Water Ski Tournament Lake History

The History of Bell Acqua Lake Development

The first Tri-Lake Professional Water Ski Tournament lake in the state of California was developed in Rio Linda, CA

Bell Acqua was conceived from a childhood dream of Phillip Todd and Bill Mahannah, high school water ski buddies who learned to enjoy the sport at Lake Berryessa in Northern California. Phillip Todd and family, along with co-developers Ron Wilcox and Bill & Lindy Mahannah, joined together to develop the first Tri-Lake Professional Water Ski Tournament Community in the state of California.

In the beginning, the Bell Acqua complex was less than a cow pasture. The remainder of a drainage basin that had been used as a borrow pit to develop the adjacent Rio Linda Airport, it was literally a hole in the ground, and home to cattle that left when the rains came. Bell Acqua was the third professional water ski tournament lake to be built in California, and was an instant success thanks to the help of Bob & Chris La Point, professional skiers who made Bell Acqua their water ski training home for many years.


Kris LaPoint 2009


Bell Acqua evolved through the years to include 3 professional water ski tournament lakes, 2 residential communities, an apartment complex, and a service facility for ski boats and accessories – all located on 78 acres within 10 miles of downtown Sacramento. Bell Acqua has lead the way to better understanding how one can live and train in a community of water skiers enjoying the benefits of walking to their own private lake and taking a ski ride without the burden of traveling with boat in tow looking for that pristine water.

Many highly recognized competitive water skiers have been raised in homes at Bell Acqua and have trained right here in their own backyard. Local pros such as Terry Winters, Jason Paredes, Makalya Haw all lived, trained and taught water-ski techniques at Bell Acqua. Many other highly competitive water skiers of all ranks and levels have come out of the Bell Acqua facility since its inception in 1978.


Bob LaPoint 2009


LaPoint 1970’s


Two world jump records (men’s and women’s) were broken at Bell Acqua in 2003. A remarkable 13 records were set at the same event, the Malibu Open Pro Tour Tournament. Those were just the most notable of dozens of records set at Bell Acqua Lake water ski tournaments. In the nearly 40 years years since its inception. Bell Acqua Lakes has become recognizable as one of the finest Tournament Water Ski Facilities in the USA and throughout the World. It’s been the home of American Water Ski Association-certified Water Ski Tournaments including College Nationals and Western Regional and Pro Tour Championships. Our facility is the former home of the Sacramento State Water Ski Team and is the present home of the UC Davis Water Ski Team.

Skiers on a short line at high speeds will immediately recognize and appreciate the exceptional conditions of the water at Bell Acqua Lakes. The Pro Slalom and Jump skiers that have trained at our facility always comment on the quality of the water at Bell Acqua Lake 1. The north-south orientation of the lake, combined with the special water conditions, allows skiers to perform to their highest standards. Our lake is lined with fully mature trees that provide wind protection and shade, giving our facility some of the most stable water conditions even when the wind picks up.

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