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Water Skis Buyer's Guide

With so many different types of water skis on the market, it may be difficult to know which water skis are right for you. Having the right water skis leads to an easier time on the water and more fun overall. Whether youíre looking for your first pair of skis or youíre a veteran of the sport, we can help you find the right equipment for your needs.

There are many factors that affect the type of skis you should buy. The skier type, speed, size and strength all play a role in dictating which skis will give you the most enjoyment out on the water. Looking at each of these areas will help you pick the right skis for your needs.

Skier Type

Skiers can be classified into one of six general categories. Knowing which type of skier you are will help you find skis designed for your skill level. Determine which of the following groups you fit into:

Competition Level Water Skier: You ski daily and spend nearly all of your time on a slalom course. You are a shortline skier that enjoys the challenge and thrill of competition. You compete regularly, enjoy short lines (32 feet off or more), and competition-level speeds (34 MPH to 36 MPH)

Advanced Level Water Skier: You ski as often as you can in good water conditions with slalom skis. You can ski courses, but donít spend all of your time there. You prefer moderately short lines (22 feet off or more), have good technique, and you take your time on the water seriously. You mainly ski for enjoyment rather than competition.

Intermediate-Advanced Water Skier: Youíre willing to slalom ski in any water condition as long as youíre having fun. You prefer open waters and free riding. Youíve tried a slalom course, but donít ski it often. You try for good technique as long as it doesnít interfere with your fun.

Intermediate Water Skier: You ski for fun. You havenít ever tried a course and you donít plan on it. You prefer longer line lengths (15 feet off or more), you ski on slalom skis at slower speeds (28 MPH to 30 MPH) and youíre more concerned with a comfortable and enjoyable ride than high performance. You may be fairly new to the sport and have limited experience.

Novice Water Skier: You are just leaning to slalom ski. You have skied with combo skis before, but donít have a lot of experience. You prefer slow speeds and are just moving from combo skis to slalom skis.

First-Time Water Skier: You have extremely limited water skiing experience. You ski infrequently and usually when the water is rough. You use combo skis exclusively. You likely lack form.

Skier Speed

Some skis, such as Slalom Water Skis, are designed to be used in a specific speed range. The speed determines the ways the skis sit in the water. At slower speeds, the skis need have a larger surface area to keep the rider afloat. The skier speed often correlates to the skier type, with less experienced skiers preferring slower speeds, though this is not always the case. Use a boat speedometer, GPS, or smart phone with a speedometer application to gauge your skiing speed. Note that boat speedometers typically have a range of +/- 4 MPH.

  • 36 MPH: This is the competition level speed. Boats should never exceed this speed when pulling a slalom skier. Only competition level skiers should attempt this speed.

  • 34 MPH:This is the speed that most advanced and competition level skiers prefer to be pulled at. This speed requires a stiffer ski for turning.

  • 31 - 33 MPH:This is the preferred speed for most recreational skiers. This speed is easy to maintain for boats that lack cruise control. Skiing at this speed results in a comfortable ride with less upward force on the ski. Skis designed for use at this speed are often wider than competition skis to keep the rider on top of the water, but are still very stiff for turning.

  • 28 - 31 MPH:This is the speed preferred by most intermediate skiers. Skis intended for use at this speed are typically wider than competition skis by as much as 3/4 of an inch. The extra width helps keep the skier on top of the water and provides a more stable ride. Skis in this speed range are designed to travel straight, with less edge-to-edge movement.

  • 30 MPH or Less: Novice and first timers tend to ski under 30 MPH. Skiers at this speed enjoy the slower feel and safer ride. Skis for these speeds are considered wide-body. Many combo skis are made for low speeds. Skis for this speed are the widest skis on the market and have slow edge-to-edge speeds. They promote stability and reduce fatigue. These skis perform well in deep-water starts.

  • Water Ski Size

    Along with the speed of the boat, the height and weight of the skier is useful in determining the right size of ski to buy. Larger people require larger skis than smaller people or kids. In general, newer skis tend to be larger than older skis due to advancements leading to a better ride and more enjoyment.

    By taking the ski size, speed and skill level of the rider into account, you can easily narrow down your selection. If you find yourself having to choose between two similar skis that both may be a good fit for you, you should take the different designs into consideration. Our water skis are sorted into helpful categories such as Women's Slalom, Adult Slalom, Combos Adult, Trainer and Junior Skis and more. These basic categories are a great place to begin your search for skis. Pick the right skis the first time and get into the water quicker to get the most out of your summer.