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Possible Answers to Reviving the Sport of Water Skiing! / Pro Ski Coach Water Ski Forum
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#1 Tue, Jan 19, 2010 3:40 PM

38orbusted
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#2 Wed, Jan 20, 2010 12:40 AM

Galejan
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Re: Possible Answers to Reviving the Sport of Water Skiing!

We have at our club a waterskischool for kids the first week in their summer holiday, usally around 10 kids.It includes a membership and they are welcome to ski all summer, at the end of summer there is usually 2-3 kids whos still skiing. We have all the equipment they need so its only the gasoline they have to bring, thats our way to keep the sport alive.

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#3 Wed, Jan 20, 2010 5:55 AM

skibrain
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Re: Possible Answers to Reviving the Sport of Water Skiing!

I grew up skiing on a 500 acre lake in ND.  Agree that development is a factor with wave activity. More cabins/homes with groomed beaches = fewer weeds and natural shoreline to disperse rollers. The tubing thing is just laziness. Least path of resistance to water fun. And it is fun for kids. It is social, the learning curve is zero...so hard to compete with that. 

I'll offer a couple ideas:
1.  It doesn't take that much boat. 
Not to get into the whole "how small was your starter boat thread?" but our family ski boat in '68 was a 14' alum. boat with a 20 hp tiller steer outboard. We didn't fish. I learned when age 7 and we skied a lot. I was taught to operate the boat and pull my dad when I was 12.  I don't recall that it had a killer sound system or a wakeboard tower. Maybe a pair of oar locks. A big advance was when I was 13 and we bought this much more powerful boat, a 13'4" Boston Whaler with a 40 hp outboard.  I learned to step-off barefoot behind it the following summer so it was at least that fast.  It had virtually no wake.  It had virtually no wake.  For a 125 lb kid learning to swerve, this thing was about like a Malibu at 28 off and 34 mph. For young skiers it does not take much boat to go waterskiing. And the typical 18-20' family i/0 is about impossible to slalom behind for a small kid.  The typical inboard at lower speed has NOTHING over the little BW for that matter.

2. Be a Mentor
There was an old single guy on our lake named Sam. He seemed like he was always 65 to me, but I suppose he was in his late 50s when I first met him.  He barefooted at least once a week. The guy could really cut. He trick skied. I wanted to be like Sam. And he usually had a young kid that he would teach to ski and drive the boat over a couple of seasons.(Flat-bottom Crestliner with an 85 outboard)  He had the TIME and INVESTED IT in young guys who became skiers.  I got to hang with him some and he taught me what he knew.  He was still barefooting and slaloming into his 70's.

http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL680/2877032/8416268/119204586.jpg

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#4 Wed, Jan 20, 2010 6:14 AM

Jhughes
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Re: Possible Answers to Reviving the Sport of Water Skiing!

The way to get people into the sport is to show it to them. Once I saw someone swerve and put up huge walls of water, the hooks were so deep (at age 8) that I never forgot them. Seeing good slalomers free-ski on lakes as a kid hypnotized me. Didn't ski a course until my 20's but I never forgot that first time I saw it. The more eyes that see slalom, the more hooks will be set. It is a SPECTACULARLY visual sport. 30 foot walls of water shooting up behind a charging boat down the course at high speed. More eyes = more addicts.

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#5 Wed, Jan 20, 2010 7:57 AM

Deke
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Re: Possible Answers to Reviving the Sport of Water Skiing!

Seriously, what do we do with all of the new addicts?  Freeskiing on public water compared to skiing in a course is like going to the driving range compared to playing golf on a course.  The more skiers, anyone who gets bit by the slalom course bug is getting less access to skiable public water.  Slalom growth at this point seems to be coming only from those who acquire private water or who able to gain access to it, which is not exactly mainstream.

I think it is great to teach someone new, to see the look on their face and know exactly what they are experiencing!  But I am not sure if just bringing in new blood is going to solve the growth issue in the long haul.  If the public facilities remain limited  we are just fooling ourselves.

Okeeheelee is a great model.  What's the history and how did that come to happen?

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#6 Wed, Jan 20, 2010 8:03 AM

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Re: Possible Answers to Reviving the Sport of Water Skiing!

Deke wrote:

Seriously, what do we do with all of the new addicts?

As Wade mentioned on my last front page post regarding growing the sport, even one more person per skier (or heck, even one person per club or ski group) would seriously increase our base. It wouldn't take much to nearly double our numbers, and I think we have capacity for that.

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#7 Wed, Jan 20, 2010 8:26 AM

skibrain
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Re: Possible Answers to Reviving the Sport of Water Skiing!

The original post wasn't clear - is this about getting more people slalom skiing in general or skiing buoys?

