How to Nail the Waterski Slalom Technique | Volcano Watersports

How to Nail the Waterski Slalom Technique

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4 July 2023

The waterski slalom technique isn't something you'll master overnight. Perfecting the technique takes time and practice – and a few falls into the water along the way! Slalom waterskiing is renowned as one of the most technically demanding and challenging forms of the sport.

Having basic waterskiing skills is essential but, even with those skills, mastering the slalom can be a challenge. But that’s what we’re here for!

To speed up the learning process, we've created a guide to help you nail the technique in a fraction of the time.

Step One: Familiarize Yourself With The Equipment

Going from two skis to one isn't as easy as you think. The foot positioning is completely different, making balance and positioning in the water opposite to what you'll be used to. Familiarizing yourself with the feel of one ski in the water without creating pressure to master the technique will ease you into the slalom. If this sounds a little tricky, remember that our professional team at Volcano Watersports will be on hand during your boat rental to help you master these basics!

Step Two: Body Position

One of the top slalom waterskiers, Thomas Degasperi, believes slalom skiing requires rhythm, precision, and accuracy – and it all begins with your body’s position.

Start by bending your knee enough that it goes beyond your feet. Typically, the leading foot will be your dominant foot. Your knee should bend enough until it touches your chest with the rope on the opposite side of the ski. So, if you're right-foot dominant, the ski rope should be on your left side.

Now, slowly bend your other knee into the perfect position, keeping your foot loose and free. That will create drag and stability as you slalom. You should feel rooted, comfortable, and balanced.

Step Three: Slow Deep Water Starts

Take your time to practice deep water starts and feel the difference in the requirement of body position between two skis and one. As the boat slowly pulls you up, keep your shoulders forward and lean back slightly, just enough so the boat doesn't pull you face-first into the water! This stage won't feel too dissimilar to wearing two skis; the difference comes into play as you begin to stand upright.

To find balance, keep the front of the ski centered with the boat and allow it to pull you forward rather than leaning into the pull. Once you're upright, water slalom skiing is all about finding rhythm and balance as you flow through the water.

Step Four: Edging And Carving

Once you can stay upright on one ski, you're ready to advance to focusing on edging and carving – a delicate dance through the water that makes waterskiing the complex, adrenaline-filled sport it is. Edging and carving are essentially steering your way through the water with calculated turns that allow you to glide and skim across the surface rather than crashing down.

It's a technique that will come to you in time as you learn the amount of pressure you need to apply to the inside edge of the ski during turns. Start by practicing shifting your weight from left to right to get a feel for the pressure needed on one ski.

That'll also help you develop your body lean and counter-rotation techniques. Learning to lean away from the boat during turns aids balance and stability. To create additional stability, counter-rotate your upper body slightly in the opposite direction to your turn and watch how you enhance your control and balance.

Step Five: Practice, Practice, Practice!

Practice is essential. Waterskiing, let alone on one ski, has a reputation for being an unforgiving sport that's tricky to master. The basics of waterskiing aren't as tricky to learn if you have professional trainers and high-quality equipment as we do at Volcano Watersports, but there's no denying that transitioning to slalom waterskiing won't be a walk in the park – or a ski in the park, for that matter.

Regular practice of technique is one of the keys to learning new wakesport skills.

Thankfully for you, Lake Arenal has the perfect warm waters for you to fall into! Keep those shoulders facing forward, knees tightly bent, rope down by your hips, and let the boat and rope pull you back up again for another try.

Waterskiing on Lake Arenal is an experience like no other – the lake is ranked one of the top three in Costa Rica for watersports, making it the perfect place to plan your next watersports vacation. Whether you've had a try before or are a complete waterski slalom novice, this guide should provide you with the correct technique to master the sport. Take a trip to the lake and put your knowledge into practice!