How to Buy a Water Ski / Slalom Water Ski

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 2 main components.  How fast you ski behind the boat and what your weight range is. 

Slalom Course Water SkiingSlalom 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 | 24 – 32 mph
Intermediate | 28 – 34 mph
Advanced | 32 – 36 mph

Weight Ranges for Slalom Water Skis

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 – 135lbs
Ski Size 65-67 | 120 – 185lbs
Ski Size 67-69 | 160 – 210lbs
Ski Size 69-71 | 190 – 225+ lbs

Slalom Ski DesignSki Construction

There is a ton of theory and engineering that go 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

The end goal is the same for every level of skier – to reach that perfect moment when you and your ski are in perfect synch as you glide across the water.  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 (800) 832-7547.