Lake Norman Boating: Water Skiing for Beginners

Lake Norman water skiiingWater skiing is just one of the many ways people like to have fun on the lake. By combining moderate physical activity with the excitement of the water, it has quickly become a staple of Lake Norman boating.

If you’ve been interested in learning how to water ski but have been too intimidated to try, Westport Marina is here to give you some basic tips to get you started. It may seem hard, but once you perfect a few basic maneuvers, you’ll be standing up and riding those waves in no time.


First things first, always wear a properly fitted lifejacket. Be sure that it fits comfortably, but also securely. You want it to be a little snug so it doesn’t slip off in the water.

You can buy water skiing (tow) rope at any sports department store or in our marina store. It should provide a good, sturdy grip and shouldn’t be frayed.

The water skis need to be comfortable but tight fit on your feet. Adjust them to fit your shoe size so they are snug on your toes and heels.

Of course, you will need a boat. Don’t have one? Check out our ski boat rentals!


Before you jump in the water, you may want to practice your technique on dry land. This could help you reduce wipeouts early on and develop proper form.

Start by putting on your skis and standing on a flat, even surface. Grab the handle of the tow rope with both hands, and have a friend grab that other end. Your partner should provide just enough tension that you feel a slight pull. Bend your knees, keep your arms straight and look forward. Have your friend start pulling on the rope, just enough where you almost start to slide. Meanwhile, place most of your weight on the balls of your feet. Do this enough until you feel comfortable.

In The Water

When you are ready for the water, swim out behind the boat with the engine turned off. Have your skis on, and prepare your body by holding the rope with your arms straight and your knees and ankles bent. (Just like you practiced). The front of your skis should almost look like bobbers in the water. Be sure to keep your head looking forward. This actually plays a big role in your balance.

Once you have your body in the right position, have the boat’s driver begin. You body will naturally start elevating as the boat picks up speed. Stay low, with your knees bent and head looking forward.

After you feel comfortable, you may want to try and ski over the wake. To do so, simply bend your knee to the direction you would like to go.

If you ever feel like you are about to fall, be sure to let go of the handle so you are not pulled by the boat.

Below are some helpful hand signals to help you communicate with the boat’s driver:

Lake Norman Boating Water Ski

 Please water ski at your own risk. 

For more information on our ski boat rentals, call Westport Marina at (704) 483-5172 or email us. We look forward to being your Lake Norman boating headquarters!