The Kroonstad Aquatic Sport Club is over forty years old and originally concentrated on social skiing and staged annual ski shows. H Schwim was elected as the first Commodore 17 September 1963 followed by Dr. SPC Grobler. G Fairweather took over for a short period after which Dr Grobler settled in for a period of 17 years. Eddie van der Spuy then took over for another 28 years. Francois Haarhoff then took over for 5 years and is followed up by the current Commodore Nardus Marais.
During this period Dr Grobler laid the foundation and guided the club to become one of the finest in the country. The club became well known for the spectacular annual ski-shows. He was ably assisted by his wife Reta as secretary and he personally trained Cheronne (Botes) Zandberg.
A boat was acquired mainly to encourage youngsters in the club the like of George Fullard, Binkey Watts, Brian Kelly and others. In 1980 competition skiing was introduced, the sole competitor being Cheronne (Botes) Zandberg. Cheronne eventually became a Springbuck skier and at the time of leaving Kroonstad had represented South Africa in international competitions over 50 times with Dr Grobler being appointed manager of the Sringbuck team. So called rebel tours were popular.
On 30 August 1982 Eddie van der Spuy was elected Commodore, a position held for 28 years and was involved in the competition era of the club. It is placed on record that the KASK growth and whatever success it achieved was due to exceptionally dedicated and talented committee members supported by wonderful members.
In the 1982 International Competition, the strongest to visit South Africa, included American skiers Carl Roberge, Karin and Natalie Roberge, John MacLyea and Cory Picos. At the Kroonstad International, Cory set up a new world record in tricks of 9250 points.
At 9pm the same night a packed Clubhouse witnessed this on television. The hamburger and hot dog era at competitions had come to an end and KASK introduced impressive military type flag raising ceremonies accompanied by a full Correctional Services band. The Kroonstad Council provided a Civic reception for the Springbuck and International skiers. Catering of the highest standard, sit down suppers usually followed by a party and “cookie pot”. At one of the early Internationals the club provided to the amazement of the overseas visitors an Oxbraai.
South African officials at some of these Internationals included SATWA and SAWSA legends Roy and Elsie Saint, Rodger and Sally Gaze, Coenie van Eyssen, Boet Grobler, Peter Ramsdon, Dolf van der Merwe and Gustav Bester. A familiar sight in the competition boat was Sally Gaze and Yvonne Daddy.
Eventually Kroonstad started to produce competition skiers apart from Cheronne. A Free State team compromising Cheronne Zandberg, Andre Unwin, Eddie van der Spuy, Bernard van der Spuy, Kobus Swart and Louwtjie Swart from Kroonstad and Marcel Griffioen, Mark Griffioen, Len Liebenberg, Anton Kruge, Fritz and Karl Joubert from Virginia participated in provincials and the South African Championships. The Provincial and South African Championships held at Zeekoevlei Cape Town included Reta Grobler as 1st class judge and Boet Grobler as team manager. This team was the biggest ever and apart from the skiers, friends and family spend 10 wonderful days in and around Cape Town.
Thereafter Free Staters gave good account of themselves at competitions held at Hazelmere, Eligwa, Clover Hill, Germiston, Buffelspoort, Port Elizabeth, Virginia, Nieustadts Farm and so many good competitions at Bon Accord, Don Sheads venue Ski World at Benoni became a popular venue with good water most of the time and then obviously Kroonstad.
Alas all good things come to an end and with a dry dam at Kroonstad for over five years there is no longer a Free State team but the Kroonstad Aquatic Sport Club continues to grow with memories of a bygone era. Special mention of a great judge and administrator Roger Gaze. Personally I enjoyed skiing at competitions when senior men divisions were at the starting jetty with the bambinos. Liz (Plots) Hoyer and myself usually skied for a six pack… which she always won.
Springbuck Colours awarded over 50 times and provincial records countless
Senior men Slalom SA record twice, Free State Colours 1984, 1985, 1986, 198
Bernard van der Spuy, Kobus Swart, Louwtjie Swart
Junior boys Team SA Record, also awarded Free State colours 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
Eddie van der Spuy
Skiing in Senior men II and III over a period recorded 7 South African Records in slalom and several provincial records; Free State Colours 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
Michelle (van der Spuy) Woods
Colours for judging and trainee national driver 1992 and 1993
On 25 August 2014, Nardus Marais was elected Commodore.He brings to the club new and fresh ideas and heralds a new era of technology which is so necessary and with support he will make a great Commodore.
Eddie van der Spuy