In this edition of Yachting Gear and Gadgets, we take a look at some of the best water skis for cutting the waves and/or slaloming behind your favorite luxury yacht or tender!
Water-skis are stronger, lighter and faster than ever before. The use of new materials and manufacturing techniques creates a variety of skis designed for the causal weekend yacht charter client, to the seasoned pro.
Choosing the best fit for you depends a lot on where and how you intend to water ski.
Finding the Right Water Ski for Me!
The first, and probably most important question to ask when shopping for a new pair of water skis, is what kind of a skier are you? Do you intend to spend most of your time zipping about a slalom course, or free-skiing on the open water?
Materials and More
The advent of mega-materials such as carbon fiber, has revolutionized boat construction. The same breakthroughs that have made hulls lighter, stronger and more efficient, are going on behind the boat as well. Once only available in fiberglass, much like the yachts behind which they are being towed, water skies are now made from fiberglass, carbon fiber, or a combination of both. Carbon fiber is so much lighter and stronger than traditional fiberglass, that a typical ski of the same size made from carbon fiber, would weigh half as much, and yet be more than twice as strong as its fiberglass counterpart.
Along with being stronger, carbon fiber is more flexible than fiberglass, and allows a ski to snap back to its “acceleration shape” quicker than other materials.
What materials makes up the core of the water ski, also impacts its performance and speed. There are a number of core materials being used, but the most common remain either PVC or polyurethane (PU) foam. PVC tends to be lighter and more “reactive” than PU, and when it’s combined with carbon fiber, it creates the effortless acceleration that you need in short-line water skiing.
Besides what the ski is made of, your size and weight will be “heavy” factors in picking the right type of water ski for you. Without getting into a complicated lesson on the physics of water skiing, basically you need a certain amount of surface area to support your physical size at a certain speed. As a result, depending on the speed at which you are comfortable being pulled, you might need a longer size in a narrower ski or a shorter size in a wider design. Your height, weight and speed also factors into the shape of water ski that is best for your skill level. For example, a taller, heavier skier who is skiing 34 mph needs more support on top of the water than a lighter skier going 36 mph, and thus would benefit from a wider design.
Water Skiing Safety Basics
No matter what type, size, or shape of water ski you purchase, understand that water skiing can be an inherently dangerous activity. It is important to follow some basic safety advice. Most water skiing injuries involve sprains and strains in the legs, but traumatic injury to the face and head, is not uncommon. According to a report published in US Today on water skiing and wake boarding safety, you could reduce your risk of possible injury before heading out onto the water by:
- Learning how to get out of the water and how to use a tow rope safely
- Understanding how to use basic hand signals between yourself and an onboard spotter
- Making sure the boat operator is licensed and experienced with both the boat and the body of water
- Always wearing a USCG approved life jacket
People engaging in water sports should also consider these factors to ensure their safety:
- Water ski and wake board during the day – not at night
- Wake boarders should wear an approved safety helmet
- Never use drugs or alcohol while driving a boat, water skiing or wake boarding
- Let go of the tow rope immediately after a fall
- Do not climb into a boat from the water unless the propeller is stopped
- Quit water skiing or wake boarding at the first sign of lighting or thunder
- Never water ski or wake board in restricted areas
On Demand Yachting Information and More
Getting to know the best gear and gadgets to enhance your yachting experience is only one small way that our On Demand Yachting solution removes all of the hassles of yacht ownership.
As an On Demand client, not only will we always be available to advise you on the equipment you need, we will make sure that every piece of gear, and every system on board is well-maintained and operating at peak performance, before, during and after every voyage!
Operating a motor yacht can be costly. You can reduce your expenses, and avoid costly repairs by keeping her well maintained. On Demand yachting from FYM can help. If you would like to learn more, or if you have any questions or comments about this blog post, do not hesitate to contact our Yacht Management specialists, or call us at (954) 900-9968.