Ski Oneida Lake This Summer with our Top Tips for First-Time Water Skiers

Oneida Lake is one of the best places for water sports in Upstate New York. That’s why The Cove at Sylvan Beach includes a pontoon boat with every weeklong cottage rental and has stocked Sylvan Beach Supply Co. with everything you need for fast-paced fun on the lake.  If you’ve always wanted to try water skiing, your summer vacation is the perfect time to give it a shot! Getting up on skis for the first time can be intimidating, but with these tips for first-time water skiers, you’ll be racing along the lake before you know it.

Water Skiing

Water Skiing Starts on Dry Land

It may seem counterintuitive, but the shore is a great place to practice the fundamentals of water skiing. Begin by sitting on the skis with your knees pressed to your chest and your arms extended straight ahead as you hold the tow rope’s handle. As a family member pulls you up, mimicking the motion of the boat in the water, lean back and rise into a seated position – knees bent, head over your hips and back straight. Good seated posture is the stance you should aim for. You can also practice being pulled up from a seated position on a bench.

Water Skiing on Two Skis

While some more experienced water skiers use just one ski, it’s best to start with two. You might also consider binding two skis together with nylon rope for kids just learning to water ski. Connecting the skis helps enhance balance and keeps water skis parallel and in the proper position.

Taking off in shallow water is best for beginners, as you’ll be able to stand more easily and maintain the correct posture. Be cautious of standing up too soon, however, which will cause you to lose balance. Instead, follow the momentum of the boat and only straighten your legs when you feel the water supporting your weight. As you move, your skis should always stay shoulder-width apart in a parallel position with about 6” to 12” rising above the water. To move left or right, shift your body weight in the direction you want to move.

Always look straight ahead and focus on the boat towing you as you ski. It’s important to remain alert and in communication with the boat’s driver to ensure a fun, safe experience. If you feel yourself beginning to fall, simply let go of the rope and signal the driver that you’re ok as soon as you can. To reduce the impact of falling, fall onto your side or back if possible.

Water Skiing Hand Signals

With the sound of the boat’s motor and a considerable distance between the skier and the driver, verbal communication is often impossible. Because of this, it’s important to master the standard water skiing hand signals to keep everyone safe and make communication easy. These include:

  • Thumbs up: The skier wants the boat to accelerate.
  • Thumbs down: The skier wants to reduce speed.
  • Ok sign: Maintain the current speed.
  • Finger waving in the air: Indicates the direction the driver should take.
  • Slashing motion across the neck: The driver should stop as soon as possible.
  • Patting the head: The skier wants to return to the boat.
  • Clasped fist: The skier has fallen, but is not hurt.

Be sure to practice these signals on land, especially when water skiing with kids.

Tips for Towers

The boat’s driver plays a big role in a great day of water skiing. Be sure to accelerate slowly as you begin towing a water skier. Gentle momentum makes standing up easier, keeps the tow rope tight, and prevents sudden jerks that could cause the skier to lose balance.

The right speed for water skiing varies by lake conditions and the skier’s weight, so be sure to maintain good communication with the person you’re towing. Once they give the signal that you’ve hit the right pace, do your best to maintain it until they’re ready to return to the boat.

Water Skiing

Are You Ready to Ski Oneida Lake?

The most important water skiing rule? Have a great time! This is a water sport the whole family can enjoy and a great way to make the most of your lakeside vacation. If you’re ready to plan a summer getaway on Oneida Lake, check out all the on-the-water activities offered at The Cove and book your stay now. To get started, contact us today.