Last edited by skibrain (Wed, Jan 20, 2010 8:32 AM)

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#8 Wed, Jan 20, 2010 8:55 AM

Deke
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Re: Possible Answers to Reviving the Sport of Water Skiing!

Jhughes wrote:

Deke wrote:

Seriously, what do we do with all of the new addicts?

As Wade mentioned on my last front page post regarding growing the sport, even one more person per skier (or heck, even one person per club or ski group) would seriously increase our base. It wouldn't take much to nearly double our numbers, and I think we have capacity for that.

Joel,
I guess I'm really questioning what we're trying to achieve by growing.  Getting new people into it is great but in the long haul, having places to do the sport is going to be the real bottleneck to growth unless freeskiing in rollers is what we're after.

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#9 Wed, Jan 20, 2010 11:56 AM

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#10 Wed, Jan 20, 2010 12:28 PM

Jhughes
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Re: Possible Answers to Reviving the Sport of Water Skiing!

Deke wrote:

Jhughes wrote:

Deke wrote:

Seriously, what do we do with all of the new addicts?

As Wade mentioned on my last front page post regarding growing the sport, even one more person per skier (or heck, even one person per club or ski group) would seriously increase our base. It wouldn't take much to nearly double our numbers, and I think we have capacity for that.

Joel,
I guess I'm really questioning what we're trying to achieve by growing.  Getting new people into it is great but in the long haul, having places to do the sport is going to be the real bottleneck to growth unless freeskiing in rollers is what we're after.

I know, I wrote specifically about the capacity issue (and the goal issue) on my site tongue

What we're trying to do is at least right the ship. Let the bilge pump catch up with the leak, if you will. Most would agree that the sport is not holding level- it's dying. If it dies completely, manufacturers, pros, and sponsors will all bail completely.

Last edited by Jhughes (Wed, Jan 20, 2010 12:29 PM)

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#11 Wed, Jan 20, 2010 12:35 PM

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Re: Possible Answers to Reviving the Sport of Water Skiing!

I agree with Deke, I think somehow we need to make more "public" sites like okeeheelee.  I am not sure of the setup there, but think it must have been supported on a public/city or govt level.  I think we need more sites that are supported by local govt that support waterskiing, wakeboarding , etc.  Somewhat like public parks for soccer teams?  This would allow for nice water conditions while hopefully increasing interest and involvement in the sport.  The expense of land and water in most areas prevent many private sites from developing and also those that do develop are usually "closed" to the general public .  This does little to get "new blood" into the sport.  I think it would be great if one day we had state funded waterski "parks" that were run by ski pros and coaches.  I think this would bring alot of new people and families into the sport that otherwise may never see a slalom course.  They have this scenario for baseball , basketball, soccer, golf , tennis, etc etc ......why not waterskiing and wakeboarding?  I would be very interested in learning how okeeheelee did develop and maybe hearing from those involved in its development. I would love to get involved in helping this to happen , but have no idea of how to do it?  Who do you need to speak to in govt?  How is okeeheelee setup ?  Is it strictly private or open to the public? Do they have camps,ski clinics, kids day, etc??

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#12 Wed, Jan 20, 2010 12:43 PM

StevenHaines
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Re: Possible Answers to Reviving the Sport of Water Skiing!

I was watching Fuel or Fuse last night, and all that was on there was Snow Boarding, some Wake Boarding, Skate Boarding, BMX trick riding, Moto-Cross. They're doing something right by aligning themselve with the networks. We need to learn from these people and get our Beloved sport on main stream tv. At our lake the wake board club puts on a few tourneys per year. These tourney's are PACKED! They have Reps, (boat mfr, board) Banners, loud music going! It looks like fun! We need to somehow begin to transform our tourney's into more of a fun festival type of experience! Just my opinion.

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#13 Wed, Jan 20, 2010 1:23 PM

skibrain
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Re: Possible Answers to Reviving the Sport of Water Skiing!

David38off.

My kids all slalom ski. (age 24 oldest) I've taught dozens of their friends to ski. Worked as waterfront staff at  a summer camp while in college teaching hundreds of kids to ski.  I get a real kick out of driving the boat and teaching kids to ski.

But when it comes to my own skiing I have to admit I am EXTREMELY picky/protective of my time and conditions. I'll get up at 5:30 skiing between 6:00 and 7:30, to work by 8:00.  We celebrate if we pull onto the lake (public water with a submersible course) and we're the only boat. Or at least one of a few ski boats.  Or we are on a friendly campaign to suggest cooperative boat patterns etc for best water.  I don't typically want to share that time with noobies. Growing the sport is just not top of mind at 6:00 a.m.

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#14 Wed, Jan 20, 2010 2:30 PM

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#15 Wed, Jan 20, 2010 2:40 PM

HO410
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Re: Possible Answers to Reviving the Sport of Water Skiing!

