Tips for buying water skis

March 1, 2015

Water skiing is a fast-paced and fun sport that’s also a surprisingly good workout. Here are some tips for finding water skis, whether you're out for a casual spin on the lake or into competitive racing.

Tips for buying water skis

Types of water skis

Consider your waterskiing style before choosing the type of water skis to buy. Combination skis are great for having fun on the lake, but you’ll need race skis if you're looking for speed.

Combination: Popular and simple to use, combination water skis are designed for novice skiers. They feature wide bottoms for extra stability. They can usually be adjusted to fit a few different sizes, so you may only need one pair for a group.

Slalom: Slalom water skiing is for advanced skiers who want control and speed. Instead of two skis, a slalom ski has a single binding and a grip for the second foot. It's very thin, allowing it to slice through the water.

Trick: Lightweight and designed for maneuverability, trick skis are for people who love to show off. They’re ideal for spins and flips, and they lack a fin so you can perform surface tricks without interference.

Jump: Jump skis have wide flat bottoms for riding up man-made jumps. They’re also strong and lightweight, so you won’t have to worry about the ramps damaging your new skis.

Water ski extras

After you've settled on a type, consider your performance style to figure out which features can help you ski better or make learning a lot easier.

Twin tip skis: Most skis are single-tipped and designed to go one way, but a water ski may have twin tips so you can perform surface tricks and ride backwards.

Base concave: The underside curve of skis, called the base concave, will take one of three shapes: V-bottom, tunnel or full concave. V-bottoms keep the water skis straight in the water and are usually found on novice skis. Tunnel concave skis sit higher in the water and, in general, offer a straight and smooth ride that still has an edge when turning. Full concave bases are the best at holding edges and are usually found on competition-grade skis.

Water ski sizing

While combination skis can fit a few different adult sizes, higher quality skis will need to fit perfectly. Skis usually come between 64 and 70 inches. The right size depends on the skier’s weight. Choose 64 - 66 inches if you weigh between 100 - 150 lbs, 66 - 69 inches if you’re between 150 - 200 lbs, and 70 inches plus if you weigh over 200 lbs. Kids will need junior water skis, which are under 64 inches in length.

Now you have the basics for finding the right pair of water skis. Remember, you’ll also need some extra equipment before hitting the water, namely a water ski rope and tower and a life vest for safety.

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