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Advice for a Next Step Up Ski Trainer


DAI

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I'd go for Option 2, you'll get a lot more use out of them.  Once they get used to them then you remove the rear rope, then once they get good at that you remove the front bar.

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@DAI, how old are your kids?  If they are seven or older, I'd probably go with a junior pair that has a slalom boot and forget about the bars and lashings.  About ten minutes of shore training and a gentle pull will have them up in three attempts.

A barefoot boom or fly-high pole will help lift them from the water, which helps a lot with beginners.  The boom is the best choice if you can fit one to your boat.  Start them holding the boom, then graduate to a short handle, then finally long line.  After they can cross the wake reliably and are having fun, challenge them to lift a ski out of the water.  They will be on a slalom before you can blink.

All of this is assisted by having spare kids around to challenge each other.  If you are the only one challenging them, they will get shy and think that it is too hard.  Let another kid challenge them after you suggest it, and they will be all over it.

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11 hours ago, justgary said:

@DAI, how old are your kids?  If they are seven or older, I'd probably go with a junior pair that has a slalom boot and forget about the bars and lashings.  About ten minutes of shore training and a gentle pull will have them up in three attempts.

A barefoot boom or fly-high pole will help lift them from the water, which helps a lot with beginners.  The boom is the best choice if you can fit one to your boat.  Start them holding the boom, then graduate to a short handle, then finally long line.  After they can cross the wake reliably and are having fun, challenge them to lift a ski out of the water.  They will be on a slalom before you can blink.

All of this is assisted by having spare kids around to challenge each other.  If you are the only one challenging them, they will get shy and think that it is too hard.  Let another kid challenge them after you suggest it, and they will be all over it.


Thank you @oldjeep @justgary
 

Kids are 8 and 9.  The 8 year old would definitely respond to competition, but she is more of the surfer right now.  However she basically enjoys anything in or on the water, so I can see her wanting to ski also.  My 9 year old could care less about competition and just wants to enjoy his ride behind the boat.

Looking forward to summer.

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These are the best we have found and they have the removable bar.  Easy to get up on and surprisingly maneuverable when the bar is removed.  The width and shape allows kids and even adults with small feet use them.  8 and 9 should be able to use them.  

https://www.overtons.com/obrien-jr.-vortex-waterski-with-jr.-x-7-bindings-288351.html?utm_source=google&utm_medium=ppc&utm_campaign={Campaign}&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIsdGGytid8AIVFA_nCh3TCgNCEAQYASABEgLiQvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

Edited by jjackkrash
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At those ages, definitely skip the platform trainer, and go with a pair of combos with a bar.  Like Gary mentioned, a boom will greatly speed up the learning curve, and is a worthwhile investment.  If your kids have trouble controlling the skis in the water, tail-weights are helpful.

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43 minutes ago, TomH said:

 If your kids have trouble controlling the skis in the water, tail-weights are helpful.

I have bolted one pound mallets on the top back of the skis to keep the tips up on the start.  Weights work great if the skis are too buoyant and you find just enough weight to sink the back of the skis.  

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1 hour ago, TomH said:

go with a pair of combos with a bar

I'm still not sold on the bar thing.  How long does a typical kid use one?  You can address the ski spreading with shore training and having them use their elbows to reinforce the knees.  I wouldn't want a kid to keep using a bar after a few pulls because it will just reinforce poor posture.  I'm used to getting kids up in about three pulls without gimmicks or devices, and that was before I had a boom.  With a boom, it's usually first pull, or possibly second if they didn't listen to me the first time and tried to overthink the situation.

Adults always overthink and never listen, so they take more pulls....

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6 minutes ago, justgary said:

I'm still not sold on the bar thing.  How long does a typical kid use one?  You can address the ski spreading with shore training and having them use their elbows to reinforce the knees.  I wouldn't want a kid to keep using a bar after a few pulls because it will just reinforce poor posture.  I'm used to getting kids up in about three pulls without gimmicks or devices, and that was before I had a boom.  With a boom, it's usually first pull, or possibly second if they didn't listen to me the first time and tried to overthink the situation.

Adults always overthink and never listen, so they take more pulls....

I don't necessarily disagree with you on the bar, especially for the age of the OP's kids.  I did find it fairly useful for my kids when they transitioned off a platform trainer onto skis around age 4/5, and they probably used it for a few weeks before going without.  Other than that I'll put a bar on for the gumby never-evers that seem to have no control of their limbs, but we usually ditch it after a few pulls once they've been able to get up and stand comfortably on their skis.  Considering most combo sets just have the bar included, doesn't hurt to have another tool in the bag.  

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Heck, we have a bar that fits our adult combo skis - and use it after never ever adults keep doing the splits.  easy way to take one variable out of the whole operation and provide some success.

