Water Skiing can be one of the best ways to have fun for you and your family at your new lakefront home. If you have been a part of this activity very long at all, you know the thrill and excitement it provides. You may also want to share this with your kids. But how, exactly, do you teach your children to waterski?
Preparing Your Child-
One of the biggest obstacles in teaching little kids to ski is getting them comfortable with the idea of being behind the boat, away from their parents. Depending on the age and willingness of your child, you can take a few steps to raise their comfort level before putting them on a pair of skis. I believe any time behind the boat (even on a tube) helps. But I prefer to do something in which they hold on to a handle so they can feel that sensation.
Start training on land first… Teach your child to balance using the ball of their foot for maximum stability. Make sure they are always wearing their life vest when practicing on land, even though they will probably think this is silly. Ensure that the vest fits properly and that they know how to adjust it so it is snug yet comfortable and won’t cause irritation.
Try Tubing First-
The beauty of trying tubing first is you can go incredibly slow. If you don’t have something like this, you can use a kneeboard, wakesurfer or sled. Start with the rope short so you can maintain eye contact with the child and talk to them from the back of the boat. As they get more comfortable, start letting the rope out so they are farther and farther away from you. Just make a game of it, and before you know it, they will be all the way out on the rope, cruising around your lake with a big smile.
Moving to Ski’s-
Once they are comfortable being pulled by the boat, or of an age when you don’t think you need to worry about it, it’s time to strap them in some skis. I always start on dry land so they can experience some of the feelings before hopping in the water. Depending on the size of the child, you can pull them around in the grass if you like, but at a minimum, have them put on the skis and sit down on them, then give them a handle. The two most important things are to keep your arms completely straight and knees completely bent. You can pull them up while standing on shore and show them what happens if they pull with their arms or if they push with their legs. Both will result in either sliding under the handle and falling back or toppling over the front. When done properly, it will take little effort by the person holding the handle and by the skier.
How to Waterski-
Use a ski rope, which has a bit more stretch, of 75 feet in length to keep the skier in cleaner water behind the boat. The skier should sit in a cannonball position, with their knees squeezed together close to their chest and their arms straight. The rope should sit between the skis, with the ski tips pointing up and out of the water.
The boat’s driver should idle forward until the tow rope is taut behind the boat, then accelerate at a slow and steady pace to pull the young skier out of the water without jerking them forward. With young skiers on two skis, the driver should keep the boat at low-planing speeds and not accelerate beyond 25 mph.
The skier should let the boat pull them out of the water, remaining in the crouched position until the skis are planning in the water underneath them. Then they should slowly straighten their legs while keeping their arms straight in front of them.
Once the skier is comfortable, they should align their hips under their shoulders and concentrate on aiming the skis to crisscross inside the wake. Once comfortable with changing direction, it’s time to head outside the wake.
If the skier falls, remember to let go of the handle. The spotter should immediately alert the boat driver to circle back to help the skier restart or climb back inside the boat.
Learning these quick tips will help you and your family create wonderful memories on your new lakehouse! Your kids will have a new hobby and will be itching for your workday to finish so they can ski around the lake!
Posted by Scott Freerksen “The Lake Guy”