Can A 4 Year Old Jump Rope With Both Feet Water Skiing – The History Of The Sport

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Water Skiing – The History Of The Sport

Water skiing began in 1922 when eighteen-year-old Ralph Samuelson of Minnesota declared that if you could ski on snow you could ski on water. He first tested this theory on Lake Pepin in Lake City, Minnesota, towed by his brother Ben. The two brothers spent several days experimenting before July 2, 1922 when Ralph discovered that leaning back with the tips of the skis in the air leads to successful water skiing. The first skis the brothers used were stick shapes, then they progressed to snow skis before Ralph fashioned the first pair of dedicated water skis from some lumber he bought and shaped. These skis were tied to the feet with leather straps and a long window belt was used as a tow rope.

Ralph continued to experiment and perfect his water skiing techniques and equipment and on July 8, 1925 during a Lake Pepin exhibition he made his first water ski jump using a 4′ x 16′ greased ramp. Ralph Samuelson never patented any of his water skiing equipment; which was first made by Fred Waller in 1925 who patented his Dolphin Akwa-Skees and in 1940 Jack Andresen invented the first trick ski, a shorter finless version of the standard ski.

As a result of Ralph Samuelson’s work and the development of equipment, water skiing soon became an exhibition sport in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The first competition was held in 1939 when the American Water Ski Association was formed and held the National Water Ski Championships at Jones Beach in Long Island, New York. Since then, recreational water skiing has grown tremendously in popularity with recent surveys showing over 11 million water skiers in the United States alone. This is despite the high costs of the equipment, boats, towing vehicles, fuel and fees associated with the sport that tend to make it a pastime for wealthier families.

As the sport progressed more competitions were held and events were divided into three disciplines, slalom, trick and jump. Competitive water skiers compete against their own gender and in their own age group, with some competitive water skiers in their 80s, so it’s never too late to get involved!

Slalom skiing

Originally the slalom course was just a row of buoys in a straight line that the skier had to ski in and out of, but the course has been modified over the years. Today the slalom course is a series of buoys placed in a straight path 8 feet apart and a series of 6 buoys close to the row that make the entry and exit gates. The boat travels down between the buoys at a specified speed and the skier zig-zags behind the boat to get around the buoys. The boat driver also needs to be qualified; it is a challenge to maintain a straight path while keeping within a ½ mile an hour tolerance of the specified speed. The top speed of the competition boat is 36mph which doesn’t sound fast but skiers hit speeds of up to 70mph as they cross the wake between the buoys, and slow to around 20mph as they round the buoys, and they do this 6 times out of 17 seconds, this sudden change in speed gives quite an adrenaline rush!

When a skier successfully completes the course at the boat’s maximum speed, they make it a little more difficult by shortening the length of the rope. Top slalom skiers use a 32′ long rope with buoys placed 35 feet from the center of the boat’s path so the skier has to lean and stretch to make the buoy.

Ski trick game

This originally meant to remove a ski and keep it on the head, but today it’s a little different. Today trick skiers do ‘toe hold’ tricks where they hold the rope by one of their feet using a special harness. They perform step-overs, jumps and flips and are awarded points based on the degree of difficulty. The skier has 20 seconds to do as many tricks as possible and is allowed two trick runs.

So

Going is the most exciting event; originally jump ramp had a surface of wooden rollers! Today the height of the jump ramps varies from 2 ½ to 5 ½ feet and the top speed of the boat is 36mph. The world record jump is more than 200 feet and in the derivative ‘ski flying’ event which has a longer ramp and faster boat speed, the skis approach the 300 foot mark. The freestyle jump event is also exciting to watch with flips, helicopters and various other amazing tricks.

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