Water Skis

The Best Water Skis for Beginners in 2021 [Review and Buying Guide]

Updated Oct 22, 2021O'Brien Vortex Widebody Combo Water Skis

Water skiing can have an exhilarating but rocky learning curve. Finding the best water skis for the beginning rider is a top priority when it comes to purchasing gear. One of the most frequent mishaps that occur with the beginning water skier is that they are unable to get out of the water. Because of this, we have looked for water skis that boast an easy ride, especially for beginners.

Best Water Skis for Beginners 2021 – Review factors considered

Price

The price range for water skis is a little bit higher than your average skateboard, but spending a moderate amount of money will ensure that one has a quality product that will not fail even with repeated use in the water. One can spend upwards of $500 on water skis, but the ones chosen for this selection are a little more economically priced.

Shape

The shape of a water ski almost directly correlates to the amount of buoyancy it will give its rider especially for the beginning water-skier buoyancy is key to having a good time. Some Skis are very wide and also attached with a bar for added stability. The wider the ski the more flotation it will offer however also the more drag it will offer so riders who are progressively getting better might choose slimmer skis or skis that have a more defined and less buoyant design.

Features

One thing that water skis usually include is bindings. The water skis for this review are sets that include bindings that are adjustable for multiple sizes and ages. Certain skis have support beams that can be attached to each ski to keep the rider’s tip and tail of the skis together and prevent a wipe-out. Make sure to look for this option when at the checkout online or usually it will be advertised on its own just due to its popularity among beginning riders.

Construction & Materials

Water skis for beginners and pros alike are usually constructed from very buoyant woven resin layers that create stiffness and durability for and ease of ride and longevity.

Decision

For our decision in this review, we wanted to a couple of different criteria one of which being ease-of-use and overall positive buoyancy for the beginning water skier. Realizing that the beginning water-skier may not want to spend so much money we’ve also taken price into account when deciding.

The Best Water Skis for Beginners

The Best Water Skis for Beginners

 

1. O’Brien Vortex Combo Water Skis

O'Brien Vortex Widebody Combo Water Skis

The first pick on this list of the best beginning water skis is the O’Brien Vortex Widebody Combo Water Skis. This is the perfect setup for beginners just because of the durability of the skis the number of reviews it has that are positive and also the wide body for stability that allows skiing with much slower boat speed.

Measuring at 65.5 inches this pair of skis can fit a wide range of riders and also includes a plastic fin that adds another level of stability for those who might be just beginning on the water.

With the price of these awesome skis, the quality, and the positive reviews they have received, we decided that this would be an awesome first pick for teens, beginners, and even seasoned veterans.

>>> See Specifications & Read Customer Reviews on Amazon! <<<

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2. O’Brien Jr Vortex Widebody

O'Brien Jr Vortex Widebody Water Skis

These are a runner-up on the list because of an awesome feature that beginners will appreciate! These O’Brien Jr Vortex Widebody Combo Water Skis for right around two hundred bucks is a killer deal that will make the first-time water skiing a blast. The feature included that makes it easier to learn the basics is the stabilizer bar that connects the skis. This way, when the boat starts going forward all you have to do is rock back and the skis will stay together giving you the feel of what it’s like to waterski, kind of like training wheels for a bicycle.

These skis are designed to support up to 140 lbs of weight and are entirely ready out of the box. One interesting fact that sealed the deal is that it fits US size Kids 2 to Men’s.

Also, the price is pretty manageable for skis that will last a long time over many outings. When it comes to water skis there isn’t a better option catered for beginning users.

>>> See Specifications & Read Customer Reviews on Amazon! <<<

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3. Rave Pure Adult Water Ski Combos

RAVE Sports Pure Combo Water Skis

At about $170 the Rave Pure Adult Water Ski Combos is a perfect water ski for a beginner who has maybe waterskied before and is looking for a slight upgrade in the quality of the construction and ride. The ability for these water skis to be used by even veteran riders and professionals for that matter makes them a perfect choice for families with different aged riders.

Designed with a center ridge and deeper edge channels, the Pure offers super stability during deep water starts, and control and responsiveness while cutting over wakes and through waves.

Also Measuring in at 67 inches this pair of skis can fit a wider range of riders and also includes a plastic fin that adds another level of stability for those who might not be as confident on the water yet. The Rave Pure Adult Water Ski Combos also have a rear toe piece on one of the skis for the rider to place their foot on.

Overall as far as skis for beginners go, this is only the third on the list because of the price and also the fact that there are simply skis that are better suited for solely a beginner, overall it is a good pair of skis that will last.

