Water skiing

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Recreational skiiers typically use two skis — other techniques abound.
 is a similar sport, combining water skiing and surfing
Wakeboarding is a similar sport, combining water skiing and surfing

Water skiing is a sport and recreational activity invented in Lake City, Minnesota in 1922 by Ralph Samuelson and is popular in many countries around the world where appropriate conditions exist - an expanse of water unaffected by wave motion. Rivers, lakes, and sheltered bays are all popular for water skiing.

Standard water skis were originally made of wood but now are usually constructed out of fibreglass-based composites. They are of similar length to downhill snow skis but are somewhat wider. Instead of a rigid binding, they have rubber molded binding, in which the skier's feet are placed. Skiers are pulled along by a rope with a handle fitted at one end and attached to a powerboat at the other.

Recreational skiers usually learn to ski with a ski on each foot, but as they improve usually progress to using a single ski, placing the other foot into another binding behind the main one. Beginners on two skis are usually pulled along at around 25-35 kilometres per hour, whereas more advanced social skiers travel at between 40 and 55 kilometres per hour - once confidence is gained it is actually easier to travel faster than at slower speeds because of the greater lift and stability. Some even go without skis at all in a feat called "barefoot skiing."

Within the confines of being pulled along by the boat, skiers can control their direction by balancing their weight on different sides of their ski. This is used to zip back and forth behind the boat.

A variation of the sport, barefoot skiing, as the name suggests involves water skiing without the aid of skis. Since the feet of the skier serve as the platform to lift the skier out of the water, the boat is required to pull the skier at a dramatically faster speed. Barefoot skiing is done at speeds between 60 and 100 kilometers per hour.

Several new sports have been invented that involve being towed behind a boat. They include wakeboarding and kneeboarding.

Competitive water skiing

There are several forms of competition performed on waterskis. Slalom most resembles recreational water skiing. In it, six buoys are set up, three on each side of a centre line, along which the boat travels. There are two entrance gate and two exit gate buoys. The boat drives through the middle of the buoys, and the skiier must pass to the outside of each buoy, the first being to the right of the centre line. The contest is run in a number of passes, in which first the speed is increased in the steps 43, 46, 49, 52, 55 and finally 58 km/h (the maximum speed at womens contests is 55 km/h). The next phase is to gradually shorten the tow line in fixed decrements (sometimes referred to as "X off", where X is the number of feet taken off the original full tow line length, further details below). At its shortest, the tow line is shorter than the shortest distance from the track center and each buoy! The winner of the contest is the individual who can complete going round the most buoys with the shortest tow line.

In elite tournaments some or all of the speed increment passes may be omitted, in which case the tournament may start at the speed of 52, 55 or 58 km/h for men, and 49, 52 or 55 km/h for women.

Tournament tow lines have loops spliced into the line at given distances from the handle to facilitate quick and correct change of length. The loops may be color coded to help differentiate between them. If the rope is color coded, the following sequence must be used for the respective length: - 18.25m (60 ft) red - 16.0 m orange - 14.25m yellow - 13.0 m green - 12.0 m blue - 11.25m violet or blue/white - 10.75m white - 10.25m pink - 9.75m black - 9.50m red

Trick skiing is performed using one or two very short skis rather than the conventional gear. In it, skiiers try to perform tricks somewhat similar to those of gymnasts while being pulled along by the boat. Trick skiing is judged by the difficulty of the tricks performed and the accuracy of execution. Points are awarded for each successful trick. The winner of the competition is the person who accumulates the largest number of points.

The ski jump is performed on two long skis similar to those a beginner uses (but with no tail fin). Skiers towed behind a boat at fixed speed, manoever to achieve the maximum speed when hitting a ramp floating in the water, launching themselves into the air with the goal of travelling as far as possible before touching the water. Good ski jumpers can travel up to 60 metres. The skier must successfully land and retain control of the ski rope to be awarded the distance.

Ski races simply involve a powerboat race with a skier attached. These events are usually conducted on rivers to make the course more interesting. One such event held at Echuca on the Murray River, Australia is the Southern 80. Skiers and boats typically average 160 km/h over the 80 kilometre course.

See also


pl:Narty wodne pt:Esqui Aqutico sr:Скијање на води


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