Full of confidence, this long time water skier jumped into the chilly waters of a northern Saskatchewan lake. Growing up on the Canadian prairies, I spent many teenage days gliding on water skis behind my parent’s boat. I even managed to ski most summers with family and friends for the next couple of decades. The fact that it had been 15 years since my last water skiing didn’t concern me. I was definitely not too old to water ski!
Accompanying my plunge into the lake were two shiny, well behaved water skis. At least the pair seemed cooperative on dry land. Once touching the water, each of the skis developed diverse opinions on behavior.
As I bobbed about with my life jacket, I struggled to slip a foot into the slippery rubber of the ski boot. Appearing as though I was attempting to drown myself, after an extended session of splashing and flailing, one ski miraculously attached itself to my foot.
Meanwhile the partner ski did a Houdini disappearing act toward the dock. Huffing, puffing and gasping I wrestled with the water skis as if they were eel like lake monsters.
I didn’t recall this part of the process from my earlier years of water skiing. In fact I remembered just slipping into the ski as easy as putting on my shoes. Doubting thoughts of being too old to water ski began fluttering about like hungry prairie mosquitoes at dusk.
“Oh shut up already!” My inner voice shouted to my mental jitters. The skis seemed startled by my determination and remained briefly cooperative sitting ram rod straight in front of me.
I have water skied hundreds of times. My specialty is getting out of the water on one ski. Having given the once mischievous skis a firm talking to, they perched obediently on my feet.
“She pops like a cork!” Observers would often say. I knew getting out of the water on two skis would be no problem no matter what my age!
As my Uncle’s boat pulled forward at the first attempt someone apparently tied 50 bricks to my butt. The only popping were my eyeballs in disbelief as I fell on my brick butt load.
The second attempt I fell forward. The third my water skis filed for divorce and headed east and west simultaneously.
The fourth I catapulted sideways and the fifth, well maybe I just was too old to water ski.
Deciding to take a break, I watched my older brother get up on his second try. Observing him make water skiing look easy I mumbled under my breath, “Self let’s not say we are too old just yet.”
Sibling rivalry never dies.
Back in the water my brother reminded me, “Remember to keep your arms straight.”
The light bulb went off in my head like fireworks. The number one tip I had given dozens of kids when teaching them to ski decades ago.
Here is what happened on the sixth attempt….
Tips for water skiing or ‘How to prevent I’m too old to water ski syndrome.’
Keep your arms straight and let the boat pull you forward.
Keep the tips of the water skis above the water when you start.
Pull your knees up to your chest with the insides of your arms pressing against the outside of your legs. Hold the tow rope straight in front of you. Stay in that ball position until the boat pulls you up then stand up.
Bend your knees at all times. Once out of the water stand up but still keep a slight bend in your knees.
Breathe and try to relax. Oh yes and don’t be too over confident. Good grief.
So when are you too old to water ski? Many people ski well into their sunset years. I suggest doing so more than every 15 years makes the experience easier. Practice really does make perfect.
Many thanks to my Uncle and Aunt for their hospitality and letting this ‘ I-think-I’m-still-a-teenager’ have her water ski come back. Thanks to my videographer sister in law who captured the shenanigans on my iPhone.
Would you try water skiing?