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Meet Our Captains 2024

This List is Alphabetical Order

Aaron "Govy" McGovern

Bio: My name is Aaron McGovern aka “The Gov” now just Govy.  I started skiing at the age of 2 and by the age of 8 the T-Bar was my Babysitter.  I moved to Tahoe in 1994 and became a professional Freeskier, competing and shooting ski movies for Matchstick Productions and Teton Gravity Research.  Though the 90’s and 2000’s  I water skied, Wakeboarded and wake skated on Lake Tahoe.  I spent years Windsurfing and Surfing in the Ocean.  I now am the Head Freeski Coach for the Olympic Valley Freestyle Team.   On August 18, 2008 I moved away from Lake Tahoe to Marina Del Rey to surf and become sober.  When I moved back to Tahoe in 2010 I wanted to be on the water. I started with High Sierra water Ski School and  have developed my craft in teaching water sports at High Sierra over the last ten years.  I believe that there is not a sport I have not done that I cannot teach you how to do.  Wakesurfing is my favorite water sport for the technical balance, body control and reward that comes with it.  The low impact is an added plus. Come ride with me and I’ll teach you how to lay down turns, flip over the wake, float on water, snow and air!

Alex Leon "Leon"

Bio:Alex goes by the name “Leon.” Grew up wakeboarding and wakesurfing since he was 8 years old, always spending summers on lakes throughout his life. He takes pride in teaching begginers how to first stand up wakeboarding, surfing, or skiing as well as teaching intermediate riders how to backflip and spin wakeboarding, drop the rope wakesurfing, or laying your elbow down skiing. He loves spending most of his summertime on the water if it’s with High Sierra or on his own boat, and will give you all the tips and tricks to improve your riding, have more fun, and make lifelong memories of your favorite water sport!

Andrew Carrier

Bio: With us since 2020, Andrew was born in Auburn in 1995. His presence has been known in the Tahoe basin for the last 10 years. Andrew's Passion for watersports came from his love of snowboarding in the winter. Andrew was quick to pick up the ways of wakeboarding and wakesurfing from his background on the snow but loves to teach water skiing as well. 

Billy Miller

Bio: With us Since 2021, Billy was born in San Diego in 2000. Billy is a 3 event water skier on the Cal Poly water ski team. Billy started his career in watersports at the age of 4 being coached by Dean Cherry. Billy loves to get people ripping as hard as possible behind the boat. Billy is known at the ski school as "Master of Air" on the Hovercraft. In Billy's leisure time he loves to shred the surfboard and hang out with friends.

Cody Potter

Bio: Cody started with us in 2019, taking the last few years away from us has found his way back home. As a Colorado native, born in 1990. Cody grew up snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains, and spent summers doing water sports in lake Havasu, Arizona. Cody moved to Tahoe in 2015. Originally moving to Tahoe for snowboarding, Cody found wake surfing to be his true passion. . Once considering himself a snowboarder, now Cody considers himself a surfer. Transitioning from coaching snowboarding to coaching water sports was one of the best decisions he says he ever made. He absolutely loves teaching people new skills, and seeing people learn & progress is a passion of his. He looks forward to all the new friendly faces he gets to meet day in and day out while pushing the limits in the activities we love to do most in this life. If he is your captain be sure to shout Cheers!!

Grady Barrett

Bio:Grady Barrett (aka. The Gromhas been with us since 2018 with 2023 being his first as a Captain. Grady was born and raised in Tahoe City and first learned to conquer the waters right here on the west shore. Although he is the youngest captain we have he is a well know face around these pirated waters. Grady has a special affinity for the outdoors being a product of these mountains, he spends his winters charging the slope of the neighboring mountains. His favorite season of the year is spring since he can spend half the day on the slopes and the other half in these deep blue waters. You won't find a better captain for Surfing, Skiing, or Tubing than "The Grom"

Holden Woodruff
Bio: Holden Woodruff has been with us since 2020 with 2024 being his first as a captain. He was born and raised here in the Truckee Tahoe area. His first time ever behind a boat was with Lee Schmidt at the age of 3. Although this is his first year as a captain, he is not new to water sports and this beautiful lake that we call home. He loves spending his winters skiing all around Tahoe, learning to Ski when he was just 1 year old at Sugar Bowl. He is currently attending the University of North Dakota as a commercial aviation Major in hopes of one day becoming a commercial Pilot. He loves spending time in Tahoe skiing, wake surfing, and cliff jumping. When he is not working, he is hiking and exploring for new places to jump off big cliffs with all his friends. He is beyond excited to be a captain this year and meet all the new and familiar faces who will come to visit us this summer.

