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Top Tips for Teaching Your Kids to Waterski

May 21, 2022 7 min read

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Top Tips for Teaching Your Kids to Waterski

tips for teaching your kids to waterski

Why You Should Teach Your Kids to Waterski

Waterskiing is a great water sport that can provide a ton of fun for any child who is willing to learn. Teaching your kids to waterski is about giving them the confidence to be able to stand up on their own.

One of the biggest benefits of teaching your child to waterski is it provides a family activity out in the sun and water, that everyone can enjoy. Waterskiing also makes you use your core muscles to get up on the skis and hold your body in an upright position. This allows your children to improve their core strength and boosts overall fitness. While upright on the skis they are also improving their coordination and balance which has many health benefits particularly for later in life.

Why you should teach your kids to waterski

How To Teach Your Kids to Waterski

Teaching a child to waterski should be a gradual process that takes into account each child’s individual learning needs. It can be very daunting for a child to be out on the water by themselves whilst everyone else is watching on from the boat. We recommend to get them to firstly be comfortable with being behind the boat before getting them to put the skis on. Allowing them to try tubbing or using any floatation device that has a handle on it, before throwing them in the deep end will help them feel more confident.

When teaching kids to waterski they need to learn how to do the standing position, moving in the water, turning in the water, how to stop and how to wait in the water for the boat to loop around and collect them.

How to teach your kids to waterski
  1. Starting Position

It is much faster and easier to learn to ski by practicing on dry land first. Start by having them sit down with the knees together and pulled in towards the chest. Hand the child the handle and hold the ski rope so there is pressure on the handle. Make sure their arms are straight and held slightly downwards, have their arms wrapped tightly around the outside of their legs, the arms can hold the knees together. Ask the child to lean forward over their knees to keep their balance.

  1. Standing Position

Once the child is comfortable in the starting position, ask them to slowly stand up. They must do this with their arms straight at all times, leaning slightly forward over their knees, they stand directly up over the ankles. They do this first by keeping their knees bent, the pressure of the rope will allow them to stand directly over their ankles as they stand as long as their arms remain straight. You can also stand in front of them and gently pull them up from their hands if you don’t have a rope at this time or they are having trouble standing from this position. This replicates them hanging onto the tow rope and the boat pulling them up on their skis in the water.

  1. Add the Skis

Now you can add the skis to the learning mix but still stay on dry land. Ask your child to put on their skis, they should be shorter in length than adult skis as this is easier for them to use and control. Then start again in the starting position, hanging onto the ski rope gently pull them up into the skiing position with the skis on. Try this many times until they can nearly stand without any pressure on the rope.

  1. Learn to put the Skis on in the Water

An important step is to teach your child how to control the skis in the water. Do this before pulling the boat out to start, if a child can put their own skis on in the water while floating and balance in the water in the start position, they will ski with ease. Do it over and over again, it will make skiing so much more enjoyable for everyone involved and your child will be amazed if they can get up on their first try. You wont even need the rope at this point and

  1. Time to get into the water

A few reminders

  • Use a ski rope that is around 23m long as this ensures that the skier will be in clean/ less disturbed water behind the boat. You can shorten the rope as long as the boat speed remains slow, you can try the red or even the yellow shortening of a slalom rope.
  • If you have a high pole or wakeboard tower you can place the rope up high as it will help to lift the child up out of the water. Works great for adults but not essential for kids.
  • The driver of the boat is critically important, patience and safety are paramount. Children will not be aware of the rope around them, make sure the driver can see the rope at all times and drift out slowly to take up the slack.
  • The child should be taught to call out when ready, sometimes it is hard for them to know, the driver must ensure that everyone in the boat is seated and safe and it is clear to take off.
  • The driver should place the boat into gear and drag the child gently through the water for a first few meters as the child adjusts to the pressure of the water. The boat driver will then smoothly and gently increase the speed, too slow is better than too fast. Kids will be able to ski on top of the water from 12 -15 kph, it is slow.
Kids waterski equipment australia

What Equipment Do You Need?

As a parent, you want your kids to have the best possible experience when they go waterskiing. You want them to be safe and comfortable, but also have fun.

Your child will require kids’ skis, which come in different options. Kids will always start on double skis which provides the most stable platform for a child to learn to ski on, and importantly teaches them basic balance skills and skiing skills. They come in various sizes from 57 inches up to 63 inches for kids. There are smaller trainers available for children below 6 years of age. Slalom skis are used after the child has spent time on doubles, they should be able to cross the wake and be able to lift one of the skis up out of the water while skiing inside the wake before trying to ski on a single slalom ski.

It is best to find double skis that have basic horse shoe kids waterski bindings, they are much easier to put on and off. Kids waterski gloves are not needed when learning, the new water ski handles and ropes have improved and have very good grip.

The most important item is a kids life jacket to obviously meet water safety rules, but they also provide your child with a safety net so they can feel more confident in the water. The life jacket must be firm and not be able to ride up when the child is in the water. It is always better to purchase a kids life jacket from a “Pro Shop” as they will have jackets made for waterskiing and will be allow maximum movement while the kids are swimming and skiing.

Kids Waterski equipment and kids life jackets

Investing in good swimwear for your kids will ensure they are comfortable and also protected by the sun. Rashies and boardshorts are a much better option than bikinis or just board shorts, as wearing a rashie underneath a lifejacket will help prevent uncomfortable rubbing but more importantly protect them from the sun. We will always recommend wetsuit shorts for all kids when learning for obvious reasons, they are as important as a life jacket. Also depending on your location and how cold the water is, purchasing a kids wetsuit will allow your child to stay warm in open water and provide extra buoyancy.

Other must haves on any boating activity include sunscreen, sunglasses and hats to protect yourselves and your children from burning in the sun. Also remember water bottles and snacks as your kids will be working up a sweat on the skis, and bring as many towels as possible.

It is definitely worth investing in the right gear before heading to the water. Ensuring that all items properly fit your child is the best way to ensure they are safe whilst waterskiing. This also means that the day will be more enjoyable and stress free for everyone.

Top tips to teach your kids to waterski

Top Tips to Teach Your Kids to Waterski

  • Start off slow
  • Practice on dry land first before getting in the water
  • Remember falling is part of learning and to get back up
  • Check all gear is properly fitted to your child
  • Consider waterskiing lessons with a certified instructor
  • Have Fun!
Teaching kids to waterski

How To Get Started with Lessons?

Lessons with a certified waterskiing instructor may be a great option if you and your family are just starting out with water sports. These lessons can be one on one or in small groups which allows them to teach you step by step on how to waterski like a pro. All lessons allow you to rent out the equipment such as the skis and life jackets, so it’s a great way to test out the sport before blowing a ton of money on waterskiing gear. Better yet you are even supplied with a boat and driver, so as a parent all you have to do is sit back and relax!


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