Waterskiing is the O.G. of the watersport world. It’s big fun, high adrenaline, and very accessible for kids and beginners. Like any extreme sport, it takes a bit of getting used to – especially if you’ve got a background in surfing – but even that learning curve is a great experience, especially with the right people.
That’s where we come in – and, of course, the people you bring on board with you.
Waterskiing is like the spark that started it all, so it’s got a special place in any watersport fan’s heart – and, luckily for you, Lake Arenal, Costa Rica is one of the best places to waterski. We’d love to show you the ropes…
WHAT IS WATERSKIING?
At its simplest, waterskiing means being towed along by a rope attached to a boat on one or two skis. These skies look a lot like the kind you wear to hit the snowy slopes – but, instead of wearing thermals and ski suits, you and your party will be wearing swimsuits and life jackets.
Also, ski poles won’t get you very far on water. You’ll be holding onto a handle, and letting the tension in the rope pull you along. The flat undersides of your skis will get you skimming the water’s surface at great speeds.
Waterskiing is a great activity, even if you just do it casually. You can learn tricks, and how to slalom, but even going along in a straight line is a whole lot of fun.
IS WATERSKIING HARD?
As with any watersport, there are challenges to face if you want to get good on your waterskis. The basics aren’t too difficult to learn, especially if you’re got good instructors and good equipment to work with.
The toughest part for most people is getting upright those first few times you go out onto the water. Also, while waterskiing can be done on many different bodies of water – like lakes, rivers, and the ocean – some destinations are a lot better, easier, and more enjoyable to learn on than ever.
As one of the best watersport destinations in the world, Lake Arenal is a great choice – and, if we may say so ourselves, we’re great instructors to pick for your first (or next) session on the water.
FOR FIRST-TIME WATERSKIERS
We’ll walk you through everything you need to know when you arrive at Lake Arenal. Until then, here are some key pointers to get straight in your head…
1.Prepare for a rocky start
Remember how we said that, for most people, the toughest part of waterskiing is getting up for the first time? Well, we meant it.
This tends to be the sticking point, and it really helps if you’re learning with a good instructor – that really can make all the difference.
But, even with the best instructors, all signs point to you flopping into the water like a salmon jumping upstream. Why? Because there’s a lot to think about, and you’ve got to experience how a (seemingly) minor adjustment to your stance or weight distribution impacts the skis – and whether you end up on the water or in the water.
2.Your arms should be relaxed, but straight
First-time skiers tend to assume that, for the most part, watersports are all about putting your upper arm strength to the test, and feeling the burn in those biceps.
It’s true that watersports tend to give your arms a good workout – and that the regulars and pros do tend to get pretty strong, pretty fast – but that doesn’t mean that your arms have to be working overtime just to keep you upright.
Think of it this way: you’re not responsible for the weight pulling on the rope. That’s for the rope (and the boat) to deal with. You’re not trying to heave yourself up out of the water. As the boat starts to move, you just need to focus on holding onto the handle, and letting the rope bring you up to the surface.
3.Surfers – prepare for a smaller surface area
While watersport beginners can take some time to get used to waterskiing, sometimes the people who struggle the most are the surfers. Getting used to the bindings (those boots that keep your feet attached to the skis) can be the first hurdle, since surfers are used to having total freedom of movement and flexibility when they’re on their boards.
Also, the skis have a much smaller surface area than a surfboard, which does mean that you’ll have to change the way you balance and steer. We’re sure you’ll pick it up in no time, but be prepared for a learning curve.
4.Tap into your core
Most watersports require you to tap into your core, draw yourself up from within, and focus on maintaining strong posture and good balance, and waterskiing is no different.
It’s pretty easy to stand up straight when you’re on solid, dry land and, for the most part, we don’t need to put all that much thought into it. But, when you’re on the water, everything changes, but achieving good posture and weight distribution is even more important. It’s the difference between finding your rhythm and experiencing another flop.
Posture comes from the core. Shoulders down, no hunching, soft knees, and straight arms. If you can do that while balancing on a pair of skis, you’re halfway there already.
