How to Buy a Waterski/Slalom Waterski
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the technical aspects of slalom ski construction. We’ve designed this guide to help point you in the right direction when deciding what ski to buy. Finding the right slalom ski depends on two main components: how fast you ski behind the boat and what your weight range is.
Slalom Ski Speeds
Your ability level largely depends on how fast you ski behind the boat. Beginners will ski at lower speeds because it’s easier to get a feel for the way the ski is going to perform and is the best way to improve your edging technique.
As you progress, you will become more confident with the way you carve on your ski and you will feel yourself wanting to experience the new challenges and thrills that increasing your boat speed will provide. Advanced skiers ski at faster speeds behind the boat to accommodate their cleanest cut behind the boat, as well as utilizing all the performance the ski has to offer.
Beginner – A free skier skis primarily in open waters such as public lakes and rivers. Their ski feature needs include carve-ability and range, as their ski should to cut through the most diverse waters and keep the ride smooth, free & fun. | 24 – 32 mph
Intermediate – A crossover skier skis part time in courses and part time in the open water. This skier aspires to move up to the course arena or often skis at settings where no course is available but loves to make hard turns with big spray. Their ski feature needs include efficiency and versatility. | 28 – 34 mph
Advanced – A course skier skis primarily in the slalom course and in the tournament arena. Their ski feature needs to include tight angle turns and responsive agility to handle maximum speed and load. | 32 – 36 mph
Weight Ranges for Slalom Waterskis
Slalom skis are sized in inches for a recommended weight range. That weight range takes into account different construction aspects of the ski and the generalized ability level of the skier.
Ski size 63-65 | 80 – 135 lbs
Ski size 65-67 | 120 – 185 lbs
Ski size 67-69 | 160 – 210 lbs
Ski size 69-71 | 190 – 225+ lbs
Slalom Ski Design
There is a ton of theory and engineering that goes into building a great slalom ski. Bevel configuration, rocker, sidecut, and concave radius are just some of the technical features that ski brands are constantly trying to perfect.
One of the primary design features that dictates the way a ski carves is the surface area and shape of the bevel. For a beginner skier, you will want to look for a ski that has a wider overall shape with a bigger flat spot on the rail. This allows the skier to float higher in the water for easy acceleration at lower speeds and is more forgiving as you learn the basics of carving across the water.
Ski width and rail tends to get narrower as you move into more aggressive slalom skis. Less surface area on the ski allows for quicker edge-to-edge feel, which is perfect for skiers who are skiing at faster speeds behind the boat and looking for more response from their gear.
Being at One With Your Ski
We want to help you get there, so if you have any questions about finding the right ski to achieve that harmony, give us a call at 503-765-7474.