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WATER SKIING ACTIVITY CARD

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When you think of water skiing, do you think of a lazy afternoon at the lake — a boat pulling a skier behind it? Well, think again!

Gear Up

First you'll need water skis. There are four types: combination pairs, slalom, tick, and jump skis. New skiers should start with combination pairs, since they are wider and easiest to learn on. Make sure your skis have been checked and that they fit properly. You will also need a flexible towrope that has a floating handle.

All water skiers wear life vests (a.k.a. personal floatation devices or PFDs). You should wear a special water skiing life vest that is approved by the Coast Guard. You and your parents should check this out to get the official word on which life vest is right for you.

Finally, since you're outside, you need to guard against the sun. Want more info on gear for staying sun proof?

water ski gear


Play it Safe

Water skiers need to be good swimmers and always wear a life jacket that fits properly.

Safe water skiing requires three people: the skier, an experienced boat driver, and the spotter to look out for the skier's signals. Since the noise from the boat is so loud, it's important that everyone agrees on and understands the hand signals to use so you can talk without saying a word! Remember, you need to master hand signals before you begin cutting across the water on your skis!

When you're out on the water, be sure you're in a safe area to ski. Don't ski near docks, boats, rocks, or in shallow water. The only place to start is in the water — dock or land starts should be left to the pros.

If you start to lose your balance while skiing, just bend your knees and crouch down so you don't fall. If you do fall — and everyone does — remember to let go of the rope! Then, find your skis and hold one of them up to signal you're okay and to let other boaters know you're in the water.

How to Play

Want to walk on water? Try water skiing! Water skiers hold onto a rope and are pulled on their skis behind a boat going fast. They glide across the water with the wind in their faces! It's a great activity that you can do with your family or friends and it can be competitive. Check out these tips and you'll be skiing in no time!

Getting Started. Before you get in the water to ski, make sure you're wearing a life vest that is the right size and is on the right way. Get in the water with your skis. Wet your ski bindings before you put on your skis, and keep the bindings loose enough that the skis will come off if you fall. Bend your knees up towards your chest with your arms straight out in front of you. As the boat pulls the rope toward you, grab the rope handle with both hands and hold it between your knees. You should almost be sitting on the skis. Facing the boat, lift the tips of your skis a bit above the water, keep your skis shoulder width apart, and keep your arms straight. Nod your head to let the boat driver know you are ready to go, and begin straightening your legs as you are pulled out of the water. If you stand too soon you'll fall down, so take it slow and be patient.

Steering. To turn, just lean in the direction you want to go. Move your weight to the edge of the skis on the side you want to turn toward while you keep the skis pointed forward. If you want to turn faster, crouch down while you lean.

 

Fun Facts

In 1922, Ralph Samuelson became the first person to try water skiing. First he strapped boards from a barrel to the bottom of his feet, and later on he decided to try skis.

The best water skiers can go up to 60 mph!

The men's world record for jumping is 233 feet, which is about as far as kicking a 77-yard field goal in football!

 

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