>>> See Specifications & Read Customer Reviews on Amazon! <<<

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4. AIRHEAD AHST-150 Trainer Water Skis

AIRHEAD AHST-150 Trainer Water Skis

AIRHEAD AHST-150 Trainer Water Skis

 

The AIRHEAD AHST-150 Trainer Water Skis are an excellent option for learning to water ski. Classic water skis made of wood to last many years of fun. To offer stability and keep the skis straight, these wooden trainer skis have a crossbar at the tips and tail ties at the back.

A rope linked to the crossbar provides something for the beginner skier to grip onto. For enhanced stability, they have fiberglass-reinforced nylon rudders.

The slide bindings are adjustable to fit children’s sizes 12 and adults’ sizes 5.  Designed for skiers under 100 lbs.

  • Bottom Shape: V-bottom
  • Construction Material: Wood
  • Removable Fins: No

>>> See Specifications & Read Customer Reviews on Amazon! <<<

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5. Connelly Supersport Combo Waterskis

Connelly Supersport Combo Waterskis

At about $170 the Connelly Supersport Combo is a perfect water ski for a smaller lighter skier to gain confidence and enjoy the ride more on properly sized gear. For beginners who can use the included front stabilizer bar that keeps skis in line and the proper distance apart. Once you learn the basics you can remove the bar to utilize the full performance of the skis. The Connelly SuperSport features this shaped ski concept with a wide tip and tail for easier deep water starts.

Top on the list of notable highlights is the wider half front that allows riders to pop out of the water without using a lot of strain and effort on deepwater starts.

Each ski is 55 inches long. It is ideal for skiers with a weight up to 135 lbs. and foot size US 4 to 9 with Junior slide-type adjustable bindings.

>>> See Specifications & Read Customer Reviews on Amazon! <<<

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6. Rave Sports Rhyme Combo

Rave Sports Rhyme Combo Water Skis

The Rave Sports Rhyme Combo Water Skis is an excellent water ski for first-time riders and older or heavier beginners. They have a wider body shape designed for easier deep-water starts and effortless large curving turns. Extra surface area means less drag and more lift, which also helps bigger skiers get up on a plane with less effort.

Perfect for beginner skiers, the Rhyme Combo Water Skis feature a slalom toe hold on one ski so skiers can get up on the water and drop a ski to slalom. The bindings are adjustable for a perfect fit for most adults and are comfortable and secure. At 65″ long (167 cm), the Rhyme Combo skis are the best all-around water ski you will find!

These skis are not for expert slalom skiers but an excellent option for mid/late teens and adults who want to pop out of the water easily and enjoy endless hours of fun waterskiing. The width of the skis with a wider head helps a lot for balance.

>>> See Specifications & Read Customer Reviews on Amazon! <<<

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7. Best Water Skis for Kids – O’Brien Jr Vortex Kids Combo Water Skis

 

O'Brien Jr Vortex Kids Combo Water Skis

O’Brien Jr Vortex Kids Combo Water Skis

Especially for the younger kids the best water skis is O’Brien Jr Vortex Kids Combo Water Skis. With 54 inches (137 cm) length, durable plastic fins, and the included stabilizer bar it makes it pretty easy to get up and ride easily. They have an increased surface area on the front made for easier starts, reduced drag, and smooth rides.

As odd as it may sound, the Jr. Vortex Combos are the compact version of the “Big Daddy” adult Vortex combos. These wide forebody skis increase the overall surface area for easier starts and a relaxed ride while utilizing their compact size to enhance maneuverability. They are the perfect combos for anyone who needs a little more help getting out of the water or those who enjoy cruising at lower speeds.

These skis are perfect for getting pre-teen to early teenage skiers up and out of the water and skiing like pros!

Ski Length54″ (137cm)
Recommended for upUp to 140 lbs
Binding TypeJr. X-7 Bindings – Pinch-slide
Stabilizer Bar

>>> See Specifications & Read Customer Reviews on Amazon! <<<

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8. O’Brien Celebrity Combo Water Skis

O'Brien Celebrity Combo Water Skis

O’Brien Celebrity Combo Water Skis

These skis could not be missing from the best water skis for beginners. This is a great all-around ski for the whole family, made of durable composite construction and a padded rear toe plate. Enhanced with performance side cut for better turning and include Jr. X-7 adjustable binding designed to fit US Men 4.5-13.

The O’Brien Celebrity 64’s offer all of the fantastic characteristics of the best-selling 68″ Celebrities in a smaller, more manageable size for smaller size skiers. They are just 4″ shorter and somewhat slimmer than the 68″ Celebrities, making them the ideal pair of combinations for lightweight skiers looking for enhanced maneuverability while maintaining the ease-of-use that the Celebrities have long been known for.

