What Is The Best Age To Start Water Skiing?

What Is the Best Age to Start Water Skiing

Water skiing, similar to wakeboarding, involves hanging on to a rope attached to the end of a boat and letting it pull you on two skis as you glide across the water. Whereas wakeboarding implies riding with both legs on a single board, water skiers have skis attached to both their feet, using them to glide on the water’s surface. Water skiing is great fun for everyone. It gets kids out into the sun. However, it can be a little intense. Read on to find out when it is best to get your child started water skiing.

Defining Goals

Before you let your child get their feet wet, ensure they have a vision of what they wish to get out of water skiing. Wanting to get outside and have fun is different than wanting to make it to the big leagues. By helping your child set specific goals and construct their vision, you can help them succeed in whatever they wish to accomplish.

Ages 3-5

Most people choose to avoid letting their toddlers water ski at this age. Water skiing is an intense sport. Skiers can reach up to 36 mph when gliding across the lake’s surface. Crashing at these speeds hurts. In addition, many kids at these young ages are unable to stand up on the water. Although the boat helps pull skiers forward, they need strength, balance, and focus to stand up.

Taking your children out on boating trips is an excellent way to prepare them for the time when they can solo ski. Bring them to the lake. Let them ride in a tube as it gets pulled by the boat. By providing them with experiences like these, your toddlers will develop a love for the lake that could translate into skiing.

Ages 6-11

It is best to teach kids how to water ski around 6-11. Doing so gives them many years to practice. Younger children should start skiing with smaller skis, so they do not have to lug around skis as big as themselves as they glide. First, show them how to let the boat pull them up. Have them get into the water and remain in a crouched position. Then, as the boat pulls them, help them learn to straighten their legs and stand up.

Next, teach them how to balance on the two skis as they glide. It is easier to balance on skis than on wakeboards because water skiing involves standing on two boards. Younger children may find the process of water skiing difficult. Remind them that it is okay. Sometimes they will need to grow up a little until they can solo ski. No matter their situation, however, always ensure they wear a life vest.

Ages 12 and Up

Teenagers and young adults should be able to start water skiing anytime. Teach them the basics and have them practice standing up as the boat pulls them. Remind them that learning a new skill is difficult, and they probably will not get it on their first try.

For amateur water skiers, it is best to drive the boat at 30 mph. The pros ski at speeds up to 36 mph. Although your children can probably swim, it is necessary that they wear a life vest anytime they get pulled by a boat (this is the law most of the time).

For Future College Athletes

Just about anybody can get into collegiate water skiing programs. Plenty of colleges have water ski teams; if they do not, your child can start the team. Collegiate water skiing teams do not usually require new members to be at a certain skill level. Therefore, your child can join the water skiing team without any experience. However, it would be best for them to know the basics and have a general idea about water skiing and lake etiquette.

Visit the National Collegiate Water Ski Association’s site for more information about collegiate water skiing. They have information about water skiing teams, tournaments, equipment, and news.

For Future Professional Athletes

There are plenty of collegiate and professional championships and tournaments for more serious skiers. If becoming a pro is what your child wants, it will take dedication and determination. Water skiing is hard. It hurts to fall on the water going 36 mph.

Start future professional water skiers as soon as possible. Give them as much experience with the sport as they can get. Doing so will give them a leg over the competition. If your child is a little older, check out Team USA’s Water Ski and Wake Sports webpage. On their site, you can find tournaments, scores, records, rankings, and more.

You can help younger children get started by searching for water skiing coaches near me. Additionally, you can search for clubs or teams. Get them appropriately sized skis and a boat (yours or someone else’s), and let them start practicing.

Safety Concerns

Water skiing is not easy. It involves getting pulled at 30-36 mph by a boat. Concussions and whiplash are serious concerns. Always ensure your child wears a life jacket. Remember to hold up your orange flag whenever your child gets into the water to notify other boats that you have swimmers. Make sure your child stays hydrated, nourished, and wears sunscreen. Also, be mindful of your surroundings and the weather. Do not let your child ski during a storm or when there are rocks or other dangerous objects present.


How do I get my kid started with water skiing?

First, get them some skis and find a boat, whether yours or a friend’s. Then, teach them the basics. If you do not know how to ski, check out our other Rookie Road water skiing articles.

How old should my child be to go water skiing?

Most people start their children after the age of 5 or 6. However, you know your child best. Start them when they are most comfortable. If they know how to swim and have the strength to stand up on their skis, they could start even younger than 5.

Can I teach my child water skiing?

Yes, you can teach your child to water ski. Most people that know how to water ski are able to help out beginning skiers one way or another. Additionally, there are plenty of articles and videos on the internet to help you.

How do I pick a water skiing coach for my child?

Search water skiing coaches, clubs, or teams near me. Check out the National Collegiate Water Ski Association’s site for near college-age children to get them hooked up with teams or a coach.