Basics of Water Skiing
All You Need to Get the Ball Rolling
Water ski is a great way of having fun, isn’t it? Well, I would like to call it an adrenaline secretory sport. There are great many enthusiastic people out there who love water skiing and are willing to try it everyday. Holding the rope tight while trying to keep your posture steady is just like dealing with life! You have to be tough to get things going, and strong to keep everything as it is. Life would not let you to rest, as water does not. Any wrong move can lead to a disaster, while every right step will move you forward.
Water skiing is just like our lives — and I’d like to emphasize on it. When your mistakes make you to get apart from the boat, there’s still another chance to start over. You wouldn’t lose your life with small mistakes, and that’s true for all aspects of our fate. Just don’t give up! You know what they say: “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.
Anyway, following is a guide for water skiing beginners which will give some hints on how-to-dos and what-to-dos.
What Are the Necessities to Get a Head Start?
To get the ball rolling, you must be aware of initial necessities. You can summarize everything needed to water skiing in two words: equipment & training. The earlier plays the role of life savior and allows you to come back in one piece. The later, however, is the fundamental particle of water skiing. That is, you won’t ever be able to water ski without training and practicing.
Bear in mind that being a water skier is not easy at all. There will be lots of failed attempts and disappointing situations throughout the journey of water skiing. But the only matter is to stay strong and get up soon after a failure. Our world is not meant to be for quitters; you have to work hard and all the time. Thus, prepare for hardships and obstacles before even get the ball rolling.
Water ski is not like playing chess. That is, a focused mindset would not be enough to ski on water! You must have specific and specially designed equipments for this sport. A professional water skier will need a pair of skis, ski rope, personal flotation vest and obviously a boat.
All of the equipments mentioned above are vital for a water skier. So, if you don’t want to get injured while trying to enjoy skiing in water, it’s better to equip yourself properly. All sports acquire specific mindset along with equipments. And water skiing is no exception to that. Being able to surf depends on you and your equipment in use. It’s a situation where you are the 50% of success while the other 50% is your equipment. However, here’s a brief description of necessary equipments for water skiing.
• pair of skis:
Well, you know what a pair of skis is, right? You can’t drive without a car, could you?… A pair of skis is your car while trying to ski on water. It’s wouldn’t be possible to do water ski without it — excluding those professionals who can.
There are different types of skis that you must choose among. However, I suggest you to start your water ski journey with just one ski. A pair of skis (i.e. one ski board for each leg) may be hard to control — especially when it’s your first days. For this reason, start practicing using one of a pair of skis to make sure that there won’t be extra effort needed to keep both of them on.
You can change to a pair of skis when progressed more. Though some like to water ski on a pair of skis, others may feel comfortable with one. So don’t worry about your performance, because being a professional is not related to number of skis you’re using! (Just try to have fun).
• ski rope:
Ski rope would attache you to the boat. It’s a different type of rope that is really elastic, allowing you to sync with movements. Do not try to control the ski rope, do the opposite! Let the ski rope to show you how to set rolling. The key about water skiing is that you must be flexible and steady at the same time. It may sound a bit irrational to keep the same states while being in an unstable condition, but it is what it is.
Professional water skiers know that fighting against waves and blowing winds would be useless. That’s why they choose to be a part of these components. A water skier must be moving on the water, not against it. So use the ski rope in a way which enables you to feel the rhythm of waves and blowing winds.
• flotation vest:
A life jacket, a PFD or a flotation vest is your guardian angel throughout the water skiing journey. Sailors and watersports athletes know that you can’t leave the shore without a flotation vest or life jacket. The first rule of a professional water skiing is to care about safety. No safety, no nothing!
Unfortunately, some think that wearing a life jacket could mean that you’re an amateur water skier. And that’s why refuse to wear one. However, the actual fact about water skiers is the opposite; meaning that only an amateur skier who’s not experienced enough, would refuse to wear a flotation vest.
If you want to have fun and not end up in the hospital, do not leave the shore without a flotation vest at any circumstances. (Not doing so may cost you life).
A boat in water skiing plays the role of horses, when pulling a sleigh. It generates the power you need to keep going — from the first second to the last. Though all small and middle-sized power boats are capable of being your pulling horses, I recommend you to go for small ones at first. The power generated by the boat has a big impact on your performance in both good and bad ways.
An extremely fast power boat may sound like an interesting choice for a water skier, but it may ruin everything for you — especially when it’s your first time on water. The best idea, however, would be to practicing with a small and not-so-fast boat and then gradually increase the size and speed if needed.
Remember when I was talking about you being the 50% of success in water skiing? Well, 45% of this amount needs to be filled with training. What I mean is that, you can’t gain success in this sport unless you practice a lot. The proper mindset of a professional water skier contains extra room for focusing on the practice schedules.
Let me put it this way: have you ever heard of 10,000 hours rule? It’s a theory that suggests anyone can be an expert in a specific field by practicing for ten thousand hours! It’s a very interesting look to the subject of success. With this belief, you can make sure that all the hard work you put into a specific work will end up with a great success! (So start training on water skiing right now).
Use these two methods to have much better results from your trainings.
• on the dock:
Before heading to water, take your time, inhale through your nose and then exhale using your mouth for 1-2 minutes. This would help you to calm down and reduce the stress. When felt relax enough to start, put on your skis and try to practice the proper posture while still on the deck.
Stay steady and upright, bend your knees a bit and imagine waves are passing beneath your skis. To make it even more useful training, ask a friend to pull you on the deck to feel how it is when waves are shaking you and the is pulling. This training will set your mind about the actual conditions on water, but it would not feel the same. Use it as a chance to practice posture and try not to fall when being pulled by a friend.
• in the water:
The actual practicing starts in the water! Now, it’s time to put all your skills together and try to use them in an operational situation. Ask the boat driver to speed up gradually and do not use the full power. Do not try to stand up right away! The water flow will show you when is the best time to stand up and start water skiing. All you need to do is to feel the rhythm and movement.
When you finally stand up, focus on your posture and keep your knees bent, while your arms and back are straight. The water would cause your ankle to bent upward, so you may feel some pressure that is pushing you back. However, do not let that feel ruin your position.
Note: when something went wrong and you couldn’t hold on to the rope properly, let it go right away. There’s no chance to change back to a normal position when water skiing! Trying to hold on to rope while you’re not having a good posture may end up with major injuries.
The Pitcher Will Go to the Well Once Too Often — Be Prepared for Injuries
Water Skiing is a dangerous sport and it may be full of minor and major injuries all the time. Using proper equipments would reduce the chance of getting injured to high extent. However, there are some situations where nothing can stop an injury. For this reason, it’s better to be physically prepared and mentally ready for any damages.
• your knees will always be in danger:
The most common injuries for water skiers are those that contain a serious or minor damage to their knees. Since the most part of pressure is on knees while water skiing, injuries are quite often on this area. Being physically prepared and training regularly would decrease the chance of getting injured. So try to schedule trainings both in the water and out of it — preferably in a gym.
Using professional equipments is also a good way of protecting yourself from possible accidents.
• the boat may crash:
There’s always a chance to face a boat crash while water skiing. It’s not your responsibility to control the boat for sure, but you must choose a reliable pilot who’s not planning to fly away with the boat! Choose someone who is experienced in piloting bow boats and knows the necessities for having a safe water skiing journey.
A good pilot would give you the right speed and agility at the right time. Your performance is dependent on how your pilot is cruising around, bringing more waves for you. So, choose your pilot wisely and bear in mind that a professional one would help you perform better while guaranteeing a safe trip.
1. Becker Brett | 2018| How to water ski | Boats |