introduce waterskiing to your toddler

We love waterskiing and we want our kids to love it too.

Unfortunately the introduction to our sport is not easy and can be very intimidating.

Here are some tips based on my experience teaching 100+ kids for the first time, including my two kids:

Wait until the water is very warm.

Make sure they are very comfortable riding in the boat and watching other skiers (always ride in the boat with a life jacket).

Every time you or someone else finish skiing, with the boat turned off, encourage them to jump in the water and swim with you.

Make sure they are comfortable swimming around the boat and dipping their heads in the water. 

DO NOT start them on two skis, It's very difficult to control them in the water, and our goal is that they will succeed and have a great experience. 

Get the rope at 22" off (16mts). Adjust the length of the handle rope as short as possible. 

Throw the horseshoe far from the boat, jump in the water and encourage your toddler to join you (please both should be wearing an approved life vest).

Have an experienced boat driver tighten the rope.

Let your toddler grab the handle and get his or her feet in the boots.

Make them clear that you are in the water to help them, and that you will be a couple of feet away.

Let them know that if they fall THEY NEED TO LET GO! I have seen kids afraid of swimming in a lake who don't let go off the rope and who end up drinking a lot of lake water. If this happens please get the boat to neutral as soon as possible. 

Hold the horseshoe from behind and help them sink it a little bit.

Let him/her yell "hit it!" and stand up.

The driver should just idle the boat. 

Gradually push the rear of the horseshoe down so they will have an easier start.

The boat driver should make a small circle (200ft approx) so the skier will finish close to where they started and close to you.

Stop the boat and let the kid swim to you and away from the horseshoe. 

Step 1

Let them start on their own.

Step 2

Encourage them to wave at you in the boat. 

This will teach them how to be better balanced and to struggle less against the rope and handle.

Tell them to switch hands and wave with the other hand.

Step 3

Small S turns between the wakes

Speed up to 12 mph approx. 

Step 4

Cross the wakes 4 times. 

Make sure you are at 22off.

They will fall and they should let go.

It's important that they fall and realize that they are ok.

It's one of the few things they can Njoy at that speed without getting hurt. 

Neither a skateboard, a bicycle, roller blades, or another sport will give them the sense of speed and knowing that they will be ok if they fall.

Whats first faster or shorter?


Many slalom skiers want to reach their top speed as soon as possible.

Unfortunately learning to run 18mts / 15 off won’t help you much for short line slalom skiing.

Also, when speed gets faster the wake gets smaller and skiers do not learn how to use their legs and in most of the cases the skiers absorb the wakes. This will make you loose speed, direction and balance. 

The difference in the slalom course between 52 km / 32mph and 58 km / 36 mph is 2 seconds approximately. 

The difference between 18 mts / 15 off and 14 mts / 28 off is 4 meters (13 feet). That is a very big difference. You cannot be struggling with this big difference in rope length coupled with no control at high speeds. So my advice is to take it one at a time: Work first on rope length at lower speeds and when you can control skiing at a certain rope length, start increasing the speed. 

Here are the steps that I show my students which have been proven to work and that will let you progress faster and better:

STEP 1. Run 49 km / 30mph two times in a row, getting earlier to buoy # six than you did to # one.

STEP 2. Run 52 km/ 32mph two times in a row, getting earlier to # six than you did to # one.

STEP 3. Run 49 km / 30 mph at 16mts / 22 off two times in a row, getting earlier to # six than you did to # one.

STEP 4. Run 52 km/ 32mph @ 16mts / 22 off two times in a row, getting earlier to # six than you did to # one.

STEP 5. Run 52 km / 32mph @ 14mts / 28 off two times in a row, getting earlier to # six than you did to # one.

STEP 6. Run55 km / 34 mph @ 14 mts / 28 off two times in a row, getting earlier to # six than you did to # one.

STEP 7. Run 58km / 36 mph @ 14 mts / 28 off two times in a row, getting earlier to # six than you did to # one.

STEP 8. Then learn to run 55 km / 34 mph and 58 km / 36 mph @ 18 mts / 15 off

You are not supposed to shorten the rope or go faster unless you can run a pass two CONSECUTIVE times with gates, getting EARLY and in control to #6.


The reason for doing it this way, is that it’s more important to learn how to run short rope lengths than learning to run faster speeds. And learning to run 18 mts / 15 off doesn’t teach you how to run shorter line lengths.  Shortening the rope at lower speeds is the only thing that can teach you how to run shorter line lengths when you get to your maximum speed.


Follow my advice and you will notice the progress!

handicap slalom system by aqasports

Our sport needs more tournaments that are easy to organize, fast (1 day) and with competition between all the skiers regarding of their gender, age or level.

We design a handicap system to do slalom tournaments. Here are the requirements: 

Each tournament should be in 1 day

Max 25 skiers

Starting at 830am (first skier in the water), organzicers must get there 1 hr before.

Boat with Zero Off max 1/2 gas tank ready before tournament starts. 

