How to Size Water Skis

by Kristen May

Water skiing is a sport that is easy for many beginners to learn, yet also allows experienced riders the freedom to try new tricks. For most people, the correct size of water skis will correspond to your weight. This is because the surface area of the ski needs to be able to support your body mass and keep you above the water. Some other factors that can affect your water-ski size are the speed of the boat and your experience level. More experienced skiers who ride faster will be able to control and stay up on smaller skis.

Adult Slalom Water Skis

Weigh yourself. If a scale is not available, a ballpark guess should be adequate.

Find the skis that correspond to your weight from this list: 80-100 lbs.: 62-64 inches 100-120 lbs.: 63-64 inches 120-140 lbs.: 64-66 inches 140-160 lbs.: 65-66 inches 160-180 lbs.: 67-68 inches 180-200 lbs.: 69-70 inches 200+ lbs.: 69-72 inches

If you know you are tall or short for your weight, go up or down a size to reflect this. For example, if you weigh 165 lbs. but are just a few inches taller than 5 feet, skis that are 65-66 inches long might be a better choice for you.

Adjust your water-ski size for experience and skiing speed. Add an inch or two to your size if you are a beginner or will not be riding faster than 30 mph. Subtract an inch or two from your ski size if you are an expert skier who plans to ride faster than 35 mph.

When purchasing skis, check the manufacturer's size recommendations. Some skis have special construction that changes the weight they can carry, and skis made especially for women might be sized differently as well.

Water Skis for Children

Know the experience level of your rider.

For small children who might be scared of water skiing, special children's water skis are best. These are typically 40 to 50 inches long and have a bar between the skis that will help stabilize the child. Most sets can be used for any child under 80 lbs.

Use 50- to 60-inch skis for kids who are still getting used to water skiing but might want to switch from two skis to just one. Most kids skis in this range are wider than traditional water skis so they can support weight up to 120 lbs.

Experienced children can ride on small adult skis that are around 62 inches, especially if they weigh close to 80 lbs.

Items you will need

  • Scale

Warning

  • No matter the experience level of the skier, always wear a safety-approved life jacket or life vest.