Basics of Slalom Water Skiing

For those who are interested in the very basic of slalom water skiing through a slalom course, see the following and video below. To advance your slalom skiing, read the articles and watch the videos compiled in this website.

The articles and videos posted here reflect the opinions of their authors and do not necessarily reflect my opinions.

There are a lot of rules to go along with it, but simply put; a boat travels straight through a set of 26 buoys. The skier is being pulled by a rope attached to the boat and has to enter the course through the first pair of red gate buoys, go to the outside of all 6 red turn buoys and then exit the course through the last pair of red gate buoys. There are predetermined speeds and rope lengths. With each speed and rope length, a credit of 6 buoys is scored. If the skier completes the course without falling or missing any buoys, they receive credit for those 6 buoys, and in addition, they receive credit for all passes that preceded that particular pass that they just completed, even though they did not actually ski them. See chart below. At that point the skier typically will either increase the boat to the next predetermined speed, or if they are already at their maximum allowed speed, they will shorten the rope to the next predetermined length. This is usually done in sequential increments to the next speed or next rope length, but a skier can skip up. This link will take you to The official AWSA rule book. Start with Rule 10.

Skiing through the course is challenging and exciting. It is easier to measure ones progress in a course than skiing on open water, which is typically referred to as “free skiing.” With some skiers, as the rope is shortened, the handle eventually does not even reach the turn buoys, so the skier has to stretch their arm and body out to get the ski to the outside of the turn buoys.

Joining The American Water Ski Association, usawaterski.org, will allow skiers to compete in tournaments to add another exciting element of fun to this sport. I also suggest getting more involved by becoming an official. It is fun being part of the machine that makes tournaments happen. Contact me for more information.


This is how slalom is scored.

First pass.mov