Please welcome the 2022 Inaugural Hall of Fame Class!
Congratulations to Jeff Surdej and Cris Kodiak!
Jeff Surdej (left) and Cris Kodiak (right)
Jeff Surdej skied for Purdue University from Fall 1994 through Spring 1998 and helped turn Purdue University into a powerhouse in the Midwest that created a decade or more of dominance in the region. Additionally, changes to the team structure helped the team grab elite recruits such as Cale Burdick to help build the longevity of the Purdue team’s dominance well after Jeff had graduated. However, his greatest impact on the Midwest and collegiate skiing as a whole occurs off the water to this day. Jeff is the father of the Team Midwest Winter Conference, starting it with Chad Kodiak. Jeff and his family hosted many collegiate tournaments at Waters Edge in Wilmington, IL as the annual Great Plains Conference Championships location prior to Iowa State’s Dream Lakes. The most epic of these tournaments were dual conference tournaments in the early 2000’s where all teams from both conferences would converge at Waters Edge for one epic tournament. After being the MCWSA Chair Jeff stepped into the National board and has been NCWSA Chair ever since. Jeff has been a judge in the MCWSA and at MCWSA Regionals countless times and has been the appointee for the Midwest as a judge to Nationals and All-Stars a myriad of times over the past twenty+ years as well. At the National level Jeff pushes collegiate skiing to grow and be the best and most fun version of competitive water skiing with NCWSA Nationals being one of the best tournaments in water skiing, if not the best, certainly the most fun! On the National board and as National Chair Jeff has been around and overseen major changes to the NCWSA including the wild-card show (2008), expansion to 20, 22, 23, and 24 team Nationals, the mini-course rule (2017), and many more changes that make sure collegiate skiing is always fun and possibly the best implementation of tournament water skiing. The impact of Jeff Surdej on collegiate water skiing will be measured for many years to come, and he is an outstanding candidate for the Hall of Fame.
Cris Kodiak Skied for Purdue University from 2001-2004, and held many leadership positions in his time there, Team Secretary in 2002, Treasurer and Recruitment Chair 2003, Men’s Team Captain 2004. His on the water accomplishments include 2004 Midwest regionals 4th place – Men’s Trick , Midwest All Star Team member in Trick and Jump all 4 years. With personal bests of 2@22 off, 1340 (single pass), 126 feet. Cris was a leader off the water as much as he was on the water. Starting as the Great Lakes Conference Chairman from 2002-2004, Midwest Region Vice Chair 2004-2007, and Regional Chairman from 2007-2011, Cris helped the Midwest region establish dominance in the collegiate all-stars tournament by managing the first two titles. Cris was the tournament director of the 2005 NCWSA nationals, where Team Midwest debuted the famous pink, Cris brought fun into the tournament by hosting a biggest spray competition, a tournament video and a stunt jumper who was set on fire to kick off the men’s jump event. With the NCWSA leadership Cris has helped with many rule changes including the Women’s equality scoring rule change, non-scoring re-ride jump rule change, and created the wild card concept for additional bids to two divisions in NCWSA. Helped in the rewriting of the National Qualification Standards Cris has also hosted the Wild Card Selection Show for multiple years with Jeff Surdej. Cris also served as NCWSA Secretary 2011-2013 and is an Honorary National Director for Life. Cris also served as Manager for the 2008 World university team, which took home Gold. The impact of Cris Kodiak helped shape the Midwest region into what it is today.