Choosing the best kind of waterskis

Know the options when choosing the best kind of waterskis for your skill level

Know the options when choosing the best kind of waterskis for your skill level

You finally did it! You bought a boat and you and your family are determined to become waterskiers. You need to put a lot of thought into choosing the best kind of waterskis.The choice of skis depends on age, skill level, weight, boat speed and the kind of skiing you and your family members plan on doing.

Combo Skis

Typically, newbies start out on a combo pair (two skis as opposed to one, which is a slalom.) Children may do best when beginning on trainer skis, EZ ski trainers, platform trainers or combo skis with trainer bars locking the two skis together

Most people begin on two (combo) skis because the width and extra surface area of the ski makes it easier to get up than it is to on one ski. Combo skis for adults are for anyone over the weight of 100 pounds. These skis are not as weight particular as advanced slalom skis.

Slalom Length

If you want to ski slalom, the length of the ski is important. For an adult weighing between 115-140 pounds, who plans to ski slalom at a speed of 26-30 mph, the slalom length should be 64 to 66 inches. If the skier plans on going faster (30-34 mph) the ski length should be 63-66 inches. Faster? Going at a speed of 34-36 mph requires a length of 63 to 65 inches.



The heavier the person, the longer the ski needs to be. When the ski is too short, it makes it very hard to get up and out of the water. A heavy person will also benefit from a wider slalom.

If you are just learning how to slalom (ski on one ski) select a larger ski than what more advanced slalom skiers use.

What?s Your Style?

Other considerations include how you want to ski. Do you consider yourself an aggressive sportsman who wants to get better and skis regularly? This type of skier needs an intermediate to advanced slalom ski. A less aggressive skier may want to stay on a combination pair, a single ski or purchase beginner/intermediate slalom skis.


Newbies should begin on wider skis than a more advanced skier would use. A shaped slalom offers more ease coming out of the water and is used with a slower boat speed. On the other hand, wider skis do not turn or cut through the water as well as narrower ones.

The novice slalom skier does best when using a narrow center tunnel concave or standard tunnel consisting of a soft flex pattern, offering stability and better tracking. The softer flex patterns serves as a shock absorber when coping with rough or wavy water. The disadvantage is some find it harder to get out of the water when using this kind versus the tradition slalom.


Buy a ski featuring universal bindings because it adjusts to fit the feet of children as well as adults. The one drawback, accomplished skiers won?t find this challenging.

The binders are what you put your feet (or foot) into. Skilled skiers often prefer a fixed binding, non-adjustable sized to fit their foot and providing maximum control of the ski as well as ankle support.

Some like the fixed front and rear boot while others opt for the front fixed binding, with a slip-in rear toe. The benefit of the rear fixed boot is it prevents the heel from moving, keeping it in place, while providing ankle support which results in maximum control of the ski when wanting to turn or carve through the wake.