Water Skiing

What is Water Skiing?

Water Skiing is a sport in which the athlete is pulled along the surface of the water by rope with their feet attached to skis. The skier leans slightly backward so that when they are pulled they don't fall face-first into the water and are guided on top of the water surface. Water Skiing was invented by Ralph Samuelson in 1922, where he and his brother experimented with the idea for several days before finding the proper technique for water skiing. Samuelson also invented the first water skis during this period. He tried using snow skis when trying to water ski for the first time, but snow skis don't cover enough surface area on the water to work, so he had created his own water skis out of 8 foot long planks and leather straps.

How does Water Skiing work?

Water Skiing competitions include both trick/figure water skiing and jumps. The skier can move up to speeds of 54 km/hr when performing in water skiing competitions. The jumping part of the competition involves the use of a ramp that is 7.3 meters in length and may be up to 1.8 meters high. Judges are used to determine winners during water skiing competitions. For jumping, the judges vote based on distance and style.

USA Water Skiing

USA Water Skiing was founded in 1939 and helps promote and sponsor water skiing, both recreationally and competitively. The association is responsible for granting awards, certifies performance records, and keeps track of competitive statistics. In 1946, the World Water Ski Union was formed as the governing body behind international water skiing. The WWSU keeps track of all world records as well as run all major international water ski competitions.


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