Skiing on water
10th August 2009 | Jane Peel
Waterskiing and wakeboarding are becoming increasingly popular. It’s like skiing or snowboarding – except it’s on water.
If you’ve never tried it you’ll probably be surprised how easy it is to learn.
There are clubs all over the UK, most of them on inland lakes. They will be able to teach you, whether you are a complete beginner, someone who’s had a couple of attempts on holiday, or budding slalom skier. You can do it behind a boat, or – at some locations – on a cable tow.
You never know, you might get hooked. I did.
I now ski regularly as a member of Rickmansworth Waterski Club in Hertfordshire, which is easily accessible from the M25 motorway and on London Underground’s Metropolitan line.
You don’t have to be a member. You can ski or board there as a visitor, subject to available slots for £15 for a 10-minute tow. Believe me – 10 minutes at a time is enough!Beginners start off on a bar at the side of the boat. This will give you the feel of being on the water without worrying about getting up on the line. It also means the instructor is close enough to talk you through it.
Once you’ve grasped the basics, you’ll have a go at getting up on the line behind the boat. If you have proper instruction and do what you’re told, you WILL get up.
There are very few failures.
I was once asked whether I got bored just “hanging on going round in circles”. But that’s just the start. Progress can be swift.
As a skier you can move from two skis onto a monoski, and then learn to run the slalom course.
You can take up trick skiing where all sorts of things are possible. Some clubs have a jump ramp. The fearless hurl themselves into the air and back down again, hoping to hit the water with the skis rather than head.Wakeboarders can learn tricks, including somersaults.
It is the most invigorating of activities for a summer’s day. Some of us nutters do it in the winter too, in between trips to the Alps.
And if you want to see how the real pros do it, then have a look at the website for the World Waterski Championships taking place in August in Calgary, Canada.
Britain has been a leading nation in the world of waterskiing for decades. Going into the Worlds we have the defending ladies slalom champion, Nicole Arthur, and a former world slalom champion in Will Asher.
If you want to know more about the sport in the UK or where to find clubs close to you, go to the website of the national federation, British Watersk.