Water Ski
and Wakeboard

Water Ski and Wakeboard are sports that can be practiced in a lake, artificial or natural lagoons with calm waters that have the minimum specific measurements.

While practicing them, balance and power are developed, since the arms and legs are being used in their practice, also requiring: physical strength, technique and reflexes that make them one of the most complete sports. Athletes that practice them are holding on a rope, and riding one or two skis, or a board, and slide over water, pulled by a speedboat.

In the picture, a female skier is sliding and is holding to the motorboat through a rope.

History of this sport

Water skiing was invented in 1922 when Ralph Samuelson used a pair of boards as skis and a clothesline as a rope on Lake Pepin in Lake City, Minnesota.

Samuelson experimented with different positions on the skis. He found that leaning back in the water, with the tips of the skis up and pointed, was the optimal method. His brother Ben dragged him along, reaching a speed of 32 km/h. Samuelson spent 15 years putting on shows and teaching skiing to the people of America.

Water skiing has been part of the Pan American Games sports program since the 1995 Games in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

Men's wakeboarding was added to the waterski program - joining men's and women's slalom, tricks and jumps - for the first time at the Rio de Janeiro 2007 Pan American Games. Women's wakeboarding was added to the program at the 2019 Games in Lima Peru.

The Pan American medal table is led by the US delegation, with 25 golds.

In the picture, a female skier is sliding and is holding to the motorboat through a rope.

How do you compete?

Water skiing has four competition modalities.

The athlete slides on a ski and is pulled by the boat through the entrance gate formed by two buoys. Then, he must pass around the outside of the six buoys that form the track, to finally exit through the exit gate, constituting a pass.
The boat slides at a speed of 58 km per hour for men and 55 km per hour for women.
The rope is shortened each time the athlete passes the 6 buoys. The athlete who passes the most buoys with the shortest rope between boat and skier wins the race.

In this mode, the skier slides on a single ski and must perform as many acrobatic tricks as possible during 20 seconds out and 20 seconds back. The athlete cannot repeat a trick.

in this discipline, two skis over 2 m long and 25-30 cm wide are used for aerodynamics and equilibrium in the air. The boat passes through the corridor of buoys that runs to one side of the ramp from which the skier will jump. The goal of the athlete is to achieve the greatest possible jump length.

it is based on the sum of the results of the other three classic disciplines, the slalom, tricks and jump. The fourth discipline means that it is only for really experienced skiers who have mastered all forms of water skiing.

In wakeboarding, the athlete slides over the water on top of a board being dragged by a boat. It is mounted in the same way as a surfboard or a snowboard, and in the same way as the latter, foot bindings are used. The purpose is to perform aerial pirouettes with the help of the wave produced by the boat. The rope is attached to a tower that the boat has, which increases the time in the air for each spin. Also, the rope is shorter than the one used in water skiing.


What are the modalities of water skiing? Select them:

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Information for the community

In the San Bernardo district, about 25 km from the center of Santiago, is Los Morros artificial lake, built especially for water skiing. The place, which functions as a sports school, is run by the brothers Felipe and Rodrigo Miranda, who have won Pan American medals at the Rio 2007, Guadalajara 2011, Toronto 2015 and Lima 2019 Games.

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