Gracefully gliding behind a friend’s powerboat could be the most rewarding activity on the water. But without the correct type of waterski, it could also be the most frustrating. Choosing the right equipment can be challenging, with many available styles, sizes, and brands.

That’s why we have put together a handy guide to help you find the perfect type and size of waterski. Whether you’re a beginner looking to get your first taste of waterskiing or a veteran ready to rip up the course, our guide will make your time on the water more fun.

Types of Waterski

Your choice of waterski depends on several factors, including your body size, proficiency, and equipment type. Knowing the fundamentals of waterski design is the first step to finding the right one for you.

Combo Skis

The large surface area makes combo skis more buoyant, requiring less strength (or a weaker motorboat) to keep you moving. They are a budget option, usually made of plastic. The durable and lightweight material makes combo skis flexible. The fins are also plastic and come in bright colors, making them highly visible even if you drop one in the water.

Combo skis are an excellent choice for first-timers or beginners. They come in pairs, with adjustable bindings to fit all kinds of skiers. There are two bindings on one ski and a single on the other, allowing you to drop one off as you get confident. These skis feature narrow and broader options, with a flat rocker pattern to keep them straight and stable on the water.

The material and ease of use make them a suitable choice for beginners. But you can use combo skis even if you’re an intermediate looking to learn slalom, also making them a family-friendly option.

Junior Water Skis

Consider the junior or trainer waterskis for the budding skiers in your family. These lightweight skis feature shorter lengths and smaller bindings. A removable stabilizing rope or bar between the skis holds them at a proper distance to ensure control and confidence. The junior trainers include a handheld rope system that allows the parent to control the child’s ride from the boat. If the little skier falls, you can let go of the rope to prevent them from being dragged. 

These skis, like combo skis, sport bright colors to keep the young skiers visible in the water.

Widebody skis

As the name suggests, a widebody ski is wide throughout the body. The broader center section makes them ideal for deep water starts. While they do not turn as well as traditional slalom skis, the widebody skis remain stable in rough waters. These are the best options for heavier, older, inexperienced skiers or anybody looking for a laid-back ride.

Slalom skis

With slalom, agility is the name of the game. They help you go faster and take sharper turns with a narrow and long body. The slalom skis come as a single ski with two bindings to keep your feet oriented, one in front of the other. The ski’s rear part (or the tail) is narrow, allowing experienced skiers to decelerate when coming into a turn. You can also roll the ski onto its edge to start a turn.

They consist of more robust materials such as polyurethane foam core wrapped in carbon fiber, fiberglass, or a combination of the two.

Jump skis

Longer and lighter, these specialized skis are stable and provide maximum lift. Ideal for jumping off ramps, jump skis have short, wide fins to support your weight. While they can be tough to control, they’re ideal for getting some “air.”

Trick skis

Trick skis guarantee maximum control and maneuverability. They are shorter, wider, and rounder than other skis and have flatter bottoms and no fins, making them perfect for flipping and spinning. While challenging to control, trick skis are easier to turn and slide while going forward, backward, or sideways. They come in both, pairs and solo skis.

Ski Sizing

The right ski size depends on your body weight and the boat speed. We’ve provided a ski size chart to help determine your ski length based on weight and skiing speed. Remember, all skis are different. Reach out to the experts at Miami Nautique to find the perfect fit for you.

Waterski size chart

Rider Weight (lbs)Boat Speed (26-30mph)Boat Speed (26-30mph)Boat Speed (26-30mph)
80-11063-64″62-64″62-64″
95-12065-66″63-64″63-64″
115-14065-66″63-64″63-64″
135-16067-68″65-66″65-66″
155-18069″67-68″67-68″
175-20069″69″67-68″
195-220+72″69″69″

Ability and Experience Levels

As mentioned above, your ability and progression also dictate your choice of waterski.

First-timers

It’s all about learning the basics. Pick a pair of double skis and get used to the water.

Beginners

A pair of combo skis will help you take your first turns. They are broader and more stable, suitable for slower speeds (26-28mph). You can drop one to work on deep water start.

Intermediate

You find it easy to ski on one combo ski at 28-30mph and are ready to move on to slalom skis. Depending on your progression, you can choose a wider slalom ski or a shaped one.

Advanced

Confident in your technique, you can choose an advanced slalom ski with a narrow tail and concave bottom. You can ski at moderately short lines (22′ off or more) and pull the ski into the water to gain power and control.

Course

You’re an expert who rides with (32′ off or more) short lines and crushes competition at speeds of 34-36mph.

Buy the Right Ski For You

Choosing the right waterski can be tricky. Whether you’re buying your first waterski, a jump ski to catch maximum “air,” or a junior trainer for the watersport enthusiast in the family, we have you covered.

At Miami Nautique, our list of reputed manufacturers includes HO Sports, D3, Radar, Masterline, Connelly, Goode, Reflex, and many other brands. Stop by our pro shop or browse our site, and our team of experts will find you a ski to suit your needs.

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