You don’t need snow to ski—just add water. Waterskiing provides a full-body workout that is effective and fun regardless of age, says Chip Debus of Palm Beach Water Sports. “You can do it for life if you choose to,” he says. “The water is unbelievably friendly to your body.” Debus has been waterskiing since he was 11 years old and began teaching the sport at Stub Canal Park in West Palm Beach in 1982. A beginner class with Debus lasts about 30 minutes and includes learning the basics on land before graduating to the water. “About 80 percent of people—regardless of their age, sex, size, etc.—get up behind the boat in the first half-hour lesson,” he says. All newbies start on two skis, but Debus also teaches the one-ski slalom method as well as wakeboarding.
We got on the water and tried waterskiing out for ourselves. Below, we highlight our top three tips for beginners:
- Let momentum do its job. You start out in the water. As the boat speeds up, don’t focus on standing up so much as gradually rising as the water propels you up.
- Loosely lock your arms, but definitely not your legs. Once you’re standing, keep a slight bend in the legs and don’t pull too much with your arms as this will cause you to fall forward.
- Keep your focus forward. The second you look down is the second you fall. Pick a spot in the distance to guide your gaze as you stand up and keep your eyes focused there as you glide forward.