How To Get Up On Water Skis - Step-by-Step Guide

How To Get Up On Water Skis – Step-by-Step Guide

How To Get Up On Water Skis – Step-by-Step Guide

  • Learn how to get up on water skis
  • Learn how to stay up and turn on water skis
  • Learn about which water skis and water skiing methods are best for your level

Water skiing is not a sport that requires special skills and training. Anybody of any age and height can enjoy water skiing. However, certain tricks and maneuvers should only be attempted by professionals.

Water Skiing Equipment

Water skiing requires several different pieces of equipment. Some of the equipment needs to be perfect for you, while others are general pieces of equipment.


A boat is one of the key pieces of equipment you will need to water ski. Professionals tend to use higher horsepower boats when competing in tournaments. If you’re playing for pleasure, the towing boat doesn’t need to have a very high horsepower.

The boats are generally 14 feet to 20 feet long and have a speed dependent on the skier. The average adult would require a 20-25mph speed, and children would require 15-20mph.

A tow bar or pylon is also attached to the boat, keeping the rider away from the engine and propeller.


When going water skiing, the most important piece of equipment you will require is the skis. Whether you are using two skis or one ski, they will need to be carried onto the boat.

Generally, the skis are made of materials such as fiberglass or carbon fiber. Fiberglass skis are incredibly lightweight but expensive.

There are also different types of skis you can use. Each type of ski has a different use, advantage and is for a certain skill level.

  • Slalom Skis

These are single skis with two bindings. The bindings are placed one behind the other. You’ll find the widest part of the ski that is beneath the bindings, while the tail is the narrowest part.

A narrow trail makes turn smoother and easier, which makes slalom skis perfect for recreation skiing or slalom courses.

  • Combo Skis

Whether you’re using just one ski or both, the combo skis give you the option of using them in any combination. Combo skis are sold as a pair. One ski has two bindings, while the other has a single binding.

It is a great set of skis for families, beginners, and professionals alike. The bindings adjust to fit any player, and the skis work for several different experience levels at once.

  • Youth Skis

The youth skis are necessary for children or shorter, lightweight skiers. If you’re looking specifically at entry-level skis, they come with a rope, retainer, or bar that can be removed.

The additional support is a safety measure, ensuring that an adult can instantly release the child if they fall.


When looking for skiing equipment, make sure the binding is comfortable and sturdy. It not only provides physical support to the skier but makes the ride more comfortable. The binding is generally made of gum rubber and metal parts that do rust as time goes by.

You can look for non-rusting metals such as aluminum. Bindings are also adjustable and are made to fit a range of people.

Flotation Device

Even the most proficient swimmers must wear a flotation device. This is a safety measure that is enforced for both professionals and recreational players. The device is created of unicellular foams and nylon straps that are reinforced.

The straps are additionally coated with vinyl, and high-impact plastics are used to create the fasteners to prevent them from rusting.

Tow Ropes

The tow ropes are yet another necessary part of the sport. An ideal tow rope has a single handle that measures 75 feet. The whole bar is made of polyethylene or polypropylene or can be made of aluminum.

How to Get Up On Water Skis

There are two different ways of water skiing – you can either use two skis or one ski. The method of standing up is slightly different for both.

Getting Up on Two Skis

When you first start learning how to water ski, you use two skis. After you get better, you switch to a single ski. Both have slightly different methods of standing up, so read through the instructions carefully.

Step 1:Put on your lifejacket securely.
Step 2:Put on your skis. Either you can put them on dry while on the boat or once you’re in the water.
Step 3:The binding on the skis is adjustable to fit a range of people. Make sure your feet are securely tucked into the bindings.
Step 4:Once your skis are on and you are in the water, grab onto the handle of the rope and float on your back.
Step 5:The driver will idle until there is no slack in the rope; you can simply float along while this is happening.
Step 6:Once there is no slack, the driver will put the boat in neutral and wait for your signal. Get your legs fully bent with your arms nearly fully extended with the elbows on the outside of your knees. The ski rope needs to go between the two skis. You should resemble a curled-up ball.
Step 7:Keep your head up and toward the boat with some of your skis pointing toward the sky and out of the water. Once you’re satisfied with the position, shout “Gear!”
Step 8:The driver will idle and pull you along until the slack is completely out of the line.
Step 9:Once you see no slack in the line, yell “Go Boat!”.
Step 10:As you feel the boat pull you, do not give in to the instinct to straighten your knees. As the boat picks up speed, you will rise out of the water.
Step 11:Stay in your ball till you find yourself on the surface of the water. After a few seconds, slowly and evenly straighten out both legs and stand up.

