Water skiing — safe extreme


Today, water ski­ing is not only a pop­u­lar water sport, but also a way of active recre­ation and a pleas­ant pas­time.

The his­to­ry of water ski­ing

Some believe that the inhab­i­tants of the Alps were the pio­neers of water ski­ing, who adapt­ed their ordi­nary skis for this pur­pose, oth­ers believe that the first water skis appeared as a kind of board for rid­ing on the waves — a long-stand­ing enter­tain­ment of the inhab­i­tants of Hawaii.

But accord­ing to offi­cial data, the pio­neers of water ski­ing are inde­pen­dent­ly three peo­ple from the Unit­ed States at once. The first was Ralph Samuel­son of Min­neso­ta, who fit­ted reg­u­lar wood­en win­ter skis with leg bind­ings. After that, they suc­cess­ful­ly test­ed them on the waters of the lake in Lake City. Regard­less of Samuel­son, the Amer­i­can Fred Waller in 1925 receives the first patent in his­to­ry for the mod­el of water skis he invent­ed. And final­ly, in 1928, some­one Don Ibsen from the town of Belle­vue (Wash­ing­ton), not know­ing about the mod­els invent­ed before him, pro­posed his own ver­sion of water ski­ing, which makes anoth­er per­son who is con­sid­ered the inven­tor of this sport. All three mod­els were very sim­i­lar and were win­ter skis made of pine, cov­ered with a water-repel­lent sub­stance and with a spe­cial rub­ber bind­ing for the legs.

Cur­rent­ly, due to the enter­tain­ment and pop­u­lar­i­ty, water ski­ing has been offi­cial­ly includ­ed (since 2004) in the pro­gram of the Sum­mer Olympic Games. And var­i­ous cham­pi­onships, includ­ing the World Cham­pi­onship, have been held since the 50s of the last cen­tu­ry.

Gen­er­al idea of ​​water ski­ing

Water ski­ing is rid­ing behind a boat or any oth­er high-speed water­craft with which you are con­nect­ed by a spe­cial cable: one end is attached to the side of the boat, and you hold the oth­er in your hands.

To an unin­formed per­son, water ski­ing may resem­ble alpine ski­ing, but in real­i­ty they are some­what wider and have a dif­fer­ent geom­e­try. The first skis were made of wood, which was coat­ed with a water-repel­lent impreg­na­tion, but today the main mate­r­i­al for their man­u­fac­ture is polyurethane foam. Skis made of this mate­r­i­al have a num­ber of advan­tages com­pared to wood­en ones: they weigh less and have bet­ter con­trol­la­bil­i­ty.

Water ski­ing, unlike many oth­er water sports, is a rel­a­tive­ly sim­ple form that does not require you to be in good phys­i­cal shape and make seri­ous efforts to mas­ter the tech­nique of ski­ing. There­fore, it is with water ski­ing that it is rec­om­mend­ed to start learn­ing water sports.

Types of water skis

Slalom on one or two skis. In this type of water ski­ing, the clean­li­ness of the select­ed route is tak­en into account.

Ski jump­ing. In this type of skat­ing, the win­ner is deter­mined by the length of the jump.

Fig­ure skat­ing on one or two skis. In this form, the style of per­for­mance and the com­plex­i­ty of the fig­ures per­formed are tak­en into account.

Depend­ing on the type of ski­ing, there are some dif­fer­ences in the shape and geom­e­try of the skis.

Water skiing


The main thing you should pay atten­tion to when choos­ing water skis is their flex­i­bil­i­ty. Skis with lit­tle flex­i­bil­i­ty, they are also called “hard”, allow you to devel­op high speed, but they are less sta­ble when cor­ner­ing, while more flex­i­ble skis (“soft”) have the oppo­site sit­u­a­tion. There­fore, begin­ners are advised to learn on “soft” skis, as they are more sta­ble on the water and eas­i­er to man­age.

After you decide on water ski­ing, we rec­om­mend that you pay atten­tion to oth­er items of equip­ment — a hal­yard, a life jack­et and a hel­met.

Fal — this is a cable, one end of which is attached to the side of the boat, and the oth­er ends with a spe­cial han­dle that the ski­er holds in his hands. The main require­ment for the hal­yard: it must be bright (so that it can be eas­i­ly seen on the water), strong and inelas­tic. The hal­yard is made of light­weight mate­ri­als (most often polypropy­lene) so that it does not sink. The length is select­ed indi­vid­u­al­ly, depend­ing on the weight and skill of the rid­er. Begin­ners are advised to choose a short­er hal­yard (usu­al­ly about 16–18 meters). The hal­yard han­dle is a hol­low plas­tic han­dle cov­ered with porous rub­ber for con­ve­nience.

Life vest — a manda­to­ry piece of equip­ment. It per­forms two func­tions: it pre­vents you from drown­ing and reduces the risk of injury if you fall. The vest should be soft and not restrict move­ment.

Hel­met — an impor­tant ele­ment of equip­ment, it pro­tects your head from injury and dam­age in case of falls. The main selec­tion cri­te­ri­on is that you should be com­fort­able.

Author: Alexan­der Kuznetsov

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