How to Nail the Water Ski Slalom Technique

If you’ve tried water skiing on two skis and are already proficient, you might be wondering what else you can do. Slalom skiing is a great way to try something new out on the water. It’s a little harder to learn than regular skiing, but it’s a fun challenge.

What Is Slalom Water Skiing?

Slalom skiing is when you only use one ski. The ski is known as the slalom, and it has two bindings so you can put one foot in front and one in the back.

Slalom water skiing is one of the most popular and common ski competition categories. A competition involves the use of multiple buoys on a course. Every time you complete the course, the towboat increases its speed. These speeds can be as high as 55-58 kilometers per hour (34-36 miles per hour).

How to Slalom Water Ski

These are the four steps to mastering slalom water skiing.

1. Learn to Start on One Ski

The first step is learning the slalom water ski position. Start by bending your knee over the foot in the front binding. This is usually your dominant foot. Keep bending until your knee touches your chest. The rope should be on the opposite side of the ski from your dominant foot. For example, the rope will be on the left side of the ski if your right foot is in front. Next, bend your other knee, but keep your foot free to drag for stability. When the boat moves forward, hold your shoulders facing forward and lean back slightly. Keep the front of the ski centered on the boat, and let its momentum pull you upright.

2. Don’t Give Up

It will likely take a few tries and few falls. Keep your chest facing forward and your shoulders straight. Hold the ski rope down by your hips. Remember to lean back enough that you won’t get pulled over the front of the ski. If you stand up too soon, the rope will get yanked from your hands.

3. Develop a Slalom Foundation

Once you’re comfortable going straight and standing upright, start trying other simple things. You can lean gently toward one side to cross the wake, then try to return to the center by using the boat speed as leverage. To turn, turn the tip of your ski into the wake and pull slowly pull to bring the handle toward your hips. Next, you can try getting outside the wake to coast.

4. Practice, Practice and Practice

As with any sport, practice is key. You can try several slalom drills to get better. Keep trying until you can cross the wake on both sides of the boat as if zigzagging through buoys. Learn to keep a smooth rhythm, and try going at different speeds.

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