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How to choose the right water ski - 88 Gear

How to Choose the Right Water Ski

Did you know that 3.57 million people participated in water skiing in the U.S. in 2017? Are you looking to buy new water skis? 

This article will show you the top tips for choosing the right water ski! Check out this complete guide so you can glide gracefully on the water with your new equipment. 

1. Slalom Skis

Did you know that water skiing was invented by Ralph Samuelson in 1922? If you decide to choose slalom skis, they're sold as a single ski with 2 bindings. It's widest under the forward binding. The rear part of the ski is the narrowest. 

Since the rear is narrow it allows you to decelerate quicker when facing a turn. If you're looking for a quick-turning ski, this is a great water ski option for you. 

2. Combo Skis

These are sold as a pair, where one ski has 2 bindings, and the other only has 1. This option is great for families and beginners since they can use both skis to start easier. 

Advanced skiers can start with just one ski or drop one after starting on both. They normally come with adjustable bindings for a variety of skiers. You can choose from wider skis or narrow shapes like slalom skis. 

3. Combo Pair or Trainer

When you're just beginning, you'll want wider skis to balance on. Consider trainers or combo pairs. Since they're wider, they have more surface area for an easier start. 

They're great for families since they can fit almost every foot size. Kids can start with platform trainers. You can actually lock the skis together so it's easier for them to begin. 

Adult combo waterskis are meant for an adult weighing over 100 pounds. After you can get up on 2 skis, you can practice using just one ski. Once the combo pair becomes too easy for you, you can switch to slalom skis. 

4. Shaped Skis

These are similar to slalom skis since they're sold as a single ski with 2 bindings. Shaped skis are wider than slalom skis. This helps you have a more stable ride and an easier start. 

They can be used at lower speeds and for learning deep water starts. You can also learn slalom course techniques as well. 

Slalom Bindings

It's a matter of preference as far as water ski bindings. Intermediate and beginner skiers should choose adjustable front universal binding. This option will also have a rear slip-in toe. 

A common mistake is for men to choose a size S/M 5-10. If you wear a size 10, you'll need the L/XL which is for sizes 9-14. If you and your family want to share the skis, make sure to choose the adjustable universal binding. 

Keep in mind that the adjustable universal binding doesn't give any challenge for more advanced skiers. Advanced skiers will do best with an adjustable and fixed-binding. 

Next, you'll need to decide whether you want it to have fixed front and rear boot or a slip in the rear toe. If you choose the rear fixed boot, it'll keep your heel in place. 

It also gives ankle support. It's not ideal for everyone since more effort is required. If you choose the double binding setup you'll be able to really use your ski to its max potential. 

Slalom Ski Designs

For ski designs, there are 3 different factors you want to keep in mind. You'll want to consider stiffness, edge bevel, and base concave. 


The stiffness is important since a ski bends or flexes during turns. The stiffer your ski is, the more energy you'll create. If you choose a soft ski, you'll feel like the ski is getting pushed around. 

If your ski is too stiff, it'll be harder to control the ski during turns. If you're at competition level, you'll want a ski with a PVC core that's stiff and ultralight. You'll have more energy transfer in a turn. 

For non-competitors, your skis will have a poly-injected core. This has less energy since it's lighter. Advanced skis use carbon fiber rather than fiberglass like most typical skis. 

Base Concave

For the base concave, you'll choose from a full concave design, tunnel-concave design, or a v-bottom. A tunnel-concave design has 2 flat spots on each side of the edge with a center concave. 

You'll sit higher on the water with this choice. This allows skiers to have an edge. The more of a concave design, it's more likely to be stronger and on edge. 

A full-concave design you'll have a concave base that goes from each side of the edge fully. This will allow you to move the quickest and turn quicker. Most high-level skiers will choose a full-concave design. 

A v-bottom design has a center rib that runs down the center of the ski. The ski will go straight easily, and since it's wider you have an easier time going from edge to edge. 

Edge Bevel

Edge Bevel means the degree the base edge hits the side rail. It controls how the ski rolls onto an edge. Also, how fast a ski will finish its turn. Competitive skiers use the smallest bevel, and beginners use the widest bevel. 

Choosing the Perfect Water Ski

Choosing the right water ski is determining your experience and how comfortable you are on skis.

While you might be quick to want to impress your friends and choose a more experienced ski, you must choose the ski that matches your current level and experience.

Are you ready to get your new pair of water skis? Check out a wide variety of our water skis today!

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