Water skiing has grown increasingly popular as a summer activity, with people flocking to lakes with skis and boat in tow. For the beginner, though, the thought of being towed behind a boat on a pair of skis can seem intimidating, if not downright frightening… after all, once the boat gets started up how will they even know how to stand up?
Luckily, water skiing isn’t nearly as difficult as it might appear. For the most part, all that it requires is a little knowledge of procedure, a good grip, and the sense to know when to hold on and when to let go.
To get started, make sure that your skis are properly fitted. This means that they’re not loose on your feet, and you have to undo them in order to get them off… but they’re not so tight that they’re painful to have on. Once your skis are properly adjusted, it’s time to grab the tow rope and assume a proper position. Lean backwards slightly, keeping your head forward and your knees bent. Your legs should be under your body, and the tips of the skis should be protruding above the surface of the water. If you have trouble getting into this position, take your time… the boat’s not going to go anywhere until you’re ready.
Once the boat begins to move, wait for the slack to disappear from the tow rope and begin working your way to a standing position. Hold your arms straight and rigid, resisting the pull of the boat with your legs. Press into the water, and use the resistance stand in a more upright position. As the boat picks up speed, press harder against the increased resistance and you should be able to reach a full standing position.
If you have trouble getting on your feet, don’t worry about it. Standing up on your skis is one of the hardest parts of water skiing, and may take a bit of practice before you get the hang of it. You’ll likely fall several times before you get up all the way, and even after you’re an old pro at it you’ll still take the occasional tumble. Falling is a part of skiing, and for some people is part of the fun.
When you do fall, though, it’s helpful to know the best way to fall so as to prevent injury. As soon as you feel yourself starting to lose your balance, let go of the tow rope immediately… though you might be able to regain you’re balance if you stick it out, it’s better to go ahead and take a dive than to be dragged face-first through the water behind a speeding boat. As you fall, tuck your head in and bring your knees up, curling yourself into a ball. It’s also best to fall backwards if you can. Curling yourself up like this reduces the amount of free limbs and extremities that will hit the water, and reduces the chances of injury greatly.
Once you’ve recovered from the fall, wait for the boat to circle back around and pick you up. Some people might find it difficult to maneuver in the water while wearing skis, so feel free to take them off and hold them as a sort of floatation device. And once you fall, don’t be afraid to get back on your skis and try it again!