Here are two easy tricks: For no-hand ride, reach forward and grab tow line with one hand (upper left), lean well forward at waist, tuck tow bar in back of knees with other hand, then lean down slowly to let rope straighten out. Let go of rope when it is straight, then put hands on hips for balance (lower left), keep knees bent to hold tow bar in place. Stand erect, but with no backward lean. Ski salute or one-ski riding (below) is done by putting weight on one ski, raising other ski slightly, being sure to keep tip out of water, then shifting hand on lifted-ski side to middle of tow bar and letting go with other hand. Now lean back and, balancing with free hand, lift unweighted ski to upright position.
ADVANCED TRICKS: SINGLE-SKI SLALOM
Some experts prefer to do slalom on one specially built ski. Single slalom ski (left) is about a foot longer than regular ski, has extra toe binding in back and deep, weighted keel on tail of ski. Also, rear of slalom ski is sometimes narrowed to point for better turning. To ride slalom ski, keep weight mainly on front foot, using back foot for steering. Turns are made with much greater lean than on two skis—up to 45�. After skier has learned to make sharp turns with slalom ski, he should set up slalom course (below) and practice on it. Although slalom course can be run on two skis, the one-ski technique is most efficient.
Slalom course is set with two starting buoys through which both boat and skier pass. From here on, boat stays on 315-yard-long center line while skier veers to right to go around buoy set 12� yards out at the 45-yard point on the center line. Then he crosses center line to try for second buoy set 12� yards out to left of the center line at the 90-yard mark. Buoys are set every 45 yards along center line. In competition, skier runs course both ways at speeds up to 35 miles an hour. Skier is out when he misses a buoy. Since skiers often strike buoys, rubber or balloon buoys, not hazardous metal or wood ones, must be used.
THE SLALOM TURN
Standard slalom rope is 70 feet long, with short tow bars, one for each hand, at the end of five-foot lines tied together at end of tow line. Skier approaches buoy leaning hard against the pull of the rope, sometimes as much as 45� from the vertical. He makes his turn around imaginary buoy (red) which is about a yard nearer skier and a yard farther away from center line than real buoy. Turning on the imaginary buoy allows skier to shave close to backside of real buoy, thus preventing him from overshooting and losing ground needed to make next buoy in sequence. As skier starts turn, he separates his hands until arms are spread-eagled and throws weight onto rear leg to jam tail of ski into water. Pivoting on the tail of ski, he then leans toward buoy (below), and as he passes it he snaps his hands together which has the effect of lengthening tow rope and giving him chance to set his course across center line to next buoy. Sequence for taking opposite buoy is the same, except that arm and leg positions are reversed. As skier heads for center line, he evens weight again on both feet and digs in as hard as possible by leaning away from boat, flexing his knees rapidly as he crosses wake of boat so that he can keep his ski in water. If ski becomes airborne, skier will lose ground and be dragged beyond point where he can reach buoy on far side of wake to swing into his next turn.
To start off, bend over from the waist, putting your head and upper torso under water, with the top of your head pointing almost straight down to the bottom. Backs of the skis should be out of water. Grasp tow bar behind legs just above calf, keeping arms below hips, skis slightly apart and at about a 45�-angle from the vertical. As boat starts to pull, keep weight well forward on toes, leaning away from the boat. Rise naturally, and when skis start to plane, gradually straighten your body and lean forward, away from the boat, about 30� from the vertical.
TURNAROUNDS BACK TO FRONT, FRONT TO BACK
When you've learned to ski backwards you are ready to try turnarounds. Special trick skis must be worn for this (no fin on bottom), and boat speeds must be kept at 16 to 20 mph, no more. Skier first lets go with one hand (above left), leans away from boat, turns up ski edges nearer boat and thus naturally swings into sideways position (above center), turning tow bar over as he swings. Turnaround should be a clean, even, sweeping movement, with no attempt to hold sideways position at any point. As skier turns, he should keep bar fairly close to waist and complete turn by reaching up for tow bar with free hand (above right), still keeping skis edged until he gets into front position (below left). To do front-to-back turnaround, skier pulls up on rope (below left) and then lets go with one hand, swinging naturally into sideways position (below center), keeping tow bar fairly close to waist. As he reaches sideways position, he should swing hard with free hand toward tow bar, which is now behind his back, at the same time turning tow bar over so empty side meets free hand. Both turnarounds should be practiced in the same direction, so that with experience the two phases can be connected and the skier can make complete 360� circle without pause. Although these tricks appear difficult at first, a competent intermediate should be able to handle them with practice.
The most formidable-looking stunt in water skiing is probably the jump; but, like other tricks, it can be surprisingly easy if you follow instructions. Jumping ramp for water skiers has surface 24 feet long set with upper end 5 feet (beginners) to 6 feet (advanced) off the water. Surface is made of narrow strips of well-waxed wood, should be constructed only from detailed plans. Beginner should approach ramp in crouch. Be sure to keep weight even on both feet since ramp surface is extremely slippery. Skier should maintain crouch on ramp (right) and stay in crouch when he leaves ramp. Thus, when he lands he is in good position to take up shock by flexing knees. Boat speed: about 22 mph.
Advanced jumper also approaches ramp in crouch, but as soon as he hits ramp, he snaps into upright position (left), bringing tow bar down—which has the effect of throwing him a much greater distance through the air. After he gets into air, skier lets go tow bar with one hand for balance, leaning upper body slightly forward and keeping skis at slightly upward angle. For advanced jumpers, boat approaches ramp at 28 mph. Boat towing any jumper should pass about 20 feet to either side of ramp to bring skier into ramp at best angle and still keep most direct pull on tow rope. During all phases of jump, boat should maintain steady speed and straight-line course until jumper lands and has recovered. Diagram below shows path of beginning jumper (red dotted line): he approaches ramp on side away from boat, then veers and sets steady course to cross ramp kitty-corner, heading toward the tow boat. This puts less strain on rope and makes for less jerky landing. Advanced skier, on the other hand, follows path right up middle of ramp (red solid line) and jumps straight out, intentionally putting strain on rope to get more distance. In competition, boats are not allowed to exceed 35 mph approaching ramp, but expert skiers use snap-the-whip technique to increase speed as they approach ramp. They come in at ramp from far side of tow boat, swinging in wide arc which brings them to nearest corner of ramp at up to 60 mph. As they shoot up out of the water, they put maximum strain on the tow rope by jumping off the farthest corner of ramp, traveling away from boat Expert jumps sometimes exceed 100 feet.