ESTERO — After a 10-year run, the free Sunday water ski shows that entertained visitors to Miromar Outlets mall in Estero are coming to end.
The mall has terminated its relationship with the Southern Extreme Water Ski Show because its insurance provider will no longer cover the performances.
Members of the ski show received the news on Thursday.
"At this point, yes I am still surprised," said Holly Schober, the organization's treasurer. "We are a great water ski show team and now we're looking for another lake to ski on."
The team performed at 4 p.m. each Sunday from September through November and February through June for the past decade.
Miromar Outlets Vice President Jeff Staner said in an e-mail he regretted the decision.
"Unfortunately, the insurance company which provides liability coverage for this activity notified us that it was not renewing our insurance coverage for the Southern Extreme water ski performance," Staner wrote. "Without that coverage, the performances cannot continue."
Staner said the mall's relationship with the ski team was "good" and characterized the show as an "important part of our entertainment program."
Tragedy struck the water ski team in June 2010, when Danny Michalik, 19, was killed on the lake, located on the north side the mall, just south of Germain Arena.
The North Naples resident died of injuries suffered while practicing a new stunt involving two boats. Michalik was to perform the stunt by skiing around a second boat but instead skied into the boat, according to reports.
Catherine Nadeau, a former member of Southern Extreme's board of directors, said the organization's membership is disappointed but looking for opportunities.
"We've been around more than 20 years," she said. "It's such a unique sport — theater on water — and we'd like to find another lake to make our home."
The team is known for its stunts, costumes and precision, as well as for using skiers from a variety of age groups.
In addition to its regular Sunday afternoon shows at Miromar, the team has performed at venues such as Shell Point Village in South Fort Myers and The Quarry in Naples, and enters team competitions in Sarasota and Tampa, she said.
Ron Rinaldi, owner of Waterside Seafood & Grille Co., said he will miss the shows at Miromar.
Waterside Seafood & Grille Co. is one of five restaurants situated around a piazza on the north side of Miromar Outlets, overlooking the lake.
"They're a great group of kids and they do bring a crowd to this side of the mall," said Rinaldi. "The crowd usually grows as the year goes on, and it's always helped us a little bit. It's sad, if it's true."