Water Skiing Equipment List

Water Skiing Equipment List

Water skiing is a sport that requires a lot of special equipment. The sport is performed on a body of water and usually involves a boat pulling the skier. The most important equipment needed to water ski includes: a pair of skis, binding, a tow rope, and a boat to tow the skier. Other essential equipment may include a life jacket and ski gloves.


The bindings on the shoes of water skis are essential for keeping the rider's feet secured to the skis. It is important that the bindings are supportive and also comfortable for the water skier so that they can remain upright for as long as possible. Bindings can differ depending on the usage of the skis and the level of support. For skis that are going to be used among many people, adjustable bindings are preferred so that they can be altered to fit different foot sizes. Any water ski rentals will likely utilize bindings for this purpose.

Skiers that have a personal pair of skis often prefer custom bindings that are tailored to their foot size and provide more support. In addition, experienced skiers opt for tight bindings that keep their feet secured to the skis and allow for greater control. These customized bindings are more expensive, but are worth it for frequent water skiers.


A boat is necessary for water skiing since there needs to be something towing the skier. For competitions, specific tow boats are used that have short, flat bottoms to decrease the waves that it produces behind it. Compared to regular boats, these boats have higher horsepower engines that are required to allow the boats to travel between 13 mph and 118 mph in competitions. In addition, most competition boats do not have engines at the back to prevent the tow rope from getting caught and endangering the skier.

Outside of competitions, the boats used for water skiing vary. These boats do not need high horsepower engines because they only need to travel around 20-25 mph for adult skiers and 15-20 mph for younger children. Since many non-competition boats may have engines at the rear, it is helpful to have a tow bar on the boat to keep the rider a safe distance from the engine. Be sure that the boat you utilize is safe and being driven by someone with a valid boating license!


Although not necessary, ski gloves can be helpful when water skiing. In competitions, many skiers wear gloves to help them grip the handle of the tow rope. The handle can often become slippery and gloves can help prevent the skier from losing control of the rope and falling into the water. The price of gloves can differ based on brand and quality; some gloves may be as cheap as $15 while others may have a price tag of well over $100.

Life Jacket

A life jacket is very important to the safety of water skiers. Regardless of whether or not the rider can swim, a life jacket should be used to help them float if anything impedes their ability to swim. It is recommended that skiers wear life vests that fit securely to the body and are not likely to fall off when traveling at high speeds. Many water skiers also choose life vests that allow them to move their arms freely when skiing. While there are five different categories of personal flotation devices (PFD), a type III PFD is usually used for water skiing because they are lightweight and remain comfortable for extended periods of time. While cheaper life jackets may only cost around $25, higher quality jackets that are lightweight and more comfortable can cost well over $100. It's always best to invest more money into the safety equipment you utilize in any sport, and water skiing is no different.


Skis are the most important piece of equipment in water skiing. A water skier can choose to use either a pair of skis or a single ski which can be slalom or shaped. With two skis, the rider has one foot bound to each ski while, with a slalom or shaped ski, both feet are on a single ski. Skiers choose which skis to use based on a variety of factors including the type, size, shape and construction. The experience level of the skier also plays an important role in choosing which type of skis to use. Knowing what's right for you will make your water skiing experience much more enjoyable, safer, and suited to your skill level.

A slalom ski is wide near the front of the ski but narrower towards the back. This is useful for experienced skiers who want to be able to slow down quickly and make swift turns. A shaped ski is similar to the slalom ski but has greater width throughout the body.

Shaped skis are ideal for beginners because they are easier to balance on when beginning the ride and are relatively easy to make turns with. Additionally, the increased width of the skis allows for increased stability. Since they are wider, shaped skis are generally shorter than slalom skis.

Combo skis are a pair of skis with two bindings on one ski and one binding on the other. These skis can be used at all experience levels, with beginners able to use both skis while more experienced riders have the ability to use only one ski. There are also youth ski options available that are shorter than regular skis and can have a retainer between the skis to keep them an appropriate distance apart.

Tow Rope

A tow rope is essential for water skiing to keep the skier connected to the tow boat. While skiing, the rider holds onto the handle of the tow rope that is attached to the back of the boat. The ropes are usually around 75 feet long (including the handle) and are made of polyethylene or polypropylene. These materials are used because they allow the rope to float on the surface of the water. The rope should also be flexible enough to handle turning and shifts in speed. Most ropes stretch an additional 2-3% of their standard length. The price of a typical tow rope generally falls between $20 and $30.