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Water Ski Racing Explained.

Racing is quite simply Boats and skiers racing around a set course, normally there are two races each comprising of a number of laps over a set time. In Weston where the water can be rough, this makes for an exciting spectacle with the top ranked boats reaching speeds in excess of 100 mph!


Each team is comprised of three members - the boat driver, observer and skier. The driver is in charge of the team and the boat, but his observer, facing backwards, is a crucial link in the team as he conveys the skier's instructions to the driver and warns of approaching boats, to help the driver take the "right" line.

Each team needs its own boat so, ski racing can be a very expensive sport with sponsorship nowadays playing an ever more important part and is also crucial to promising newcomers. A Formula 1, twin engine rig can cost upwards of £20,000 At the other end of the scale a 16ft boat with a 90 hp outboard might cost £5,000 - 6,000.


The skier assumes the “wrapped” position which unlike conventional skiing where a single handle is held out in front, two handles are wrapped behind the body and held in position with one hand whilst the other hand holds a third handle in front, this gives the skier more control and enables higher speeds than would normally be achieved.

Because of the speeds involved and the inevitable tumbles that occur, safety and safety equipment are of paramount importance. There are stringent rules for boats, skiers and crew alike because every element is severely tested in an hours racing. Helmets and life jacket are compulsory and wetsuits (or nowadays dry suits) are advisory in our chilly climes. A skier's equipment alone can easily cost £1,000 when harnesses, ski handles, lines and bindings are included, not forgetting at least one ski to boot


Because of the safety concerns the sport requires rescue boats to be in attendance, these boats sit in the centre of the course and will drive on to the racing line and fly an orange flag whenever a skier falls, this will notify any approaching drivers that a skier is in the water and also double up as a protection against the fallen skier being run over! These boats also carry paramedics and floating stretchers should they be needed as well as acting as the start and finish flag bearers.


Racing is run at a network of regional locations throughout England, Wales and Scotland. Competitors count their best five results over the series and there is also a club trophy for the club whose teams amass the largest points tally over the season as a whole