A rope, a boat, the lake, the sun and confidence are not all you need to graduate from two water skis to one, because there are a few slalom water ski tips for beginners that may help you achieve greatness. For children and adults alike, slalom water skiing is not only a rite of passage, it’s a way of life! Here are a few slalom water ski tips for beginners when choosing the slalom that will make you feel and look like a pro.
- Know your skill level when choosing a slalom water ski. One of the best slalom water ski tips for beginners you will ever hear is this: when you choose the make, get one that matches your skill level. Novice slalom water skiers who cannot control an aggressive board subject themselves to numerous injuries. Water ski manufacturers have designs to match all levels of expertise.
- Get properly sized boots. Slalom water ski bindings and boots should be snug, never tight. Should you fall, it will not release your foot and you run the risk of breaking your knee, leg or ankle. Boots come in simple toe plates and straps, as well as high wrap, adjustable bindings that cover the entire foot and ankle. Choosing those that allow you to make smooth, even turns, rapid rounds or sharp turns will serve you well when learning slalom water ski tips for beginners.
- Put your best foot forward. Knowing which foot goes in front of the other is another helpful step when learning beginner slalom water ski tips. Close your eyes and put your feet together. Ask a friend to push you forward. The foot that you use to catch your balance will be the one you put ahead of the other in your slalom water ski boot binding. By shutting your eyes, you will not subconsciously know which foot to use. Decide which foot feels more natural in the front. Alternatively, you can avoid all of this and just choose whichever foot you put in first when donning a pair of pants.
- Prepare for your first dry run. Put on your life jacket and grab the rope (rope should be slack). Jump in the water with your water ski and slip both feet in your slalom water ski boots. Flex your ankles and knees, and bring them both up towards your chest. Hunch your body and place your elbows on the outer part of your knees. Once you are up, remember to keep your knees bent; they act as shock absorbers. If they are not bent, the water will rise up to your waist and you will become unstable and fall. Now, face the boat, get ready to get up and give the boat driver the “heads up” that you are ready to be towed to a standing position.
- Getting up. Even though your knees are bent, keep your back straight. Most slalom water skiers tend to draw up, which stresses the back. Fully extend your arms and be ready to pull out the slack by pulling your arms toward the chest area. Note: Beginning slalom water skiers have a tendency to hold their hands close to their chest, causing them to fall backwards. Let the boat do the work and slowly stand up. Try not to look down at the skis and keep your weight centered.
- Tackling the wakes. Leaning in towards the left or right will allow you to turn. Ultimately, your goal is to have your slalom water ski cut through the water on its edge. A good slalom water ski tip for beginners is to practice hitting the wakes at faster speeds and at sharper angles. Remember that a slalom water ski glides faster on its edge. If you feel you are going off balance, use your body to steer in the right direction.