Your Complete Guide to Water Ski Sizing – Height & Weight Chart
Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced skier, the right ski size holds immense importance in your performance. In this guide, you will learn the following aspects for picking the most appropriate ski.
- Technical features of a waterski
- The correct ski size
- Types of skis
- Levels and Types of a water skier
How to Choose the Right Water Ski
Waterskiing is a highly immersive activity for all adventure enthusiasts. However, when choosing the right ski, you are bound to get confused with the varying types.
This waterski sizing guide breaks down each aspect of this watersport and helps pick the correct ski. Keep in mind skiing speed, height, and weight to select the right ski length. Additionally, consider the type of ski and your advancement level when choosing the best option out there!
Ski Anatomy 101
Before getting to its different sizes and types, it is essential to understand the structure of skis. It will help you choose the optimum design.
A waterski may vary in the intensity of a concave base according to your level of expertise.
- Flat spot: It is best for beginners or a wider type ski, allowing the board to sit straight behind the boat.
- Tunnel-concave: It is best for intermediates. It consists of a concave center with flat sides to let the ski sit higher in the water.
- Full concave: Ideally constructed for advanced skiers, this design allows higher turn frequencies, allowing you to hold and lock during the turns.
When you turn a ski, it goes under load and stores energy. A stiffer ski wants to release this energy rapidly, leading to a higher spring level, while a softer ski does so gradually. If you choose the former option, your body must be proficient enough to handle the load. A ski’s stiffness depends on:
- Core: The two most common options for a ski core are PU and PVC. A PU ski is soft, cheap, and easy to control, though it may be a notch heavier. On the contrary, PVC skis are light and stiff, requiring a higher practice level for molding.
- Laminate: A ski has fiberglass and carbon layers, affecting its responsiveness and stiffness. Thus, a ski with higher carbon and fiberglass layers is better for intermediate or upper-level skiers.
The bevel reflects the angle at which the sidewalls meet the base of a ski. A smaller or rounder edge is for rapid turns, while a sharper bevel slows down the bend. You may even find a modern ski with a balanced bevel design for a smooth performance.
A ski fin creates drag for giving you an enhanced grip while turning. Here are the most common types:
- Freeride: It is the most common type that heightens the grip and stability. Thus, proving to be perfect for beginners.
- Comp: It is mostly found on slalom skis; you can adjust this fin forward and backward to suit your ski level.
- Tournament: Designed for pros and course skiers, this fin is fully customizable for flawless performance.
These are shoe-like holdings, made to hug your foot tightly, keeping it on the ski top. Bindings are made from varying materials such as neoprene for a better fitting. These connect you to the ski, allowing you to control its direction by shifting your weight from one side to the other.
You can select the binding size according to the level of control you want over the ski. Advanced skiers usually prefer a custom fit to transfer their weight directly to the ski. Alternatively, you can pick a ski with adjustable bindings that multiple individuals can use.
In order to venture into a fun-filled skiing session, you need the right ski size. Therefore, picking the correct ski size holds maximum significance. You can determine this with your weight, height, and skiing speed.
Before going ahead with further explanation, here is a ski sizing chart. Consider the ski length according to your height, weight, and speed.
Table 1: Water Ski Size Chart
|POUNDS (lbs.)||KILOGRAMS (kg)||INCHES (in.)||CENTIMETERS (cm)||26-29 mph||29-34 mph||34-36 mph|
|SKI LENGTH (in.)|
- 26-29 mph: This is the ideal speed for beginners, allowing superior stability with a wider ski surface—almost 4/10’’ more than course skis.
- 29-34 mph: It is the mid-range for intermediate skiers, sitting higher on the water with some stability. Your ski will range around 2/10’’ wider than course models.
- 34-36 mph: This is the maximum speed even for the most advanced skiers. You will have a narrower, stiffer ski.
Ski Width and Shape
The width of a ski refers to the total area under your feet. You must understand that wider skies are relatively easier and usually preferred by learners with a low boat speed. These are comparatively less tiring and have lower drag than narrow skis. Plus, you can have longer, stable turns with these skis.
If you opt for a hybrid ski, it is broader at the tip, getting narrower near the tail. The added advantage of these skis is that you can enjoy similar ease of start like a wider ski with enhanced performance. Thus, these skis are suitable if you want higher responsiveness.
The narrowest of all will be a tournament ski, allowing professionals to turn quickly with an aggressive response. However, a modern ski will still have a lower drag, decreasing the effort required by you.
