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Water ski, as with some other water sports, involves the usage of  certain terms due to its nautical nature. These terms can be confusing to beginners, who might not understand their meanings. Here are some of the fundamental terms and names used in water skiing.


The bevel is the area on the water ski that is between the side and the bottom of the ski. Typically, the rounder the bevel, the deeper the ski will sink in the water, making it harder to control.


The bindings on a water ski is the part that keeps the participant’s feet and the ski together. These bindings are usually rubber, and can be adjusted for a better fit.


The bridle is a part of the rope that connects the handle to the rest of the rope, and is usually in a ‘Y’ shape.


In a competitive water ski tournament, buoys are used as markers that float on the surface of the water, indicating the path that the skier (and boat) has to take. There are typically 25 buoys that a skier will have to pass in every competition.


This refers to shortening of the rope length in a water ski competition.

Deep Water Start

A deep water start refers to a skier who starts the competition while being in water. This is done by holding onto the rope while in deep water and allowing himself to be pulled upright by the forward motion of the boat.

Dock Start

A dock start is the opposite of a deep water start, and refers to a skier who begins the competition by standing on a dock or dry ground. The skier will be pulled into the water by the boat. This method is less common than deep a water start as the skier is more likely to sink in the water if the boat is not fast enough.


Flex refers to the flexibility of the ski. Typically, softer skis helps a water skier perform tighter turns. Stiffer skis are frequently used by beginners as it does not have as much movement in rougher waters, hence making it easier to control.

Jump Water Ski

Jump water skiing is one of three different types of water skiing competitions, and involves the skier going over a ramp, so that a greater height and distance can be covered.


In majority of water ski competitions, at least three people will have to be involved – the skier, the boat driver, and the observer. The role of the observer is to sit behind the boat driver and pass on any signals that the skier might produce, as well as notifying other water skiers if a participant has gone under water.

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