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WHY EVERY SKIER SHOULD WATERSKI - Jane Peel, on the water
Tuesday July 10, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

It's summer and, as she does every year, our chief reporter has swapped snow for water. Here's her (updated) account of why you should too.


 

 

Here's one good reason.

It's a hot, hot summer.

30 degrees Celsius, the sun blazing, the water calm and warm.

OK, OK, I know. It's not always this good.

But you're used to blizzards, whiteouts, ice and slush, so don't be a wimp.

Dealing with the unpredictable British summer is a doddle by comparison.

Here's reason number two.

I rarely get depressed when the winter draws to a close and the skiing's over because that's when my waterski season begins.

Jane on the jettyI'm happy it's summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Rickmansworth WSCHappy skiers enjoying summer at the lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here's another good reason.

Waterskiing and wakeboarding have a lot in common with skiing and snowboarding.

I can pretty much guarantee that if you are reasonably competent at one, you'll pick up the other quickly.

Here's why:

  •  the edges of the skis/boards work in the same way
  • dynamic balance - you have it, which will help
  • it's more about technique than strength (though the latter is important at a high level)
  • you take instruction well (don't you?) and if you do what you're told to do, you'll be waterskiing in no time

And anyway, what else can you do in the summer when you are not surrounded by mountains?

At the lakeTrading mountains for lakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was once asked what I got out of "hanging on behind a boat and going round and round".

"Don't you get bored?"

"Yes, I would, if that's all I was doing," I replied.

WaterskiingGoing round and round

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You see, that's how you start. But then you get hooked.

You start using those ski edges to cut through the boat wakes, whizzing from side to side.

You ask why there are fluorescent buoys all over the lake and are told it's the slalom course.

On the waterski slalom courseOn the slalom course

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The slalom course is for the serious skiers and there are a lot of them around.

Britain currently (July 2018) boasts two of the top three ranked slalom skiers in the world - Freddie Winter and Will Asher.

Freddie WinterOne of the world's best - GB's Freddie Winter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In fact, Great Britain has always had some of the very best.

So, when you start feeling more comfortable on two skis, you start thinking about how good it would be if you, too, could slalom.

What follows is the challenge of learning to get up out of the water (and stay up) on a single ski.

It's a lot more difficult than it sounds.

And then there's the - apparently impossible - goal of successfully completing the slalom course.

Except you find out - sooner or later - that it isn't impossible.

On the slalom courseYours truly in 2009 - the impossible IS possible

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the lake this summerYours truly competing - summer 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
And from high above it can even look as if you know what you're doing.

Have a look at this drone-cam footage from June 2018:


And here's some much more impressive slalom action and a very simple  - very American - explainer on how waterski slalom competition works:

Just like snow skiing, there is always something new to learn, an ambition to reach for if you're the competitive type.

And just like snow skiing, there are those who would rather cruise around on skis or have a bit of fun, and you can do that on water too.

At Rickmansworth WSCHaving fun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having fun at the lakeHaving fun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can ski or wakeboard behind a boat on a lake or on a cable tow.

There are different disciplines to learn.

Tournament skiing consists of three of them - slalom, tricks and jump.

Then there's wakeboarding, wakesurfing, kneeboarding and even ski ballet.

WakeboardingWakeboarding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ski BalletSki Ballet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can join a club or pay-as-you-go at most commercial or private members' clubs.

The instruction you'll receive at these clubs is likely to be far superior to anything you'll get at the beach on your summer holiday!

Here's a short video to whet your appetite. It was compiled for my club's Facebook page in 2016:

 

So what are you waiting for?

Go on, give it a go.

Rickmansworth Water Ski Club in Hertfordshire runs a series of beginners' days in the summer.  Find out more on the club website.

MAIN PHOTO Jane skiing at Rickmansworth in July 2018,  by Ian Bennell

For more summer sports and action, take a look at our snow and water piece on where you can get your piece of both, in the same day:

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

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