Posted on Leave a comment

Teaching Kids to Waterski

How to teach kids to waterski. Watersports Warehouse, Cape Town

Helping First-Timers Get Comfortable with Skiing

One of the main challenges of teaching kids to waterski is making them feel comfortable and at ease being behind the boat without their parents. As a child myself, I recall floating around in the middle of the dam, wondering what might be swimming around beneath me while waiting for the boat. Depending on your child’s age and their willingness, there are a number of steps you can take to increase their confidence level before introducing them to skiing. I firmly believe that any time spent behind the boat, even on an inflatable tube, can be beneficial and help build their confidence. However, I prefer them to engage in an activity where they are actually holding onto a handle, and standing up where possible.

The Role of Tubing in Skiing Preparation

In the picture below, you can see the child standing on a slim, flat tube and holding the handle whilst the adult takes the main pull from the boat. The advantage of this kind of setup is that you can go really slowly. An alternative to an inflatable tube, could be a kneeboard, wakesurfer, or surfboard or something like the Airhead Ez Inflatable trainer. When starting, keep the rope nice and short to maintain eye contact with the child and communicate with them from the back of the boat. As they grow more comfortable, gradually lengthen the rope, increasing the distance between you and the child. Turn it into a fun game, and soon enough, they’ll be cruising around with a big smile, confidently skiing on a fully extended rope.

Maintaining an Upright Position

Once your child is ready to transition from the tubes to water skis. it’s important to first introduce them to the skis on dry land. Let them try on the skis, ensuring the bindings are secure yet comfortable enough. Show them the basics, how to hold onto the rope, and for some added practice, gently pull them by hand along the grass. This is a great time for them to get a sense of what it feels like to stand on skis before hitting the water.

Moving Onto Skis

Once they’re comfortable being pulled by the boat, or that they are at the age where you don’t think you need to worry about it, it’s time to put them into a set of skis. KD Sports makes a great pair of kids water skis just for this called the Calypso Timber Trainer Skis. Always start off on dry land so they can experience some of the feelings before moving into the water. Depending on the size of the child, you can try pull them around on the grass, but at a the very least, have them put on the skis and sit down on them and give them a handle. The two most important things are to keep their arms completely straight and knees completely bent. You can pull them up while standing on shore and show them what happens if they pull with their arms or if they push with their legs. Both will result in either their feet sliding underneath the handle and falling back or falling over the front. When this is done properly, it will take little effort by the person holding the handle and by the skier.

Mastering Control

The next step is to repeat the same land based drill done above, but with them in the water, make sure to position ski tips close to you so that you can gently pull the handle, allowing them to effortlessly rise out of the water. you do get special training ropes that have a handle on each end. This approach offers better control, as you can communicate a lot easier with them throughout the process. In case of a fall, you can quickly release the handle you’re holding, preventing the child from any unwanted dragging through the water. It’s important to remember straight arms and slightly bent knees while skiing. Once they have successfully cruised around several times, it’s now time to place the rope onto the ski pylon. It’s very important to keep the speed nice and slow. Adjust the speed as needed depending on the child’s size and your boat’s wake, but starting slower is always better than too fast.

Mastering the Two-Ski Start

Follow the five helpful tips below on how to teach kids or anyone to waterski for the first time:

  1. Use a ski rope with a bit more length than usual, around 21 meters, as this provides a bit more stretch and keeps the skier in the flatter water behind the boat. To start off, the skier should tuck up into a ‘ball’, squeezing their knees together as close to their chest as possible, and keeping their arms straight. The rope should be straight between the skis, while the waterski tips point up and out of the water.
Teaching Kids How to Waterski

2. The boat’s driver should gradually put the boat into forward gear until the waterski rope becomes tight. From here, the driver should accelerate at a slow and steady pace, ensuring that the pull from the boat is as smooth as possible to bring the skier out of the water without any sudden jerks. For the young skiers learning on two skis, it’s vitally important to maintain as low a planning speeds as possible and avoid exceeding 36kph while accelerating.

3. The skier should allow the boat to completely pull them out of the water while staying in the tucked up position until the skis are planning on top of the water. Once the skis are properly on the water top, they should slowly start to straighten their legs, standing up nice and tall while keeping their arms extended straight in front of them.

4. Once the skier is feeling comfortable, then next thing they should focus on is the aligning of their hips under their shoulders and straight above their feet. Then concentrate on directing the skis to do little crisscross’s inside the wake. Once they have gained the confidence in changing directions within the wake, it’s time to start going wider to outside the wakes for the next challenge.

5. If the skier falls, remember to let go of the handle. The spotter should immediately alert the boat driver to circle back to help the skier restart or climb back inside the boat.

I hope you found the article helpful and if you still need some help getting your youngster (or yourself) going… Give us a call or drop us an email and we’ll happily assist you. Also remember to give us a follow on Instagram and Facebook for regular updates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *