Best Water Skis
When you think of water skiing, many things may pop into your head such as a crazy trick ski video seen on YouTube, an image of a GoGo's music video…or maybe you’re simply longing to get out there on your own set of skis. No matter what’s on your mind, you probably don’t realize just how many types and styles of water skis there really are out there. Whether you’re looking for a classic combo ski or a pro level trick ski, we’ve provided a helpful water ski buyer’s guide below with detailed information that will help you in your search.
Best Combo Water Skis:
Water skiing can be a fun and challenging water sport for the whole family. Combination water skis are the easiest type of ski to learn on; the skis are typically wider at the tips, giving you much more control. One of two skis is usually set up with a double binding for slalom skiing. Whether you are an amateur or an avid skier, you will want to choose the best set of water skis to suit your abilities and your bottom line. The price of the skis can vary greatly depending on whether they are made of fiberglass, graphite or a composite. The length of the ski will depend on how advanced you are. Beginners will want a longer ski for better control while intermediate and advanced skiers will want a shorter ski that will go faster. The type of rocker, sharpness of the beveled edge and flex (stiffness) of the ski will also have an impact on how fast the ski is and how well it maneuvers. No matter what your skill level, the combo skis on this list were chosen because they are durable, easy to use and comfortable which is the criteria used for this list.
The OBrien Performer Pro w/X9 RTP STD combo water skis are fast and lightweight. They track exceptionally well considering the deep rocker and beveled edges. Ideal for intermediate to advanced skiers, the latest version of the OBrien Performer Pro w/X9 RTP STD combo water skis are great as a combo or for slalom skiing. Read Full Review
Made from fiberglass filled carbon laminate, the Radar The Vapor Lithium Combo Water Skis are extremely lightweight and durable. These skis are easy to use, whether as a combo or slalom. Suitable for any skill level, The Vapor Lithium Combo Water Skis is the perfect pair of combination skis that you can use to quickly advance or learn slalom skiing. Read Full Review
Fast and easy to turn, the 2014 Connelly Eclypse Combination Water Skis are great for any skill level. The Eclypse combination skis offer a smooth, predictable ride and are complete with an adjustable binding. The whole family will be able to use this set of combination water skis. Best of all, these skis are affordably priced and will last through years of wear and tear. Read Full Review
The perfect combo skis for the skier looking to learn slalom skiing, HO Sports 2014 Burner Pro Combo Water Skis are built for performance. These skis are fast to turn and still quick to accelerate from deep water starts. The bindings are one size fits most, so it is possible for the whole family to enjoy this pair of combination water skis. Read Full Review
The Legend Adult Deluxe Combo Water Skis are the best choice if you want a traditional set of combination water skis. To put it simply, the Legend Adult Deluxe Combo Water Skis are legendary. These combination skis are well known for their durability and will last through years of use. The universal bindings are easy to use and adjust for beginning skiers. Read Full Review
Best Slalom Water Skis:
Slalom skiing can be a fun and challenging water sport. Using only one ski with two bindings, slalom skiing is fast, fun and a great form of exercise. When looking for a slalom ski, it sometimes seems as if the possibilities are endless. With so many choices out there, choosing the best slalom water ski can be overwhelming. You can narrow the field by looking for skis that match your skill level and riding style. Beginners will want to look for a wider ski because it is more stable and easier to use. Advanced skiers will want a responsive ski with just the right amount of rocker and flex for your style of skiing. The slalom water skis on this list were chosen because they are durable, fast, lightweight and has comfortable bindings.
Radars Senate Graphite Slalom Water Ski is in a class of its own. The Senate Graphite is a tournament quality slalom ski that is user friendly. Radars Senate Graphite Slalom water ski is more buoyant than its classmates made from other materials. As a result it rides higher in the water, enabling you ride all day long in the comfortable Vector boots. Read Full Review
The updated version of the OBrien Impulse Slalom Water Ski is sleek and stylish with a whole new design. Made from composite graphite and fiberglass, OBrien Impulse Slalom Ski is lightweight and fast. This ski is designed to track well and edge effortlessly, making it an ideal ski for those new to slalom skiing. Read Full Review
Its hard to believe that it is possible to improve upon the comfortable and stable Burner Pro Slalom Ski, but HO Sports achieved that goal with 2013 model. The stylish metallic graphics are the least of the cool changes to the latest version. The new Burner Pro Slalom has greater lateral support and a superior weight to strength ratio, making it a worthy investment. Read Full Review
The Connelly Outlaw Slalom Water Ski is a design that can accommodate any range for skill on the water. A hybrid of a wide and traditional ride, the shaped design of The Outlaw provides a smooth and effortless ride even at speeds up to 32 mph. One day on the water with the Connelly Outlaw Slalom Water Ski and youll understand why shaped slalom skis are increasingly popular. Read Full Review
The Vapor Lithium Slalom Water Ski is a top-quality performance ski for the intermediate to advanced slalom skier. The 2014 Vapor has better flex and balance than its predecessors and maintains the responsiveness that you would expect from a Radar ski. The Vapor Lithium Slalom Water Ski tracks extremely well and floats over wakes with ease. Read Full Review
Best Trick Water Skis:
Whether you are looking to compete or just want to test your skills on the lake, trick skis can be a fun and challenging addition to your weekend fun on the water. Trick skis are short, wide, do not have fins and are used to execute spins, jumps and a whole host of other stunts. Used as a single ski or a pair, trick skis require some level of skill on the water because the lack of fins makes them more difficult to control than other types of skis. It is important to find trick skis that have comfortable bindings that you can count on when you jump a wake. The trick skis on this were chosen because they are durable, lightweight, have a good grip and edge effortlessly.
Whether it is the extra comfortable X-9 STD Bindings that help the rider maintain control or it is the ultra-stable rocker design, there is a lot to like about the OBrien Pro Trac Trick Skis. These trick skis are the perfect pair for the quickly advancing skier to hone their skills. Read Full Review
The Quantum Dynamic Trick Ski is fast, but easily controllable thanks to the aggressive rocker, concave bottom and molded full length grooves. The trick ski is built for aggressive edging and massive air. The Quantum Dynamic Trick Ski is the perfect trick ski if you are looking to quickly advance your skills to the next level. Read Full Review
With a customizable binding positions, extended flat spot and optional machine screw inserts for D3, HO and Wiley front binding plates, its easy to understand why D3s CX Honeycomb Trick Ski is a favorite of professional trick skiers. This years features aside, the unsurpassed stability that the CX Honeycomb Trick Ski offers is worth every penny. Read Full Review
With a customizable binding positions, balanced sweet spot and a new tip and tail taper, its easy to understand why D3s CX Trick Ski is a favorite of the pros. The D3 CX Trick Ski comes in four sizes ranging from 41 inches to 44 based on size and ability. This ski is a great choice for intermediate skiers who want to take their performance to the next level. Read Full Review
With the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any trick ski on the market, the GOODE Nano Trick Skis are rising in popularity. Designed for competition level performance, the rocker gives the GOODE Nano Trick Skis unparalleled speed and maneuverability. This ski has just enough flex to make it one of the fastest turning skis without sacrificing speed. Read Full Review
Water Skis Buyer’s Guide
Finding the right water skis can be challenging. The first step is to determine the type of water skiing you want to do whether it’s cruising the water or executing complicated tricks. Length is the next important factor with the size of the skier being the biggest factor in choosing the length of a water ski. The larger the skier in both height and weight, the longer the ski should be. As a skier advances their skills, they will tend to opt for a short ski that allows for greater agility. Once you know what type of ski and length you’re looking for, familiarize yourself with the product terminology. These features include bindings, bottom beveling, flex, fins and the rocker, each having an impact on the overall level of speed, agility and comfort.
