BAM! Body and Mind
Physical Activity

Waterskiing Activity Card
waterskiing expert When you think of water skiing, do you think of a lazy afternoon at the lake — a boat pulling a skier behind it? Well, think again! Meet Danyelle Bennet, a 15-year old water skiing sensation from Zachary, Louisiana. Taught by her father at age two, Danyelle competed in her first competition at age five. "I slalomed in my first competition — everyone else was on one ski and I had to use two skis, I felt a little silly, but it was a good experience."

Rookies Rule!

Danyelle has come a long way since her days of two-ski slaloming. She most recently won the Rolex Jr. Masters in Pine Mountain, Georgia. She was among the top five juniors in the World to be invited, and, oh, did we mention she was the youngest? She also traveled to Australia for three weeks to compete.

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Arms Upper and lower legs Heart and lungs Knees and ankles Hips and butt Upper body

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In 1922, Ralph Samuelson became the first person to try water skiing. First he strapped boards from a barrel to the bottom of his feet, and later on he decided to try skis.

The best water skiers can go up to 60 mph!

The men's world record for jumping is 233 feet, which is about as far as kicking a 77-yard field goal in football!

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Gear Up
First you'll need water skis. There are four types: combination pairs, slalom, tick, and jump skis. New skiers should start with combination pairs, since they are wider and easiest to learn on. Make sure your skis have been checked and that they fit properly. You will also need a flexible towrope that has a floating handle.

All water skiers wear life vests (a.k.a. personal floatation devices or PFDs). You should wear a special water skiing life vest that is approved by the Coast Guard. You and your parents should check this out to get the official word on which life vest is right for you.

Finally, since you're outside, you need to guard against the sun. Want more info on gear for staying sun proof?

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Play It Safe

Water skiers need to be good swimmers and always wear a life jacket that fits properly.

Safe water skiing requires three people: the skier, an experienced boat driver, and the spotter to look out for the skier's signals. Since the noise from the boat is so loud, it's important that everyone agrees on and understands the hand signals to use so you can talk without saying a word! Remember, you need to master hand signals before you begin cutting across the water on your skis!

When you're out on the water, be sure you're in a safe area to ski. Don't ski near docks, boats, rocks, or in shallow water. The only place to start is in the water — dock or land starts should be left to the pros.

If you start to lose your balance while skiing, just bend your knees and crouch down so you don't fall. If you do fall — and everyone does — remember to let go of the rope! Then, find your skis and hold one of them up to signal you're okay and to let other boaters know you're in the water.

Before you start, get H2O smart about what to do on and in the water.
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How To Play
Want to walk on water? Try water skiing! Water skiers hold onto a rope and are pulled on their skis behind a boat going fast. They glide across the water with the wind in their faces! It's a great activity that you can do with your family or friends and it can be competitive. Check out these tips and you'll be skiing in no time!

Getting Started. Before you get in the water to ski, make sure you're wearing a life vest that is the right size and is on the right way. Get in the water with your skis. Wet your ski bindings before you put on your skis, and keep the bindings loose enough that the skis will come off if you fall. Bend your knees up towards your chest with your arms straight out in front of you. As the boat pulls the rope toward you, grab the rope handle with both hands and hold it between your knees. You should almost be sitting on the skis. Facing the boat, lift the tips of your skis a bit above the water, keep your skis shoulder width apart, and keep your arms straight. Nod your head to let the boat driver know you are ready to go, and begin straightening your legs as you are pulled out of the water. If you stand too soon you'll fall down, so take it slow and be patient.

Steering. To turn, just lean in the direction you want to go. Move your weight to the edge of the skis on the side you want to turn toward while you keep the skis pointed forward. If you want to turn faster, crouch down while you lean.


Wondering why water skiers don't sink? Skiers weigh the same whether they're stopped or skiing, so the pressure on top of the skis stays the same. As a skier gets pulled faster, the water pushes against the bottom of the skis, balancing out the pressure from the top. The bigger the skis and the faster the boat goes, the easier it is for the skier to stay up on top of the water.
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