She Walks on Water

Frances Woofenden, 84 years young this week, has a better physique than many a 20-year-old. She owes her toned frame, she says, to water-skiing. She still does it almost every day at Lake Okeeheelee in West Palm Beach. You may have seen Woofenden and her fabulous legs on a V8 commercial on TV. Last week, she told Tailpipe about how she bested the hapless Ponce de Leon:

"I need exercise. My body demands exercise. I've always been an exercise-type person. I snow-skied. I ice-skated. I always had something going that was real active, especially outdoors. I love the outdoors. I am from Nova Scotia in Canada. In the wintertime, we had ice all the time. My dad flooded the backyard so I could ice skate and my brothers could play hockey. As soon as I came home it was — put on your skates and go!

"My husband and I moved to Florida in the 1950s, and he set up a medical practice in Lake Worth. One day, I saw a girl skiing at Lake Osborne. I watched her, and I couldn't believe it. She was going over the wake on one ski. And making turns. It just looked so elegant. She told me she was a trick skier. I went home immediately and said to my husband — I've got to do that. So he went out and bought a boat, and it all began then [33 years ago].

"My first time on skis was like a banana peel, because it had no fin or anything. Of course, I was on a pair of skis then, but I quickly mastered the one ski. I kept improving until now I'm at... I mean, old age, come on, you can't do everything you did at 35. Or 40. Or 50. Anyway, I love the sport. Every part of your body is exercised: your arms, your back, your shoulders, your legs.

"I do it every day in the summertime. When the weather gets cold, it's a different story. I've been out twice in this cold weather in the past ten days. I like to ski when it's a bit warmer. Toe tricks, I love. Grabbing the handle with my toe instead of my hands. In the V8 ad, I just do a front-to-back and a back-to-front. I'm coming out of a mountain. And I love it. I was in a lagoon in California, and the lagoon was just perfectly flat and beautiful. It was terrific.

"I have my own boat. Before my husband passed, he taught me how to take the boat in and out of the garage. So I take it over to the lake. And I back it down the boat ramp. Honestly, it's just a good feeling that I can do that by myself.

"My legs are full of muscle, you can imagine. I keep saying — I must have dinosaur bones, 'cause you know I haven't had any accidents."

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Edmund Newton