Ski Nautique à Juan les Pins ©iStock

Juan-Les-Pins, the birthplace of water skiing!

Juan-les-Pins, Antibes’ seaside resort, has made a significant contribution to legend that is the Côte d’Azur: summer tourism, the writings of Fitzgerald, the “pyjamas” launched by Coco Channel and… water skiing of course! Let’s go back in time: everything you need to know about the beginnings of water skiing on the Côte d’Azur!

Juan-Les-Pins converts the Côte d’Azur…

… to summer tourism!

In 1882, Antibes began creating a new district intended for the tourists that were frequenting the Côte d’Azur coast in ever-increasing numbers. Named Juan-les-Pins, the seaside resort was full in winter! But in the summer of 1922, everything changed. That year, Cole Porter, the famous jazzman, rented the Château de la Garoupe and invited Gerald and Sara Murphy. This billionaire couple from Boston loved their holidays and decided to repeat the experience the following summer, paving the way for a whole colony of Americans: Gould, Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds, Dos Passos…

In Juan-Les-Pins: beachwear only!

The Roaring Twenties never deserved the nickname as much as they did on the shores of Juan-Les-Pins.

Swim and sunbathe, dance and burn the candle at both ends. Any number of eccentricities were indulged, with the first nautical elegance contest during which young women paraded in swimsuits. And when dressed, they all wore the trousers that fitted closely at the waist but flared at the ankles launched by Coco Chanel: pyjamas. The summer outfit very quickly left Juan-les-Pins to conquer the whole world before disappearing from the beaches in the 1930s and quickly reappearing in the bedrooms of the most elegant women.

On the boards in Juan-Les-Pins: water skiing was born!

Juan-Les-Pins’ most beautiful invention is still undoubtedly Léo Roman’s too.

In 1931, this Nice born former French boxing champion turned alpine skiing instructor, decided to ski on the water, pulled by a boat. After a first failure, it was a great success! With the Norwegian Emil Petersen, a skiing friend, they gave numerous demonstrations in the bay off Juan-Les-Pins and popularized the new discipline of water skiing. In 1949, it held its first world championship. Where? In Juan-les-Pins of course!