A Beginners Guide to Water Skis & Water Skiing

Water Skis and water skiing sounds like a perfect match for any skier who would like to have some fun during the summer. Well, it includes skis and you need something to pull you. You will need to shift weight, bend the knees and keep balance like on alpine skis or snowboard. But that is all that water skiing has in common with snow skiing. Let us look at all the important you need to know about water skis and water skiing before you start.

You need three basic things for water skiing. Boat or Ski Cable Installation (Ski Lift), Water Skis (one ski or pair of skis), and Life Jacket (Vest or PFD). And of course, you will be in need of either swimsuit or neoprene depending on the weather.

Best Water Skis for Adults

OBrien Celebrity 68″” Waterski Combo with X-7 Bindings
X-7 adjustable binding designed to fit US Men 4.5-13
Padded rear toe plate
Great all-around ski for the whole family
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Boat or Ski Lift

The water surface is flat, so you need to be pulled all-time when water skiing. That is the main difference comparing to snow skiing or snowboarding. There are two basic possibilities. One is cable installation or “Water Ski Lift”, the second one is the boat.

The ski lift will pull you with constant speed and on the same track. The boat gives you the opportunity to move freely over the lake or sea at different speeds at the time.

You need some speed to be able to get up on the skis. The speed ranges from 13 to 36 mph (21 to 58 km/h). Kids need a lower speed of around 15 mph (24 km/h). Adults usually enjoy higher speeds of around 30 mph (48 km/h).

 

Water Skis

There are several types of Water Skis suitable for Slalom, Racing, Jumps or Trick Skiing. For simplicity, we will follow and write about simple water skis for beginners.

At first, you should know that beginners tend to use longer skis. You can move to shorter ones after a few practices when you will feel confident in the water. The exact length depends on the weight of the skier and the speed of pulling.

The table below shows the required length of skis according to the weight of skier and speed.

Skier WeightSpeed
[26 - 30 mph]
Speed
[30 - 34 mph]
Speed
[34 - 36 mph]
60 - 100 lbs
[27 - 45 kg]
59"-63"
[150 cm - 160 cm]
59"-63"
[150 cm - 160 cm]
59"-63"
[150 cm - 160 cm]
95 - 125 lbs
[43 - 57 kg]
62"-64"
[157 cm - 162 cm]
62"-63"
[157 cm - 160 cm]
62"-63"
[157 cm - 160 cm]
115 - 140 lbs
[52 - 64 kg]
64"-66"
[162 cm - 167 cm]
63"-66"
[160 cm - 167 cm]
63"-65"
[160 cm - 165 cm]
135 - 160 lbs
[61 - 73 kg]
66"-67"
[167 cm - 170 cm]
65"-66"
[165 cm - 167 cm]
64"-66"
[162 cm - 167 cm]
150 - 180 lbs
[68 - 82 kg]
67"-68"
[170 cm - 172 cm]
66"-67"
[167 cm - 170 cm]
65"-67"
[165 cm - 170 cm]
170 - 200 lbs
[77 - 90 kg]
68"-72"
[172 cm - 183 cm]
67"-68"
[170 cm - 172 cm]
66"-68"
[167 cm - 172 cm]
190 - 215 lbs
[86 - 98 kg]
72"
[183 cm]
68"-72"
[172 cm - 183 cm]
67"-68"
[170 cm - 172 cm]
210 lbs+
[95 kg+]
72"
[183 cm]
68"-72"
[172 cm - 183 cm]
68"-72"
[172 cm - 183 cm]

Bindings

Bindings are sold embedded on the skis. They are usually adjustable with a full range for all sizes. You can put the skis on your barefoot or you can use neoprene water socks in colder days.

Pair of Skis or MonoSki?

That is a common question of beginners. It is much easier to start with two skis. With two skis it is much easier to keep the balance and also to start skiing.

After you get used to pair of skis you can try mono ski. Then you will have your lead foot at the front held tight in the bindings. The second one will be at the back placed more freely. The good thing is that water skis are sold in pairs, with one ski equipped with a padded toe plate at the back if you want to try mono ski.

CHECK ALL AVAILABLE WATER SKIS ON AMAZON

How to start and how to do water skiing?

The start is the toughest thing on water skiing. There are two possibilities for how to start. The first one is from water, when you wait in the water floating, with skis aimed at the sky, holding the ski rope. As you feel the rope is starting to pull, you slowly go up on the skis and start skiing. The kids have usually locked the two skis together for easier starts. The other way of starting is a dry start. However, to jump from the shore or boat is recommended just to professionals.

The skiing is almost the same as in the snow. You should bend your knees and feel the resistance of the water. Arms should be fully extended to reduce stress, for turning skier need to shift weight from left to right and back.

Kids Water Skis

O’Brien Jr. Celebrity 58″” Combo Water Skis
X-7 adjustable binding designed to fit kid’s size 2 through Men’s size 7
Includes stabilizer/trainer bar (to keep skis locked)
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Life Jacket

It is always important to wear a life jacket or other PFD (personal floating device) for your safety. Do not underestimate the risk linked to water skiing. Also, keep in mind that fall from water skis at higher speeds can be very dangerous. You can suffer injuries to your legs and foot or your skin can be burned.

Posted in Reviews, Summer Ski Sports, Water Ski Sports and tagged , .

Ski Pro Guru

Simon is the leading editor of SkiProGuru.com for almost 3 years. He started skiing in his teens and now he switches from Alpine to Cross-Country Skiing regularly. He tried also snowboard for a few years, but then returned to conventional skiing :) In his free time he follows soccer, tennis and reads a lot of contemporary proses and novels.

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