How to avoid common water ski injuries this summer

November 1, 2014

Summer is about getting out in the water and enjoying yourself, but be sure to prepare and get the proper equipment to avoid some common water ski injuries.

How to avoid common water ski injuries this summer

Water skiing and wake-boarding are growing increasingly popular as leisure activities and competitive sports, with approximately 2.5 million water skiers in Canada. Yet the annual average of injuries to water skiers in Canada is a relatively low, at two to three per cent. Be part of the 97-plus per cent by knowing and avoiding the causes of the most common water ski injuries.

Understand common water ski injuries

You are actually a bit safer skiing on water as compared to snow, according to sports injury studies. Partly because snow skiers fall more and hit more immovable objects, like rocks and trees.

  • You don’t have to dodge those on water skis, but you do need to watch out for docks, shorelines, pieces of debris, and other boats and water skiers.
  • After falls, collisions cause the most common water ski injuries.
  • If you're interested in trying barefoot water skiing, keep in mind that it's riskier because you'll be going faster and will hit anything in your way much harder.

Maintain proper technique to avoid falls

Falls naturally come up as the prime culprit for a range of water skiing injuries. The painful list includes:

  • Facial cuts
  • Neck and ankle sprains
  • Ankle and leg fractures
  • Ligament tears

Many water skiing injuries come from simple bad technique and inexperience.

  • Leaning too far forward over your skis can cause a fall. Then you can dislocate your shoulder by falling forward with outstretched arms to catch yourself.
  • Skipping the warm up, having a bad take-off position or pulling yourself up on your skis while in the water could lead to a pulled hamstring.

Avoid serious entanglements with the tow rope

Tow rope injuries round out the list of how to hurt yourself water skiing. Learning the proper technique here is vital.

  • From simple, nasty rope burns to drowning tragedies, common water ski injuries from tow ropes are caused by the cutting power of the rope – even the loss of fingers and fingertips – or entanglement in the rope and dragging.

Take water ski safety seriously

Have the fun and get the exercise water skiing is known for, without injuries. Practice proper water safety habits and pay attention to your equipment and taking the right safety precautions:

  • Have both a spotter and boat driver
  • Personal flotation devices for both skiers and boaters
  • Pick up tow ropes or dropped skis from the water right away
  • Rest up, warm up and stay sober
  • Inspect skis for loose screws and cracks
  • Replace frayed tow ropes
  • Right bindings for each skier’s style and experience
  • Correct ski sizes with a snug fit, without being too tight

Smart beginners who are fired-up for their first water skiing adventure and seasoned acrobats on water skis always play it safe so the fun lasts. Be sure to check your gear before you leave the dock, replace worn equipment and get some expert advice to make your day fun and safe.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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