Skier Height and Weight
Considering your height and weight is vital while picking the right ski. However, you also need to take your ability into account. Therefore, choosing a size larger than the one corresponding to your weight and height will give you more stability.
The size guidelines given above are for general purposes and may differ from the specific company sizes. Therefore, make sure to cross-check the size with the ski brand that you are purchasing.
Types of Waterskis
Depending upon your skiing level, age, weight, height, and other aspects, you can choose one of the following ski types. These differ in shapes, features, and overall performance.
Junior Trainer Skis
If you want to get a ski for your kids, a junior trainer ski is what you need. It is a pair of shorter skis specially designed for small and lightweight skiers. These skis have a removable bar or cable connected to the towrope for safety and additional support.
An adult sitting on the board holds the other end of this rope. If the young learner falls off, the adult will leave the rope loose to save the kid from being dragged. This extra retainer bar ensures that the two skis stay at the right distance.
Combo skis are suitable for both learners as well as advanced skiers. A combo-ski setup includes a pair of skis, with one of them having dual bindings while the other has a single one. You can easily adjust the binding as it has a universal size—suitable for everyone in the family.
These skis are usually made for learners who can train with a stable, wider surface. Once you have reached the intermediate to advanced level, drop off the single-binding ski and continue with one ski. Course skiers can use only one ski for superior performance.
Also known as shaped skis, these are medium-level options similar to slalom skis. Though it is relatively wider than the slalom ski, a shaped ski is a single board with two bindings. Wide skis are narrower near the bindings making it easier to turn.
These skis are the most suitable for you when you transform into a single ski from a double one. Moreover, they also let you learn slalom techniques at a slow speed. You must pick these skis if you are starting training in deep waters.
These are the highest level of skis used by intermediate to advanced skiers. It is a single ski with two bindings placed one behind the other. A slalom ski has a higher concave base and is relatively narrower near the tail. This style makes for enhanced turning and acceleration rates.
These skis have a beveled edge designed to roll the water over the base. Resultantly, the ski goes down, and the ski rocker placed at the bottom makes the turn. Therefore, a slalom ski is usually more responsive, ideal for seasoned skiers.
Types of Skiers
So far, you are aware of all the aspects of a ski, including its construction, size, and type. Still, it is essential to know your skillfulness and knowledge of this sport for choosing the best water ski. Following is a brief guideline for the different types of skiers.
If you are water skiing for the first time, the best option for you is to choose a pair of double skis. These skis ensure you get higher stability and fall in line with the primary skills without much problem.
Beginner skiers embrace the basic knack of water skiing and are ready to take off the extra retainer. You will still maintain a low speed of around 26-28 mph at this stage, though you may start taking slow turns.
One of the most reliable ski models for skiers at this level is combo skies. These skies offer a larger surface, come in varying sizes, and do not have any particular weight specifications. It is like the first step you take before getting on to a single ski.
It is the point where you move on to a single slalom ski that is relatively more personalized to your needs. These skies will give you more responsiveness and exciting features like boot-like bindings for better control. Here’s when you need to thoroughly consider your weight, height, and boat speed.
Apart from that, you must also bear in mind the skiing frequency—recreation, practice, or skiing every weekend. Though you will pick a slalom ski, make sure it is slightly wider to allow a mid-level boat speed.
Once you have enough knowledge of deepwater skiing starts, you can call yourself an advanced skier. By this time, you will have built a solid skiing technique and are comfortable with shorter ropes and faster boats.
At this level, you must look for a cutting-edge ski with a concave base and narrow tail. This design will help you make smoother curves and have greater control. Slalom skies for advanced skiers usually feature robust, lightweight construction providing high-degree responsiveness.
Course skiers are the most proficient of the lot. If you ski at impressively-high speeds of 34-36 mph with shorter ropes, you may as well consider yourself a master skier! Course skiers have aced the skiing techniques and are absolutely comfortable on the water!
Ski Size Tips
Although you have covered all the essential points for choosing the appropriate water ski size, check these quick tips for additional understanding.
- Though bulkier, longer skis are relatively easier to get on and use at lower speeds
- Shorter skis are quicker and more responsive but difficult to control
- You may pick a larger size if you buy one for your growing kid
- If you purchase one ski for multiple individuals, choose the one that will fit the largest person
- If you practice often, you can choose a ski beyond your current level as you are likely to improve sooner
Choosing the right ski size is mostly about your ability, along with weight and height. Though picking an optimum option requires some attention, it is highly crucial. If you select the wrong ski size, you will not even be able to hone your basic skiing skills.
With the appropriate size, you can control the ski better and have a terrific experience throughout learning and mastering!