Getting Up On One Ski

When it comes to standing on one ski, the process is similar yet slightly different. Here is how you would successfully pull off a deep water start.

Step 1:While waiting for the initial pull, keep yourself curled into a ball. You will only learn the tightness and ideal position for you with practice.
Step 2:Keep your position even as the initial pull starts and try your hardest to stay right behind the boat and not veer off course.
Step 3:Ask the driver to start slowly pulling and move to a faster speed.
Step 4:As you start to feel yourself rise out of the water or start to ‘plane,’ lift your heel out of the back binding on the ski.
Step 5:Once this is done, push yourself up and get the bar to hip level.
Step 6:You’ll need to keep your balance since you’re on one ski and stand up in the correct form. Proper form involves putting more weight on the back of the ski to make it more stable.

How to Stay Up On Water Skis

After learning how to stand up on water skis, it is important to know how to stay up and make the different turns or do the tricks that make the sport so exhilarating. Here is how you can stay up on your skis after standing up.

Bend Your Knees

When you stand up, the instinct could be to straighten out your legs. Fight this urge and keep them slightly bent. Your knees act as shock absorbers for the tiny waves you meet while skiing. If your knees aren’t bent, then the shock is absorbed in your waist.

When absorbed at the waist, you can become unstable and grievously hurt your back. So, make sure to keep your knees slightly bent to stay upright.

Straighten Up

Hunching your back is the sign of a skier that is still inexperienced. When you bend your knees, you tend to automatically straighten your back. By straightening your back, you’re maintaining a looser and more relaxed composure that will help you stay upright.

Extend Your Arms

Keep your arms extended when holding on to the bar. Your arms help you deal with any slack in the line. When the line does slack, you can pull your arms back into your chest to make up for the slack in the line.

When you keep your arms close to your chest, there’s no way to compensate for the slack, which will have you falling backward.

Center Your Skis

When using two skis, make sure to keep them centered behind the boat. Also, make sure to equally distribute your weight on both skis. If you place more weight on one ski than the other, you will be making a turn.

Keep Them Together

If you’re doing the splits the whole time, then your legs are bound to be in bad shape the next morning. When using two skis, make sure to keep them less than shoulder-width apart but never let them touch.

Safety Tips For Water Skiing

Safety is an incredibly important part of water skiing, both as a sport and as a recreational activity. Here are a few safety tips you are highly recommended to follow.

Wear a life jacket

Wearing a lifejacket or a flotation device is incredibly important. There are life vests specifically designed for water skiing.

Check the equipment

Make sure to check all the equipment, such as the tow rope, tow bar, skis, and life jacket, for any signs of wear and tear.

If any of the equipment is damaged, make sure to replace it before you go skiing.

Know the hand signals

There are specific hand signals for water skiing. These hand signals are used to communicate with the boat driver. Go through the hand signals with the driver once before you start skiing.

Groups of three

While it is possible to water ski with only a driver and a skier, groups of three are safer. Having an observer onboard leaves the driver to be aware of his surroundings and focus on driving the boat.

Tips For Water Skiing

  • Do not tense up when you start to water ski. Every position is meant to be relaxed, as fighting against the water is a losing battle.
  • When water skiing, keep your chest up while standing up. Do not straighten out your legs. Keep the knees be not hunch over or curl forward.
  • When your chest is up, your hips automatically move forward. Keep your hips as close to the handle as possible, and don’t let them slip behind you.
  • Let the boat do all the work. Don’t try to push yourself to the surface. Simply let the boat pull you up to the surface. Once you’re on top, you can adjust your position and stand up.


1. What is a recommended safety practice?

Water skiing holds an elaborated set of rules when it comes to safety. Of all the rules, there are a few crucial ones.

  • Run through your hand signals with the driver before starting to ski. The hand signals are the only way you’ll be able to communicate with the driver as he won’t be able to hear you.
  • Never start to water ski without a life jacket.
  • There has to be an observer at the back of the boat to observe you. Even if the driver can’t see your hand signals, the observer can alert the driver of any issues.

2. How do I choose water skis?

You need to choose your water skis based on your experience level. Most companies sell their skis in three different categories – beginner, intermediate, and advanced. All skis are different in terms of weight and length.

3. What are the hand signals?

There are different hand signals to indicate different things

  • If you want to go faster, put your thumb up.
  • A thumbs down is the signal to go slower.
  • Patting the head with one arm means that the skier wants to return to the dock.
  • After a fall, raise both arms above the head to signify to the observer that you are okay.


Water Skiing is not the most complex sport to exist. As long as you practice and slowly move your way up the difficulty level, you should have no issues recreationally water skiing.

Once you get the hang of standing on skis, you’ll soon be able to ski your way around the lake like a pro.