5.Not doing the splits is harder than you might think
Sometimes, the best way for kids to start off learning to waterski is to tie their skis together, because the speed – and all that water rushing past – can make it feel impossible to stop your legs from spreading.
Obviously, waterskiers don’t need to keep their thighs pinned together the whole time. You can ski with a certain amount of space between your knees but, just as you’ll find with snow skiing, it’s all too easy to look down and find your feet getting further and further apart from one another. You’ve got to keep your mind on your stance, and your leg muscles engaged, or you might start to look more like a cheerleader at half-time.
THE HEALTH AND FITNESS
BENEFITS OF WATERSKIING
There are so many reasons to enjoy waterskiing – and even more when you start to count the all-round boost it gives your mind and body…
It’s great for your quads, hammies, and glutes
The distinctive, slightly squatted position you need to put yourself into when you’re waterskiing is absolutely perfect for strengthening all the hard-working muscles in your thighs and calves.
It requires a lot of strength to maintain that stance, and you’ll no doubt feel a little post-workout ache in your legs the next day, but this will ease-up over time – and, the more you get out there on the water, the stronger you’ll get.
Your metabolism will get a boost
Most exercise is great for kick-starting your metabolism and getting the blood pumping, but there’s nothing quite like an extreme sport – or, if you ask us, an extreme watersport – to get your body going, your blood flowing, and perk up a sluggish metabolism. As one of the best waterski destinations the world has to offer, Lake Arenal sees its fair share of thrills every year.
A session on the water can help you lower stress levels
Spending time on the water is unlike anything else. Whether you want to do nothing but kick back, enjoy a drink, and feel the water gently rocking the boat side-to-side or send your adrenaline skyrocketing as you slalom on a single ski, time spent on the water is, if you ask us, time well spent.
That’s one of the reasons why one of our packages makes for a great corporate event. Hanging out with your peers in a totally new environment – one as beautiful as Lake Arenal – is a great way to change your perspective and forget about the trivial stuff.
It’ll wake up your core and give it a new challenge
If there’s one thing you’ll thank your lucky stars for when you’re out there, figuring things out, it’s your core. Keeping it engaged, and using that inner strength to keep your body in check as the boat gains speed and you start to soar through the water, is fundamental – and, in return, you get to see a big improvement to your core strength over time.
The moment a learner skier starts to engage their core is the moment things start to change – the pieces fall into place – and they can start to really enjoy the feeling.
If you can’t find the answer to your question below, then feel free to drop us an email or WhatsApp. You can find all our details on our contact page.
Is waterskiing harder than wakeboarding?
No, most watersports enthusiasts would agree that wakeboarding is the easier choice of the two – although there will always be some who will disagree!
While it comes down to personal preference, all signs point to the majority of people finding wakeboarding the easier of the two to pick up. The wakeboard has a larger surface area, for one, and boarders don’t have to invest all that strength and energy into keeping their legs the right distance apart, since the board does that for them.
Both sports take some time to figure out but, if you’ve got a good teacher, both can also be a lot of fun, even for total beginners.
What speed do you need to waterski?
Skiers tend to go upwards of 20 mph (a little over 30 km/h). This is quite a lot faster than you would expect to go if you were wakesurfing, for instance. It helps that, for waterskiing, you’re always holding onto a rope attached to the boat, so going faster is possible.
How dangerous is waterskiing?
The risks are pretty low when you’re in good hands, skiing off the back of a good boat, going at a level that is right for you and wearing the right safety gear. Obviously, there’s always going to be some level of risk – common injuries include sprains, cuts, and bumps from falling in the water – but we are always working to minimize those risks.
Our boat, the 2022 Super Air Nautique G23, allows us to configure the waves to suit your level, which takes a lot of the guesswork out of learning.
Where is the best place to try waterskiing in Costa Rica?
Lake Arenal – the biggest lake in Costa Rica – is the ultimate destination for anyone currently researching waterskiing vacations. If you’re a fan of watersport, it’s probably already on your bucket list, so consider this your sign to take the plunge, and come on over.