sir, are a legend.”
Drew Ross, past National Team Member & world class coach, “Steve, meeting you in 1984 was a life-changing experience–you were encouraging and your keen interest was inspirational. I was 13 at the time, and our conversation was brief but memorable. You had just watched me ski, and your comments were complimentary, but more importantly, your interest really validated my efforts, and made me believe that my ambitions were worthwhile.
What I think is most incredible of all is that my Steve Bush story is just one of hundreds. For over 50 years, you have had such a profound impact on the lives and goals of those you’ve touched. And the results speak for themselves–on and off the water. Simply, we are all better because of you. Thanks Steve”
Neilly Ross, current National Team Member, “Busher, I wanted to say the biggest thank you for not always being there for me, but for inspiring me to want to do better and be better. When I was little, it was my dream to be on your team! Since 2013, I have had the most amazing experiences getting to travel the world with you. After every tournament, either after a win or a loss, you always told me a small lesson and I’ll never forget those. So, thank you for everything that you have done for me and our team. We will miss you severely but I know you’re always only a phone call away.”
Clint Ward, past National Team Member & WSWC Hall of Fame Inductee, “I met Steve in 1979 at the World Championships in Toronto, his first year coaching our team. It was an auspicious beginning because that event saw three of our skiers winning 2 golds and a bronze medal. Since then his 43 year run has touched and inspired all of our World Champions and Teams. The success of his program has been so dramatic that it is difficult to remember when our skiers and team weren’t among the best in the world.”