High performance boats and high performance skiers stretch skiing to the extreme . . .
Ski Racing is the fastest form of water skiing there is. It really gets your adrenaline going as you race against other skiers that can be right by your side at times. Racing is very much a team event, so if there are a few of you who go out skiing together, it can be the ideal discipline to get involved with and many teams are made up of families.
As well as the skier, there's a driver who tows the skier according to the skier's ability, the water conditions and the way your competitors are going. Then there's the observer who keeps a close eye on the skier, relaying signals to the driver, ensuring the skier is skiing to his/her maximum ability but also ensuring that they don’t take a fall and lose vital time in the race. He's also keeping a close eye on the competition, ensuring the driver is kept up to date with the situation. Nowadays, Racing adopts the 'wrapping' technique, where two handles are held together behind the backside with one hand and a third handle is held at arms length in front, with the second hand. It allows you to race for longer periods without a lot of strain on your back. A special race ski is used and this allows a skier to maintain better control at higher speeds. The race ski cuts through rough water and gives a racer much better control than a regular mono ski would offer.
Races take place on seawater and on inland waters so conditions can vary from a small chop to quite rough conditions. The lengths of races vary too and you can begin at your local racing club by entering short 20 minute races. But even on the national scene, there are categories open for the novice. There are also different categories for varying powered boats, so you'll enter the class that your boat falls into. Some general guidelines are that Formula 1 is generally a high powered twin engined boat or a very large horse powered inboard. This class is for very experienced skiers and drivers. Formula 2 is up to a single 300 hp engine, Formula 3 is up to 150 hp and Club Class is up to a standard 150hp. The maximum length of boat allowed is 21ft. So if you're looking for speed on a ski, then Racing is the way you need to go!