Water Skiing
and Wakeboarding

The practice of these sports takes place in an artificial or natural lake or lagoon with calm waters that has the minimum required dimensions. These are sports in which athletes, attached to a rope and mounted on one/two skis or a board, glide over the water pulled by a boat.

These sports develop balance and power, since legs and arms are used when executing it. In addition, physical strength, technique and reflexes are required, which make them one of the most complete sports.

In the picture, a female skier is sliding and is holding to the motorboat through a rope.

History of this sport

Water skiing was invented in 1922 when Ralph Samuelson used a pair of boards as skis and a clothesline as a rope on Lake Pepin in Lake City, Minnesota.

Samuelson experimented with different positions on the skis. He found that leaning back in the water, with the tips of the skis up and pointed, was the optimal method. His brother Ben dragged him along, reaching a speed of 32 km/h. Samuelson spent 15 years putting on shows and teaching skiing to the people of America.

Water skiing has been part of the Pan American Games sports program since the 1995 Games in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

Men's wakeboarding was added to the waterski program - joining men's and women's slalom, tricks and jumps - for the first time at the Rio de Janeiro 2007 Pan American Games. Women's wakeboarding was added to the program at the 2019 Games in Lima Peru.

The Pan American medal table is led by the US delegation, with 25 golds.

In the picture, a female skier is sliding and is holding to the motorboat through a rope.

How do you compete?

Water skiing has four competition modalities.

the athlete slides on a ski and is dragged by the boat through the entrance gate of the slalom track (formed by two buoys). Then, it must pass around and outside the six buoys that make up the track, to finally exit through the starting gate. Completing a course Is called a pass. The skier's turn ends when he/she misses a buoy or does not pass through a gate. To add difficulty to the race, the boat progressively increases speed until it reaches the maximum speed of the category to which the skier belongs. Once the maximum speed is reached, the rope shortens.

In this mode, the skier slides on a single ski and must perform as many acrobatic tricks as possible during 20 seconds out and 20 seconds back. The athlete cannot repeat a trick.

in this discipline, two skis over 2 m long and 25-30 cm wide are used for aerodynamics and equilibrium in the air. The boat passes through the corridor of buoys that runs to one side of the ramp from which the skier will jump. The goal of the athlete is to achieve the greatest possible jump length.

it is based on the sum of the results of the other three classic disciplines, the slalom, tricks and jump. The fourth discipline means that it is only for really experienced skiers who have mastered all forms of water skiing.

In wakeboarding, the athlete slides over the water on top of a board being dragged by a boat. It is mounted in the same way as a surfboard or a snowboard, and in the same way as the latter, foot bindings are used. The purpose is to perform aerial pirouettes with the help of the wave produced by the boat. The rope is attached to a tower that the boat has, which increases the time in the air for each spin. Also, the rope is shorter than the one used in water skiing.


What are the modalities of water skiing? Select them:

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Information for the community

In the San Bernardo district, about 25 km from the center of Santiago, is Los Morros artificial lake, built especially for water skiing. The place, which functions as a sports school, is run by the brothers Felipe and Rodrigo Miranda, who have won Pan American medals at the Rio 2007, Guadalajara 2011, Toronto 2015 and Lima 2019 Games.

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