Water Skiing Basics
Getting Up on Two Skis
Published: June 13, 2007
Getting up on two skis is the first step you need to take to get into the world of water skiing. Despite common misconceptions, water skiing does not take a tremendous amount of strength or skill. It is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. From kids as young as five to adults well past retirement age, water skiing can be an exciting and healthy hobby.
This part of the article is for the skier, if your boat driver needs instruction as well, the water ski boat driving article is the place to go.
The first thing you'll need to do is find a Coast Guard Approved Life Jacket (or "Personal Floatation Device" "PFD"). Be sure that it fits properly. You don't want your life jacket to be floating up around your head.
Once you've got your life jacket, you'll need to put on your skis. This can be done in the water, but for especially young skiers it may be helpful to sit them on the boat's swim platform and have someone assist them in putting on their skis.
Most beginner skis come with adjustable bindings to accomodate various shoe sizes. Be sure to size the bindings properly. They should be adjusted as tight as you can make them and still have your foot be able to squeeze in comfortably.
When the skis are on, you are ready to rock. Grab the handle of the rope (which the driver should have already unwound and tied up for you) and float in the water on your back while the driver takes the slack out of the rope. Don't waste your energy at this point trying to stay aligned with the boat or keeping your skis straight, just relax. Your life jacket will float you.
Once the slack is out of the rope, the driver should put the boat into neutral and wait for you to be ready. You should position your body so that your legs are fully bent, your arms are nearly extended (elbows on the outside of your knees) and your skis are between you and the boat. The ski rope should go between your two skis.
Your position should resemble being curled up into a ball. But your head should be up and looking toward the boat.
When you have your position right, tell the boat driver "Gear." The driver should then idle the boat to take out the remaining slack and pull you forward in the water at an idle.
Shortly after the slack has been fully taken out, say "Go Boat." This signals the driver to pull you up. The driver should be sure to give an easy, gradual pull. It is not possible to pull a new skier too slowly, but it is most definitely possible to pull them too quickly and jerk the handle right out of their hand.
As a new water skier, it will be your first instinct to resist the pull of the boat by straightening your knees. This is the last thing you want to do. You need to wait for the boat to gain enough speed and plane off before the surface tension of the water will be strong enough to hold you above the water.
Stay in your ball! The thing that invariably happens to new skiers is that they try to stand up too quickly, leading to them sinking into the water and falling.
Wait for about three or four seconds after the boat starts going before you stand up. Then push evenly with both legs and stand up.
Then you've done it! You're water skiing! Congratulations! That was all there was to it.