We called him Ed.
Edward David Finley, a champion barefoot water skier and American Airlines pilot died July 25, 2018… just one day before he was scheduled to serve as chief Homologator for the U.S. Barefoot Nationals. Ed helped organize the first U.S. Barefoot Nationals in 1978 so it was only fitting that 40 years later he was still making it happen for barefooters.
Ed was born and raised in New Orleans and is credited with introducing Water Ski Hall of Famer Willie Farrell to barefoot water skiing. He was a graduate of Isidore Newman School and received an electrical engineering degree from Tulane University where he started water ski and flying clubs. While in college, he worked at Cypress Gardens performing as “Corky the Water Skiing Clown.” Years later, the nickname Corky would become his naval plot call sign.
Ed got his pilot’s license when he was just 16 and joined the U.S. Navy because he had the need for speed! He served in the Navy for eight years and was awarded TOPGUN distinction. After the Navy, he was a pilot with American Airlines for 29 years. Ed was a the rock of the barefoot nation and he will be missed.
He is survived by his son, Joshua Orjuela Finley.