>>> See Specifications & Read Customer Reviews on Amazon! <<<

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Water Skis Buying Guide 2021: Things to Consider Before Buying

Features of Water Skis

Water skis used to be about as simple as you could get. Back in the early 1920s, water ski construction consisted of two curved boards of wood (mahogany, probably) with leather straps for the feet.

Water skis today are constructed of innovative materials including fiberglass, carbon fiber, and graphite. They also have vibrant artwork, high-tech construction, and extremely strong bindings.

They can also provide additional hydrodynamics and improved performance. Let’s take a closer look at some of their modern features.

 

The shape of a Water Ski Bottom

Today’s water skis are available with a V-Bottom, Full Concave, or Tunnel Concave bottom, as opposed to the flat bottom of the early skis.

V-Bottom — As the name implies, a V-bottom water ski features a center rib that runs from front to back along the bottom. This permits the ski to glide straight and smooth, much like a sailboat’s rudder. Wide-body and novice skis both have V-bottoms.

Full Concave – Water skis with a full concave base have a concave base from edge to edge. This provides strong edge hold and allows them to hold turns longer.

Tunnel Concave – Water skis with a tunnel concave have a central concave and two flat places on either side. The flat patches function similarly to pontoons on a pontoon boat. Tunnel concave skis travel at high speeds in a straight and smooth manner, and they sit higher in the water. Larger flat patches indicate greater stability, but the concave base allows it to maintain an edge.

 

Water Ski Edge

The ski’s edge is what lets you carve a turn, and a beveled edge assists in turn control. A beginner needs a big beveled edge, whereas a pro needs a modest edge angle to make perfect turns.

 

Water Ski Fins

Fins can be located on the ski’s bottom and near the back. They assist in maintaining balance and control, allowing you to remain standing and straight. They’re also on surfboards and paddleboards. Water skis with replaceable fins are available.

 

Construction Material

Water skis are typically constructed of fiberglass, carbon fiber, or a mix of fiberglass and graphite. Extremely durable fiberglass is the most commonly used material in the manufacture of water skis.

  • Fiberglass/graphite – Durable and light.
  • Carbon fiber – It is lightweight, robust, and long-lasting, but it is also more expensive.
  • Polyurethane is a type of polyurethane.
  • Polyurethane — The core of the water ski is normally constructed of polyurethane
  • Wood — Yes, some skis are still made of classic wood today.

 

Water Skis Types

There are water ski options for every expertise level, as well as specific uses such as jumping, stunts, and slalom skiing, whether you’re a beginner or an expert jumper.

  • Combination Skis – Excellent water skis for beginners. They have a broader tip and fins for more control and balance while skiing. As the name implies, they can be utilized for a variety of skiing styles.
  • Slalom Skis – A slalom ski is meant to go speedier and make sharp turns by having both feet on one ski. It is thinner than combo skis and has control fins.
  • Trick Skis —Do you remember those water ski displays you saw on TV or the lake? That’s the ski for you. Trick skis are narrow and short, with no fins. Due to the lack of a fin, you can slide through the water (or up a ramp) to perform flips, spins, and other aquatic tricks.
  • Jump Skis – These water skis are long, wide, and incredibly light. This design enables them to easily jump a platform or ramp and glide through the air.
  • Youth Skis — Water skis which are designed specifically for young learners, include a cord/bar across the front (and sometimes the back) to keep the skis together while learning.

Water Skis size

Which size of water skis to select can be more difficult! One thing to remember here is to choose a size that is appropriate for the boat’s largest skier. There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the proper size. Beginners should choose longer skis because they are easier to ride.

They are often slower and bulkier than shorter skis. Shorter skis are easier to handle for intermediate and experienced skiers since they are faster and lighter, and they fit the skier’s skills.

Water ski size chart

Skier WeightBoat Speed
26-30 mph
Boat Speed
30-34 mph
Boat Speed
34-36 mph
60-100 lbs.59″-63″59″-63″59″-63″
95-125 lbs.62″-64″62″-63″62″-63″
115-140 lbs.64″-66″63″-66″63″-65″
135-160 lbs.66″-67″65″-66″64″-66″
150-180 lbs.67″-68″66″-67″65″-67″
170-200 lbs.68″-72″67″-68″66″-68″
190-215 lbs.72″68″-72″67″-68″
210 lbs & up72″68″-72″68″-72″

How to Water Ski Video

Conclusion

When it comes to waterskiing, nothing can be more frustrating than not being able to get up onto the skis themselves. The best water skis chosen in this review should make it easier for the beginning rider so that you can progress at a more stable rate. I hope these reviews will make your time on the water awesome!

Thanks for reading and good luck! Feel free to drop a question, or comment and let us know what you thought of our selections and yours.

If you liked what you read, don’t forget to share it. It helps us a lot.

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