Water skiing is a favorite past time among lake goers. However, no one wants to struggle and spend much of their time trying to get up and stay up. Newer ski technology provides skis that are excellent choices depending on skill level. For newer skiers, stability is critical. For more experienced skiers the ability to do tricks and advanced maneuvers is the most important feature. We have chosen the best skis on the market to provide you a day on the water of fun and enjoyment, rather than frustration.
Waterskis Buying Guide
Up for a good time outdoors? Try water skiing. It is a good way to get exercise and have fun at the same time. Glide gracefully across the water with a pair of waterskis. There are different kinds and it is important to know the differences and what to look for when buying a pair.
Types of Water Skis
There are 2 basic kinds – combination and single slalom ski. The combination is a pair of skis used for regular water skiing. The slalom is single, shorter and used for tricks. Trick skis or slalom skis are used for twists, tricks and jumps. They are shorter than the combination skis, wider and do not have any fins. These features make it easier to turn and slide over the water surface. Another special type is the jump ski. This is used to jump over the ramps.
Beginners are better off with the combination type of skis. They are easier to balance on and to control. The tips are wider. One of the skis has a double binding, which can be used for tricks, too- after the basics are learned.
Aside from the different types, the lengths differ, too. The person who will use it determines the length. The intended speed when waterskiing is also a factor. Longer skis are for slower speeds over the water. It is recommended for kids and for adults who weigh 80 to 110 pounds. Long skis are at 62 to 64 inches. For adults who weigh heavier (greater than 195 pounds), they need much longer skis. In order to travel at about 30 miles per hour, choose a 72-inch pair of skis. To ski faster and for better maneuverability, choose 69 to 70 inches.
What to Look for in Waterskis
The binding is the boot-like portion of the skis. It attaches and keeps the feet firmly to the skis, but should also be able to release the feet in case of the wearer losing his balance and falling off. These are very important parts of the water skis. Sometimes, they even cost more than the price of the entire pair of skis.
The bindings anchor the feet to the skis, at the same time, give it lateral support. These prevent the feet from moving around too much and thus help the wearer avoid injuries. Bindings are also designed to let the feet go once the skier falls. Bindings are often made from neoprene or rubber. Reinforcement should be present across the heel to make a better fit, much like a shoe.
That said, finding the perfect binding is like buying a perfect pair of shoes. Try it on. It should be easy to put on and get off. The feet should be snug inside. It is best to have adjustable bindings if the skis are meant to be shared. This provides better flexibility too, with a comfortable tight fit. There should be a rear toe plate with single high wrap in the front. If the waterskis are not meant for sharing, then choose ones with double wraps. This also allows for better control. However, double warps are more difficult to put on and get off.
The bevels are important in determining the ride. A lower bevel that is sharp allows for higher rides. A lower and more rounded bevel allows minimizes the lift from the water surface.
The bottom of the ski is concave, specifically the tunnel width. It affects the performance of the ski. It also determines how much control the skier has over the skis. Narrow tunnels at the bottom of the ski are best suited for skiers who tend to stand straight up while on the ski. More concave tunnels are best for skiers who tend to push their body forward.
The ski flex refers to how stiff they are. It varies along the length of the ski. It is also an important determining factor to ski performance. Stiff skis have low flex. It allows the skier to ski faster but makes turning difficult.
Skis with higher flex make turns easier. Going in a straight line is slower with this type of ski flex.
Rocker refers to the curvature of the nose and the tail of the skis. It affects the turning radius. Higher rockers allow for tighter turn. Too much can make overall skiing more difficult, though.
The width of the skis is also a very important consideration. Better stability on the water is achieved with wider skis. Narrow ski width, especially over the tail, allows the skier to dig into the water. It also makes angling across the wake easier.
Ski profile refers to the thickness of the waterskis. Thin ski profile allows the skier to keep the skis deeper into the water. A wide ski profile allows the skier ease in keeping the ski over the water surface. Wide profiles also allow the ski to remain over the water surface during turns, preventing the skis from sinking.
These are more often a special feature of combination or regular skis. These are located at the bottom of the waterskis, which help to make maneuvering and turning easier. They do eventually wear out but are replaceable for a rather low price.
Choosing fins is not much of an issue for beginners. For slalom or trick skis, fins are important elements. These, in combination with the bindings, can affect performance. If the fin is adjusted into a more forward position, the ski would feel smaller. It allows for faster turns. If the fins are moved further backwards, the ski would feel bigger and attain more stability.
Depth of the fins in relation the tail end of the skis is also a factor. Adjustments in the depth control how much pressure should be placed on the front tip of the ski towards the end of a turn. If the ski tends to slide out towards the end of a turn, adjust the ski and make it sit deeper into the water. Adjustments should be made gradually. The recommendation is make the adjustments about 1/10 of an inch at a time until the desired effect is achieved.
It is most important to choose waterskis that best suit your style, preferences, and purpose. Doing so determines how well you perform and, ultimately, how safe you are on the water.