Show Skiing

How to do a Dock Start

Brad Dwyer
An article by Brad Dwyer
Published: August 13, 2007

Nearly every show skiing act starts with a dock start. There are two reasons for this deviation from recreational skiing. The first is that it is easier on the boat. There is much less drag on the boat from a dock start because the skiers are already on top of the water when the boat starts. This allows you to make bigger pyramids and have bigger acts because you can pull more people up at once.

The second reason that dock starts are utilized is because it makes it easier on the skiers. When you have any more than a couple of skiers starting at the same time, they all get pulled towards the middle. Starting on the dock allows the outside-men to ski out and avoid a massive collision in the center.

Dock starts aren't any harder than deep water starts, they just take a little bit of time to get used to.

Before you start attempting dock starts, you should check the local rules and regulations. Dock starts are illegal in some areas. Our show skiing team had to get a special variance to allow us to legally do dock starts.

When you're ready, find a dock that is low to the water. The closer you start to the water, the more your stance will be like a deep-water start and the easier it should be to learn.

It is easiest to get your rope ready on the dock and hand the end to the boat than vice versa. So run through your rope and then have the tow boat drive bye to pick it up. The driver should pull out the slack and then give you a slightly softer pull than usual.

As the skier, the only difficult thing that you might encounter is absorbing the initial shock of the boat starting up. Keep your arms partially bent and absorb the shock by letting them out as the boat goes.

Then just lean back and keep your knees bent a little bit. You should be able to stand up almost straight away.

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