Jackson Schmidt

Bio: Born in 1997, as the eldest Son to Owner Lee Schmidt, Jackson started waterskiing at 1 year old, successfully doing his first water start at 20 months old. Although he spent a lot of time water skiing at an early age, it was not until his later teenage years where he truly developed his love passion and skill for the sport. Jackson's affinity for water sports does not stop at skiing. Jackson has recently found himself enjoying his days off progressing his skills at the Cable Parks in Sacramento, as well as testing his limits on a surf board behind one of our G23's. Unfortunately Jackson has come to terms that water skiing is a sport few are willing to try, so prove him wrong and ask him to teach you everything he knows about the sport he loves most.

Jake "Fitz" Fitzpatrick

Bio: Jake ‘Fitz’ is one of our newer captains at HSWSS. Although he is not new to Lake Tahoe, spending time every summer here with his family in Kings Beach, driving the boat for his siblings and cousins since before he could back up the trailer. Graduated with a degree in Kinesiology with a coaching speciality. He has a passion for board sports and creating opportunities for new combers to improve during each and every lesson. You’ll notice his keen attention to giving sport specific cues in a way that makes learning fun and easy. You’ll never stop improving with this Captian. 

Lee Schmidt (Owner/Founder)

Bio: Born July 16th 1954, Lee Founded High Sierra Water Ski School in May 1978 and has been running operations ever since. Lee started off his career in watersports in 1964 at the age of 10 competing in all 3 water skiing events (Slalom, Trick, and Jump) till the age of 23 in 1977. Lee has won 7 National Titles in Slalom and Jump. Lee began his teaching career in 1970 at Mike Suyderhoud ski school in Lake Shasta for 2 years and then moved to Modoc Pond Water Ski School till 1977 before finally moving back to Lake Tahoe and has been here ever since.

Liam Bourke

Bio: "Captain Leemo" has been with us since 2018.  He grew up wakesurfing the dirty Delta waters and decided he needed a Lake Tahoe detox.  He proved that you don't have to know how to read to be a great coach.  Not only does he coach all the water sports but he also coaches the U14 North Tahoe Lacrosse team.  Don't be scared to throw him a shaka, he'll be sure to send one right back!

Mason Schmidt

Bio: Born in 1999, as the second Son to Owner Lee Schmidt, Mason has nothing short of perfect affinity for any and all watersports. Growing up at "Daycare Water Ski School" gave Mason the edge for boat driving with him being able to solo park boats before he could complete full sentences. After growing up living the lake life Mason graduated from North Tahoe High and decided to test the ocean waters. He attended SBCC where he not only excelled at school but also at surfing. He brought this newfound talent back to Tahoe transitioned it to Wakesurfing and has pushed clients, employees, friends, and family to engage in the sport and has been able to lift them into new ability levels.

Ralph Castillo

Bio: Ralph has been with us as a captain since 2023. He was born In Visalia California. He moved to South Lake Tahoe after spending a few years in mammoth lakes. You’ll most likely find him in a terrain park during the winter months at the iconic Sierra at Tahoe where he works in their terrain park department. He’s on the slopes every day in the winter shredding his snowboard with a smile and on the water in the summer where over the years wake surfing has become a passion for him. Ralph loves his time on the water and will give you all the stoke you need to excel behind the boat!

Rodrigo Alvarez Lopez Guerra

Bio: "¡Hola from Lake Tahoe! I'm Rodrigo, or 'Uncle Rod' if you're feeling cheeky. Born in the fiery passion of Madrid, spiced up in the lively streets of Mexico City, and now splashing around Lake Tahoe. I'm your go-to guy for water fun! Every summer, since 2019, l've been dishing out smiles, spills (the good kind!), and memories faster than you can say 'fish tacos!' When I'm not gliding across the water with finesse, you can find me jet-setting across Europe or chasing the need for speed in motorsports. Whether you're a water aficionado or wobblier than a jellyfish on roller skates, let's dive into some aquatic adventures together, with plenty of giggles and maybe a few unplanned belly flops along the way. ¡Vamos!"

Ryan Conner

Bio: Ryan has been with us since 2020. Born in Tahoe Forest Hospital in 1997, Ryan has his roots right here on the west shore of tahoe staying in the Tahoe City area throughout his youthful years and into his young adult life. Ryan grew up sailing Tahoe and many other places. He started skiing on both water and snow at a young age continuing these passions to the present day. In the winter Ryan is a snow ski coach at Palisades Tahoe for the race program. His average day starts with him waterskiing in the morning and surfing in the evening.

Shane Wright

Bio:Shane Wright has been with us since 2016 and is a veteran at the helm of a boat. At a young age, Shane’s parents threw him in the water and shortly after taught him how to waterski — the rest is history. Growing up in the Bay Area Shane called the California Delta home and wakeboarded competitively at the high school and college level. “Although I’ve had some great days riding in the Delta, house boating at Lake Shasta and camping at tons of California reservoirs, nothing compares to a glassy morning on Lake Tahoe." Whether you want to learn a new trick behind the boat or just cruise to Emerald Bay Fun is always Shane’s priority.

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