What Equipment Is Needed for Water Skiing?

What Equipment Is Needed for Water Skiing?
Water skiing is a very enjoyable sport. Whether you are an expert competition skier or just looking for a fun family pastime, it is important to have the optimal equipment to promote safety and enhance performance and fun.


ski boat

Water skiing boats need to be fast, with good acceleration and the ability to pull the weight of the skier while creating the smallest wake possible. Direct drive inboard boats are the best ski boats to cover these features. They apply the speed needed for skiers of all experience levels and leave a flat wake to optimize skiing. Direct drive inboard boats range in quality and price to fit the needs of the water skier. 

Water Skis

slalom ski

There are many types of water skis to fit different styles of skiing. It is recommended that you carry at least two types of skis in your boat to fit the needs of all skiers. Combination skis are the easiest skis to use and are recommended for beginners. They are wider where the skier will wear skis on each foot to increase stability. Slalom skis (picture above) are used for skiing with only one ski at faster speeds. They are recommended for more advanced to expert skiers. Trick skies are short and wide and do not have fins, making them harder to control but easier to turn and slide. They are recommended for intermediate to expert skiers.

Ropes and Handles

water ski rope

A typical water ski rope will be 70 to 75 feet long and strong enough to hold 800 pounds. It is also recommended to get a rope made of polypropylene to allow it to stretch and be strong. Get a high performance handle that has an aluminum insert surrounded by molded rubber to enhance durability and strength while allowing flotation. Typical handles are between 11 and 18 inches in length and one inch in diameter.

Wetsuit and Lifejacket

Type 1 Life Jacket

Make sure to carry enough life jackets for everyone on the boat. Type I Pounds of Buoyancy life jackets (picture above) are recommended for water-ski use due to their ability to turn unconscious swimmers face-up. Type II PFD life jackets can also be used but are not as safe as Type I jackets. Also, wetsuits can be beneficial for water skiers to lessen the blow of hard wrecks, and to keep the skier warm. Wetsuits are constructed of neoprene ranging in width depending on water temperatures. Most water ski wetsuits are two to three millimeters wide.


Safety Equipment

An orange flag is required in all ski boats. It is used to signal other boats when someone is in the water. Also, sunscreen is a necessity when water skiing. Sunscreen with SPF ratings of 45 or higher are usually recommended when spending the day on the water.

Article Written By Tyler Nall

Tyler Nall is a forestry technician and outdoor enthusiast. He received his Bachelor of Science at the University of Oregon with majors in psychology and sociology. Nall started writing professionally in 2004 and currently writes for various websites.

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