**The first paragraph is not a complete thought yet**

I have a hard time envisioning course skiing breaking gaining anything but cult status. I think that it's going to hang out there with Sky Surfing, Street Luge, and bouldering (thinking original X-Games sports). Believe it or not, there are people out there that are not suited to a 3-event lake. Over the last few years, I've met at handful people that hear "private lake" and go nuts until they find out that it's just a 2,300 ft. ditch. "Oh, so you can't just cruise around on a knee board?" Nope, not really.



As far as watersports go in general, I think we need to draw a line right over to our mountain brethren. Don't take it personally that 7 out of 10 might ahve choose to snowboard, be glad that they want to explore the mountain and the limits of their ability. Encourage them to try skis and be willing to try the snowboard. Worry about the tubers tough. Tubers are like sledders. They just want to take the carpet up and slide down nice and easy. I don't care that they want to do easy, I care that they do not want explore all the mountain has to offer or they don't know how much the mountain has to offer. This is prime ground for one person at a time.

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#16 Wed, Jan 20, 2010 2:50 PM

WadeWilliams
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Re: Possible Answers to Reviving the Sport of Water Skiing!

I rocked out on the tube for like 2 or 3 seasons when I was a kid before getting into the skiing. Once I started skiing though, the tubes never got used again. Those sledders don't stay sledding forever!

We need a clear path, from tubing, kneeboarding, to two skis, to one ski, to a slalom course. We need to get legislators on our side to legalize slalom courses in states that have ambiguous or insufficient laws. We need public education on safe boating, and why waterskiers are some of the safest boaters out there.

Skiers in a course are safer and better to have on any lake than 5 jetskiers jumping eachothers wakes.

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#17 Wed, Jan 20, 2010 3:06 PM

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#18 Wed, Jan 20, 2010 4:08 PM

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Re: Possible Answers to Reviving the Sport of Water Skiing!

38orbust is right we do need more skiers on 2 skis first, but then we need a way for them to transfer over to the SPORT of waterskiing.  I started out at a very late age.  I was 25 yrs old when I first tried to ski.  (on 2 skis BTW).  I was almost 27 yrs old when I first began to ski in the summers at a public lake on 1 ski.  My skiing for the next 6 summers consisted of going out 2 or 3 days a week with a friend or two and our GFs and open-water skiing, kneeboarding , and "wakeskurfing" for an hour or so then sitting out on the lake and relaxing with a cold one.  I didnt own an inboard ski boat until 1993 at the age of 29.  I first saw a ski course around that time, but didnt really commit to trying the course until many yrs later when in 1996 I bought my first Mastercraft and made friends with a guy who introduced me to some technique and how to run the course.  From that point on I was hooked.  I was fortunate that in our area there was a section of the lake that was portioned off for the ski course and most boaters respected the area and tried to keep the wake down etc.  But we still had to pick and choose our times to ski.  I was also fortunate that some of the best skiers in our state skied at this site and watching them ski gave me inspiration.  Without gaining access to this site, I would NEVER have seen or tried a slalom course in my life, nor would I have joined the AWSA.  In 2001 I moved to an area where I had access to a private site and I have been skiing on a private lake ever since.  I can say without a doubt , had I not moved to a private site, I would never have entered what I consider the true SPORT of waterskiing.  It would have remained simply a hobby for me.  I guess this is what I am trying to get at by saying we need more "private" sites with "public" access.  So that people who may never have considered skiing for a sport will have the OPPORTUNITY to see it and do it.  Simply getting more people to ski on public lakes on 2 skis will do nothing to grow the SPORT of waterskiing, if that is all we do.  We need a simple way for the new skiers to make a transition from 2 skis to 1 ski to a slalom course.  I just feel that private sites are more conducive (sp?) to accomplishing that goal.  I also understand that for most people, living at a private site is not possible.  But wouldnt it be great if there was a public park with a nice lake or two where for a small fee you could have glass water, a course, and some coaching if you chose to pay for it?  And I think many people who may just be visiting the park would take notice and maybe want to try it themselves?  Especially younger people!

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#19 Wed, Jan 20, 2010 4:39 PM

Deke
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Re: Possible Answers to Reviving the Sport of Water Skiing!

WadeWilliams wrote:

Skiers in a course are safer and better to have on any lake than 5 jetskiers jumping eachothers wakes.

Bingo!  And, fortunately for my club, the USFS sees it that way too.  The problem for us though is that those jetskiers don't go away!

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#20 Thu, Jan 21, 2010 8:03 AM

Deke
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Re: Possible Answers to Reviving the Sport of Water Skiing!

This link was posted on Schnitz' site

http://www.indianaeconomicdigest.net/ma … D=&S=1

Midwest Okeeheelee?

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