2 rounds* 

Award ceremony with podium for 1, 2 and 3 place with awards 

3 judges in the tournament

1 judge in the boat

1 judge dock starting

1 boat driver

1 video camera in the boat

Gates Mandatory (if there is a doubt = NO Gates) 

Dry Erase Board 32" x 45.5” with markers and eraser 

2 pre measure ropes

2 handles

4 radios

Starting order depending on your speed or level (slowest longest to the fastest shortest) 

Speeds depending on your age division based on AWSA 

# of buoys to subtract             level

               7                              .5 @ 9.75 mts / 43off

               6                               2 @ 11.25 mts / 38 off

               5                                3 @ 14 mts / 28 off

               4                             4.5 @ 18 mts @ 55 km / 15off @ 34mph

               3                             3.5 @ 18mts @ 49 km / 15off @ 49 mph

               2                              3.5 @ 18 mts @ 40 km / 15 off @ 24mph

                1                              3.5 @ 18 mts @ 31 km / 15off @ 19mph

How to calculate a Handicap

Skiers running more than 6 a buoy at 10.25 mts they will subtract 7 buoys of their PB in tournament 

Skiers running more than 1.5 @ 11.25 mts and less than .5 @ 9.75 they will subtract 6 buoys of their PB in tournament. 

Skiers running more than 2.5 @ 14 mts and less than 2 @ 11.25 mts will subtract 5 buoys from their PB in tournament.

Skiers running more than 4 @ 18mts @ 55 km/h and less than 3 @ 14 mts will subtract 4 buoys from their PB in tournament

Skiers running more than 3 @ 18mts @ 49 km/h and less than 4.5 @ 18mts @ 55 km/h will subtract 3 buoys from their PB in tournament

Skiers running more than 3 @ 18 @ 40 km/h and less than 3.5 @ 18mts @ 49 km/h will subtract 2 buoys from their PB in tournament

Skiers running more than 3 @ 18 @ 31 and less than 3.5 @ 18 @ 40 km/h will subtract 1 buoys from their PB in tournament


The winner will be the skier who adds more buoys divided in the number of rounds they skied.

If you do NOT have a PROVEN score from the previous year, your score of the first round will be to measure your handicap and will equal 0.

The max you can exceed your handicap is by 6. If you do so, you will have another round with a new handicap based on your new score. 

The minimum you can score is -6

AWSA speeds depending on your age division

Here are the numbers and example of a tournament



Why D3 skis

Results, results, results! 


 #1 Slalom Skier in the World 2015 and 2013 + Record holder with 2.5 @ 43off  Nate Smith.

He has proven to be better than any other skier, dominating our sport for the past 5 years like no one else in history.

His “weapon of choice” is a D3 Quest with a T Factor rubber binding and a Rear Toe Plate.

#1 Trick skier in the world 2015 Adam Pickos won his title riding a D3 Trick ski.

12 Jump World records and 5 world titles for Freddy Kruger on his D3 Jumpers. 

#1 Overall World Champion  2015 Adam Sedlmajer, slalom, tricks and jumps on D3 skis.



Two years ago I bought a 62” Quest for my son Nicolás.

My first impression was of a good looking, quality ski. Once he skied on it, we realized how predictable and stable the ski was. 

It helped my son win several tournaments and do many personal bests. 


After doing the appropriate research I came to the conclusion that the best and safest way to ski is with a rubber binding and a RTP.

Here is a list of the last world slalom champions for the past 20 years. They all won with a single binding, except for Jeff Rogers. 

2015 Nate Smith

2013 Nate Smith

2011 Thomas Degasperi

2009 Will Asher

2007 Thomas Degasperi

2005 Will Asher

2003 Jeff Rogers*

2001 Andy Mapple

1999 Andy Mapple

1997 Andy Mapple

1995 Andy Mapple


I’m not a big fan of hard shell boots. They have too many parts and they are not 100% reliable. I have seen many accidents with hard shells: 

My feeling is that even though they are super comfortable, they are so rigid and sensible that I would compare them to driving a F1 car. Unfortunately to drive a F1 car you need a perfect track and when we water ski it is common to encounter rough conditions. 


A couple of months ago, I ordered a T Factor boot for myself and for my skiers to try.


I consider it the best boot in the market. It has great lateral support, it’s angled forward to help you be more on top of the front foot, it's safe as a Willey's, very easy to get out of it and it’s very comfortable. 

It's the same boot the actual world champion and record holder uses. 

Below a quote Nate Smith talking about his Tfactor Soft Binding and RTP: 

“It allows you to move around on the ski a little more and to put more weight over your front foot. Front binding gives me a lot of support and control of the ski, but I’m still able to be free — moving back to front — without it making a drastic change to the ski.”


My neighbor and ski partner Capt Carl Sputh wanted to buy a new ski. I told him to order a Quest 45 with a T Factor binding and RTP.

He loved it! I was able to use it a couple of times before heading to a ski clinic in Mexico. I was very well impressed with how light and fast the ski was, and at the same time how stable it felt. It gave me the feeling that allowed me to predict each turn. And even in rough water or when I was going late the ski was very forgiving.  


Last week I was a guest coach at Ski Paradise Acapulco, where I had the honor of meeting Elaine and Will Bush.

 Will and Elaine Bush with Greg Bedal at Short Line Lake. 

Will and Elaine Bush with Greg Bedal at Short Line Lake. 

They have been very involved helping our sport grow for the past 30+ years.

Will has driven many world record tournaments and has been involved in the development of cruise control, lakes, boats and skis.

 Short Line Lake designed by Will Bush

Short Line Lake designed by Will Bush

For over a decade they have both been committed to the development of exceptional waterskiing equipment with D3 skis: Will is responsible for ski design and engineering of new products, and Elaine is a project manager. They offered me to be part of the D3 Team, to help them promote the only company dedicated exclusively to three-event water skiing. 

There is a new water ski season about to start.

Come and ski with me in Miami. where you will be able to demo what I consider the best equipment in the market. I will make sure you have either your new equipment or your actual one tuned up to make a difference in your performance.


Hope 2 ski u soon


Arturo Nelson