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Est. 1967

Water Skiing
Water Skiing is planing over the surface of the water on broad skilike runners while being towed by a motorboat moving atleast 24 km (15 miles) per hour. The skier holds onto a handle on a rope attached to the rear of the boat and leans slightly backward.

Water skis are made of wood, aluminum, fibreglass, or other materials. General-purpose skis are usually about 1.7 m (5 feet 7 inches) long and about 15 cm (6 inches) wide. Ski sizes increase for heavier skiers. Each ski has a stabilizing fin on the bottom near the heel. Tight-fitting rubber foot bindings stretch in case of a fall, releasing the skier's feet without injury.

For trick or figure waterskiing, skis are shorter than the regular skis and have no fins, permitting the skier to turn around completely during the performance of stunts. In competition, trick water-skiers are requiredto perform on both two skis and the monoski, on flat water and on the wake of a boat. Contestants are allowed to make two 20-second passes in front of the judges, performing as many slides and turns as they can execute in that time.

Waterskiing competitions also include jumps, with the skier towed up a 7.3-metre-long ramp which may be up to 1.8 m high. The judges score both for distance and for style. To obtain the best distance, the skier cuts sharply against the boat's wake and hits the ramp as he swings far out to the side. Using a 1.8-metre-high ramp with a boat speed of 56 km/h, a skier can achieve jumps of up to 48.7 m.

Slalom waterskiing competition is held on a course consisting of a specified number of buoys, between which the skier must negotiate a sinuous path at increasingly higher speeds, up to 55 km/h. For this event many skiers use a single ski tapered in the rear with a large metal fin and bindings for both feet. Others use two skis fitted with larger metal fins to facilitate sharp turning. Slalom skiing requires precise timing, the ability to turn sharply, and skill in crossing the boat's wake.

In barefoot skiing, or barefooting, the skier skims along the surface of the water without skis. Some skiers ski on circular saucers about 1 m in diameter or on shoe skis, which are much shorter than conventional water skis. Ski kite-flying became a popular waterskiing activity in the 1960s, both for recreation and competition. The skier, wearing either one or two skis, is attached to a large lightweight kite by a body harness. In a good wind, the skier is lifted off the water and glides in the air behind the towboat, sometimes at heights of 30 m above the water. When the boat reduces speed, the skier and kite return gently to the water's surface.

Water skis derive from the aquaplane, a wide riding board towed by a motorboat. Aquaplanes were most popular in the United States, France, and Switzerland, the areas in which waterskiing first became popular. Ralph Samuelson, considered the “father” of the sport, was first to water-ski in 1922 at Lake Pepin, Minn., U.S. Fred Waller of Long Island, N.Y., received the first patent (1925) on a design for water skis.

Wakeboard -- a buoyant board (resembling a surfboard) that is used to ride over water while being pulled behind a motorboat.

Like water skiing, which most people are at least familiar with, the wakeboarder is towed behind a boat, or a cable skiing lift at a speed of about 18-24 mph. The main difference is that Instead of skis, the boarder uses a single board (like a snowboard) with bindings. Wakeboards are shorter in length than snowboards and slightly wider. 

The boards, which can float, are typically 120 - 147cm long, depending on the weight of the rider, and up to 45cm wide (shorter and wider than snowboards). Unlike snowboards, whose edges taper in towards the center, the edges of a wakeboard are widest in the middle of the board, with a 15 - 25cm taper. When viewed from the side, a wakeboard has a concave shape; this is known as its "rocker." A board with a continuous rocker has a constant curve to it, and a board with a staged rocker (e.g. "three stage rocker") is made up of two or more straight sections at different angles that approximate a curve. The more rocker in a board, the more spap the board has of the wake,and lands softer.

Wakeboard Sizing Chart

(Weights are MAXIMUM)

Weight in lbs
Board Length
Up to 85lbs 119cm
Up to 105lbs 121cm
Up to 130lbs 130 - 131cm
Up to 160lbs 132 - 133cm
Up to 180lbs 134 - 135cm
Up to 200lbs 136 - 139cm
200lbs & up 140cm and up
Things to note before choosing a board:

Height is NOT a factor

The chart above is a general sizing chart for beggining riders. Skill level, riding style, and board model are major factors to consider for ADVANCED riders.

NEVER choose a more advanced board than your skill level because you wont be able to stay on.

For a family board that will fit Mum, Dad, and older children a 136 is a good length. Unless riders are over 200 lbs or are under 100 lbs.

Is your trailer legal?

Maximum Trailer Dimension

Towing vehicle up to 3500kg GVW
Length (excluding the coupling and drawbar) 7.0 m
Width Maximum 2.3 m
Towing vehicle over 3500kg GVW
Length (excluding the coupling and drawbar) 12 m (min 4 wheels)
Width Maximum 2.55 m
Length of towing vehicle and trailer combined 18 m
Maximum overhang of load from rear of trailer 3.05 m
Type 01: unbraked trailers - max. 750kg gross trailer weight or half the towing vehicle's kerb weight - whichever is less.

Type 02: trailers on overun brakes - max. 3500kg gross trailer weight.

Trailer hitches must be "CE" marked or have the "BS kite mark" on them, they must be 50mm and not the USA imperial equivilent.

Thanet Water User Group

Please be aware, that all Boat owners must register their Boats with Thanet Council 01843 577688 Prior to use around the Coast. There is a charge for this and you will need to obtain a barrier key to access the slipway areas. This can only be done via registration and you must have £2million liability insurance to cover all aspects of the sport you wish to participate in ( i.e. Ringo's, Ski's, wakeboards etc ).

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