Become a Waterski Pro

Now that the summer sun is shining, ditch those snowboards, and slip into some water skis. Forget the winter parka and snow tires, and grab your boat and swimsuit. Don’t have the gear? No problem! We’ve got you covered.

Need the water skis?

Before you try backflips and other tricks, make sure you have the right set of skis. Here are a few helpful hints for finding that perfect set:

  • Choose Wider Tips A wider tip provides more stability for beginners and makes it easier to get up.
  • Find the Proper Length The length of the skis depends on the skier’s weight.
    Young adults weighing 80–150 pounds should choose skis 66–67 inches long and 6½ inches wide.
    Adults weighing 150–200 pounds should choose skis 68 inches long and 6½ inches wide.
  • Try Combination Pair Skis A multifunctional set of skis is great for beginners and gives you the option to try slalom skiing after you have mastered them.

Need the accessories?

It’s important to have the right accessories before you hit the lake. To become a successful water skier, you must have the following:

  • Life Jacket This indispensable safety item should fit snugly while still providing total mobility. Choose one with a nylon outer shell to prevent chafing when it’s wet.
  • Ski Rope Look for a ski rope that is 75 feet long—the standard length.
  • Gloves Find a standard pair of water-sports gloves. These can eliminate blisters and chafing. Your hands will thank you later.

Most outdoor stores sell these items, but some also rent them. If you have friends who are waterskiing experts, they’ll have all the gear you need and additional expert advice to go with it.

Need a boat?

If you don’t have a boat of your own, renting is your best bet if you feel comfortable driving a boat and towing a skier. Ask your water-sports store about rental options. If you arrange a skiing lesson, the boat will be provided for you. Of course, you can always convince a waterskiing friend to take you out on the lake.

Each state has different boating laws. So if you are interested in renting and driving a boat, be sure to check with the local DMV to verify whether you need to obtain a boating license.

Need a lesson?

An easy, inexpensive way to learn to waterski is to find water skiers you know and persuade them to give you a lesson or two. If that’s not an option, many water-sports businesses also offer waterskiing lessons. Look online for a store or lake near you.

Safety Tips:

  • Always have a spotter. Someone is skiing, someone is driving, and someone is watching the skier at all times.
  • Always have an orange flag. When the skier is down, wave this flag in the air to signal to other boaters that a person is in the water.
  • Turn the motor off when the swimmer is at the back of the boat. This decreases the possibility of fatal carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • No skiing after dark. Waterskiing is a daytime activity and should be done when there is 100% visibility.

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— Kacey Schneider