Here are 10 water skiing tips that can cut your initial learning time in half. Water skiing is not only great exercise, but a fantastic way to spend time in the water. Utilizing the following tips can make what could be an arduous learning task, a fun and enjoyable experience.
- Learn boating rules and hand signals. These will keep you safe and allow you to communicate with others who can’t hear you. Use universally recognized signals; raise a flat palm facing outwards for stop, a thumbs-up for faster, and a thumbs-down for slower. Discuss these with your driver and spotter beforehand.
- Bring your safety gear. Before strapping on the skis, have the necessary safety gear at hand. A life jacket will keep you afloat while you wait for the boat to accelerate, and in the event that you injure yourself and can’t swim, it could save your life and make it easier for your boat driver to locate you. Make sure it fits you properly though; if it’s too small, it won’t support your weight, and if it’s too big, you might slip out of it.
- Keep your knees bent. Standing up on water skis can be challenging, but it can be an incredible rush to accomplish it for the first time. To make your rise to a standing position easier, begin by floating in a seated position. With your skis on, tuck the lower parts of the skis up under your bottom, with the toes pointing up, out of the water and on a slight angle pointing towards the boat. Keep your knees bent, and as the pace of the boat increases, transfer more pressure and weight to the front of your feet and lean forward. Before you know it, you will be gliding over the water's surface!
- Keep the rope taut. Rope slack will cause you to sink, and once the slack is taken up by an increase in boat speed, you run the risk of being yanked forward and falling. If the boat pulling you has to slow down, try to keep the rope taut until the boat can regain speed by carefully pulling the rope closer to your body. If the boat isn’t able to regain speed fast enough to keep the rope taut, simply let go and wait for the boat to come back around.
- Stay within the wake. For beginners, it’s advisable to stay within the confines of the boat’s wake. While the water outside of the wake is much smoother and makes for a more challenging ride, it can also accelerate you to an uncomfortable speed, increasing the risk of an accident. The wake of the boat will cut any existing waves, and while the motor may slightly disrupt the water, it will keep the texture of the waves more consistent than those outside of the wake.
- Try barefoot skiing. Once you become more advanced, you can start transitioning from slalom skiing to barefoot skiing. During barefoot skiing, the trick is to be careful not to shift your weight too far forward. Begin in a two foot position, making sure that you are well balanced with a stable bend at the knees until you can spring upward, lifting your feet out of the water.
- Watch your surroundings. This precaution will help keep you safe from careless boaters and skiers. Each boat on the water should maintain a ski corridor of about 200 feet to limit potential collisions and hazardous maneuvering.
- Watch your depth. Skiers should always be aware of the water depth in the area. A skier requires at least five or six feet of obstacle-free water so that in the event of a fall, he will not hit the bottom or any underwater obstacles.
- Know your limits. Alcohol may impair your swimming abilities, so make sure you don’t get too inebriated. In the event that this does happen, the life jacket will be your best friend.
- Be prepared for the worst. As a final tip, equip yourself with first-aid training. First-aid training will help you handle boating accidents and drowning situations. It could save your life or someone else’s, and is one of the best preparations you could make.
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