Water Ski Types
Combo Water Skis
Combination water skis are the easiest type of ski to learn on. These options are typically wider at the tips, giving you much more control. These are the most common type of water skis and easiest for beginners to use. A single pair of combination skis can be used by multiple users of various skill levels.
Slalom skiing uses only one ski with two bindings. Slalom skis are typically narrower than combination water skis. Beginners will want to look for a wider ski because it is more stable and easier to use. Advanced skiers will want a responsive ski with just the right amount of rocker and flex for your style of skiing.
Trick Water Skis
Short and wide, trick skies don’t have fins and are used to execute spins, jumps, and a host of other stunts. Trick skis can be used either as a single ski or a pair but are more difficult to control than other ski types. It is possible for beginners to learn how to use trick skis without any other water skiing experience. However, having some experience on combo or slalom skis is helpful considering the technical nature of trick skiing.
The fit of your binding should be tight enough to maintain control, but loose enough to slide onto your foot. The sizing of the bindings will vary and thus each manufacturer will have a sizing chart for each type of binding which they offer. The type of binding you choose is as important as your ski because it contributes to your ability to control the ski on the water and impacts your comfort.
Front wrap bindings are the most versatile because they can be used by multiple skiers and all skill levels. This type of binding has a rear toe plate.
Double wrap bindings are more customized than the front wrap bindings and offer more control, making them the preferred binding of more experienced skiers.
Adjustable bindings are more expensive, but are a great choice if used by multiple skiers of varying levels. While they make the ski feel a little less responsive, adjustable bindings make it easier to get up on the skis than other types of bindings.
The type of material a water ski is made from affects the responsiveness, flexibility and the cost of the ski. Most skis are made from fiberglass, a fiberglass/graphite combination, carbon fiber or wood.
Fiberglass skis are flexible and incredibly durable. While they are heavier than skis made from other materials, they are inexpensive.
Fiberglass/graphite composite skis combine the durability of fiberglass with lightweight graphite to make a highly maneuverable water ski. Slightly more expensive than similar skis made solely from fiberglass, this composite is one of the most common ski construction materials on the market.
Water skis made from carbon fiber are top of the line. Carbon skis are the lightest, thinnest and most agile skis out there. They are also the most expensive, typically found in competition/professional ski models.
While wood skis have a classic look, wood is not as common as it used to be because it is more susceptible to warping. Wood skis require much more care than other types of skis, including preventing sun damage.
Water Ski Length
Each manufacturer will have a chart that recommends ski length based on skier weight. The following weight-to-length ranges can be used as a general guideline:
- Children/young adults weighing less than 90 pounds should have skis 64 inches or shorter.
- Skiers weighing between 90-150 pounds should consider skis 64-66 inches.
- If you are in the 150-200 pound range, your skis are recommended to be 66-69 inches long.
- Skiers weighing more than 200 pounds will want to consider skis 69 inches or longer.
Fins are a common feature found on combo and slalom water skis. Fins add stability and make the ski easier to maneuver. The more forward the fin, the faster the ski will turn. Likewise, the farther back a fin is located, the more stable the ski will fell. Fins are available in a number of sizes and configurations and are usually removable. Advanced skiers will adjust the fin configuration and depth to tweak the performance of the skis.
The rocker of the ski is the vertical curve of the ski from tip to tip and helps determines how the ski maneuvers. The more extreme the rocker, the easier and faster the ski will turn. However, deep rockers can also reduce the speed of the skis.
The sharpness of the beveling on the bottom of a water ski impacts its speed. The sharper the edges of the beveling, the faster the skis will be. Slower skis will have a more rounded edge to the beveling; naturally, skis with rounded beveling are ideal for beginning skiers.
The flex of a ski flex is how stiff the ski is and helps determine how sharply it can turn as well as how fast the ski performs overall. The more flex a ski has, the stiffer it will be and therefore potentially harder to control by the skier. Advanced skiers typically prefer skis with more flex.