When you watch the video, you will see some radical, crazy, and amazing barefooting and seaplane flying! Mike and Gordy hope that you enjoy their past adventure, and will share it with your family and friends!
In the summer of 1989, Gordy was planning on hanging out with Terry O’Connor who is one of his best friends! They met at the Wisconsin State Water Ski Show Championships held at Lake Wazeecha located near Wisconsin Rapids. The opening act was a horse pulling a water skier along the red beach. Gordy told Terry, “I’m going to do that with a seaplane someday”!
In the early part of 1993 when Gordy was flying for Air Wisconsin, Mike Seipel was on his flight from Green Bay to Chicago and they happened to meet in the terminal. Both Mike and Gordy had several hours before their next flights departed, so the two of them started to collaborate about using a seaplane to pull Mike barefooting. Several months later, MTV Sports called Mike and wanted to do another stunt, film shoot with him. Mike called Gordy, and ideas began to “fly”! MTV Sports wanted to shoot the video in December!
Before long, Gordy was on his way to Lantana, FL where Mike had his ski school and where the video shoot was going to take place. There was an incredible amount of planning that had to be accomplished. Gordy had to secure the use of a seaplane, purchase insurance and apply for a FAA Certificate of Waiver or Authorization, Mike would work with his sponsors to secure support. Mike and Gordy spent a lot of time out on Lake Osborne determining the best take-off and landing lanes, and where to position the barefoot jump. Lake Osborne was divided in half by an East-West bridge. The skiing and film shoot would be accomplished on the south side. Gordy explained to Mike that approximately the first 1/3rd of the lake would be necessary to takeoff, the middle 1/3rd for the stunts, and the last 1/3rd for the approach and landing.
MTV and Mike were working together to come up with some sort of new, radical barefoot skiing idea. Mike called Gordy, and proposed pulling him over the barefoot jump with the seaplane! Gordy’s first thoughts were “that’s going to be some sporty flying and barefooting”! Let the adventure begin!!!
Through a mutual friend back at his home town of Wonder Lake, IL, Gordy was able to secure the use of a Piper Super Cub in Orlando owned by Mike Fuller. Gordy’s 13-year-old son Adam was already locked into his passion for cameras and film. And before long, the two of them were flying and on their way to Orlando. Mike Fuller spent an hour flying with Gordy so he could get comfortable with his seaplane. It was a 2-hour flight to Lantana and Gordy parked the seaplane on the beach at Mike’s ski school. After the seaplane was secured, there was an extensive meeting with Mike and the MTV crew. Obviously, it was imperative that everyone involved was familiar with the film shoot game plan! With Gordy being an avid water skier and boater, it was natural for him to combine the seaplane flying into the mix!
The “sporty flying” came the next morning when the barefoot jump was planned. Prior to taking off, Gordy positioned the seaplane so the jump lined up with a tall power line tower. This tower would serve as Gordy’s take-off lane (runway heading). It was critical because once the seaplane lifted off, Gordy would lose sight of the jump. Mike was just going to ski next to the jump the first time to see what it was like. Later on, Mike told Gordy that the line up was perfect so he went for the barefoot jump and nailed it!!! Later in the film shoot, Gordy pulled Mike on an 80 mph barefoot run! Mike said, “it was like skiing on hot coals”!
Three mornings of successful flying, barefooting, and filming was “In The Can”! The MTV Sports crew was headed back to California and now it would be up to the editors to tell their story!
“FUN FACTS” behind the scenes!
Gordy knew a couple of supervisors that worked in the O’hare Airport control tower and was able to get Mike a tour the day they met.
There was a minimum of 45 days required by the FAA to issue a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization. Gordy applied for the certificate 6 months in advance just in case it was denied and he would have to re-apply. The approved certificate mandated that a rope release mechanism had to be used. Gordy had the release manufactured by a company in Winter Haven, FL.
While the seaplane was airborne, the video of Gordy’s back was taken by the MTV producer who was riding in the back seat. The instrument panel video was taken by Gordy using a “lipstick” lens. Mike was not skiing at the time because of weight and balance concerns that Gordy had especially with the added weight of the producer.