How to Set Up a Water Ski

January 26, 2024

Slalom skiing has been one of the most popular, and challenging, water sports for decades. People all around the world grew to love this thrilling sport. Today, it is one of the most competitive and exciting water sports in the nation.  

From combo skis to slalom skis, to slalom courses and trick skis, the sport has morphed to include more competitions and challenges. However, most of us who enjoy water skiing stick to combo skis or slalom skiing.  

It is the perfect way to start the morning or end the day. A lap around the lake on a slalom ski is a fun and exciting workout. For that reason, we’re going to focus on slalom skiing today. And more specifically, how to set up a slalom ski. 


Step 1: Finding a ski and bindings

The first step, though obvious, is important. It’s important to find a ski that fits you personally. Making sure the ski is perfect for you will make laps around the lake effortless and a continued way to enjoy the water. 

The good news for you is that water ski brands have sizing charts. These charts will help direct you to the correct size ski based on height and weight. Along with sizing charts, it’s important to acknowledge your skill level.  

Water ski brands produce skis that are fit for beginners, intermediate riders, and advanced. Knowing which group you fall into will help lead you in the right direction to the perfect slalom ski.  

As for finding the perfect bindings, it’s much like finding the perfect shoe. You want a boot that is not too loose and not too snug. This will give you the best results while out on the water. Be sure to follow the manufacturer recommendations or WakeHouse recommendations.  


Step 2: Mounting the front boot

Now that you’ve found the perfect ski and bindings for yourself, it’s time to get it set up. Just like a sizing chart, there are specific measurements that water ski brands recommend placing the front boot at. Check out what the manufacturer recommends and measure from the very back of the front boots binding to the back of the ski.  

Based on the recommended distance, you’ll be able to find the perfect spot to mount your binding. Granted, you can adjust this positioning based on personal preference as you get a feel for the ski. 

As you start screwing the bolts in, keep them loose until all the bolts are in their respective hole. This will make setting up easier. After all the bolts are loosely screwed, you can then tighten them.


Step 3: Mounting the back boot

With the front boot mounted on the ski, it’s not time to mount the back boot. This setup is fairly simple as it should be placed directly behind the front ski. Like the front boot, you can adjust this placement with personal preference as you get to know your ski.  

Also like the front boot, you should loosely screw all the bolts in before fully tightening these. Once the rear boot is fully tightened into the ski, you’re ready to get behind the boat. 


step 4: test it out

At this point, your water ski should be fully set up and ready for the water. All that’s left is to test it out. Remember that the recommended measurements are only recommendations, and you can adjust your ski as needed. Adjusting your ski to fit your style will only enhance your time on the water.  

As you continue to enjoy your skiing, it’s important to remember to check your bolts occasionally. With much use, these can loosen up. A good rule of thumb is to check them before jumping in the water for a water ski set. This will ensure nothing is loose while you’re carving in and out of the wake.