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Mymindslost

I grew up waterskiing and have 2 boys (now 13/15) that also waterski.   We like the bar on skis to initially learn but quickly switched to without.  The bar almost limited them on figuring out their weight shifting and when pulling them up they'd tip over more than without.   The biggest thing is keeping legs together so if you have too big of skis it's harder for them to control and keep them together too.  We also used one of these to help start initially, similar idea of having a tube to sit on.   It was nice for them to not work so hard to stand up initially or fight their skis straight when going barless - one less thing to worry about and then we had them just start normally.   https://ravesports.com/aqua-buddy-water-ski-wakeboard-trainer-02368

 

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The bar works for people who just can't get how to keep the skis stable and the proper width the first time.  I never use it more than twice, usually all it takes is once.  And I will generally have them try first before resorting to the bar.  But the bar does serve a training purpose and is effective for that purpose, IMO. 

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Personally I don't like the bar at all, it really limits what the kids can do once they get up on the skis.  Look at how the back tie is put on those skis, build the same on the front instead of the bar, then they can more easily change weight and control the skis to go where they want to.  We have used the bar, and it helps with never evers, but if they have some feeling for skiing, we use the rope loops front and back.  The rope just tied through a pair of strap eyes is very easy to use.

We had a similar rig to option 1, and we found it taught the kids to lean back too much, making it much harder to transition to a real ski later.

We also use a barefoot boom to teach people, really speeds the process.  Our youngest usually starts out on the boom the 1st time of the season, just to get the feel of getting up again, then we put it away.

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3 hours ago, asnowman said:

Personally I don't like the bar at all, it really limits what the kids can do once they get up on the skis. 

If they really can't get out of the hole at all I will install the bar, pull them up, drag them 50 yards, drop them down.  Pull them up, drag them 50 yards, drop them down.  Then I'll pull the bar.  You don't get to your issue unless they can get up.  But, ya, the bar does suck once they are up and actually skiing.    

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12 minutes ago, jjackkrash said:

pull them up, drag them 50 yards, drop them down.  Pull them up, drag them 50 yards, drop them down.

I usually do that using the boom, too.  I make them hold on while I slow down, and tell them to just do everything in reverse while they slow down.  The practice is good for them.  Two or three times of that and I put them on a 5 foot handle off the boom.

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12 hours ago, justgary said:

I usually do that using the boom, too.  I make them hold on while I slow down, and tell them to just do everything in reverse while they slow down.  The practice is good for them.  Two or three times of that and I put them on a 5 foot handle off the boom.

Same here - up, down, up, down, up, down.  Master the start, and everything else is easy to work on from there.  ....."Skiing's the easy part Carl".... (name that movie) 

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I don’t mean to hijsck @DAI’s thread but I have a similar question. My daughter turns four this august and we have the same inflatable EZ trainer ski he does. She loves it and will stand on it for an hour while we idle around the lake. I have a set of trainer skis with the rope on them, but not the bar and was wondering if I should buy the trainer he linked in option one to try this year and then see if she’s ready for actual skis. I do have access to a response with a boom. 

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We didn’t have much luck with the skis. There was too much flotation for the boy to be in charge of the skis for a deep water start. Someone had to be in the water to hold them down and vertical for starts.  And when he inevitably let go or fell it was awkward and scary getting loose sometimes. 

Ultimately we stuck with the trainer for a pretty long time. Ours is a solid wood piece though. It’s stable and something he could master. Not just deal with it. He learned to deep water start. Cross the wakes. Even to load it and Ollie. We got up to some nice speeds around 15 or so. It wasn’t retired till he learned to wakeboard well about 6. 

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The youngest kiddo I have deep water started on skis was a friend's 3 year old girl.  Like Slurpee said, I had to be in the water to help tend the skis since she was so light and not strong enough to fight their buoyancy.  Our kiddo skis are like option #2 from the OP but have rope both front and back instead of the bar.  

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3 hours ago, ahopkinsVTX said:

I don’t mean to hijsck @DAI’s thread but I have a similar question. My daughter turns four this august and we have the same inflatable EZ trainer ski he does. She loves it and will stand on it for an hour while we idle around the lake. I have a set of trainer skis with the rope on them, but not the bar and was wondering if I should buy the trainer he linked in option one to try this year and then see if she’s ready for actual skis. I do have access to a response with a boom. 

I don't think it will hurt anything to try the trainers with a rope.  As several mentioned above, you can put weights at the rear of the skis to help her keep the tips up.  If she can do that and reach the handle on the boom, she will quickly learn how to use her legs to control the skis as she starts moving.  If the rope between the skis is too much for her to control, you could put the rope through a piece of PVC pipe to create a bar effect without buying new skis.  Again, shore training working on her posture while you gently pull by hand will go a long way.  You can start that early, and do several sets of it before you ever even mention pulling her with a boom.  Hopefully, she will think that using the "Big Girl" skis with dad at the shore is a fun game and will want to do it until dad is completely exhausted.

Even before that, I would have her sit in about six inches of water without skis and hold a handle while you coach her on keeping her heels under her bottom as you gently pull her.  Remind her that you aren't trying to get her to stand up directly, but you want her to get her feet under her bottom so that she can use a low squat as you pull, then she gets to slowly stand and pull back against you after you count to five or maybe ten.  She can get the basics down before she ever puts the skis on, and you can make it fun for her.

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That's good advice.  For some reason when I explain letting "the boat do the work" kids are fine with that and just do it.  Adults on the other hand want to fight the boat and do it themselves...have it your way, sinus flushes are free.   :lol: 

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12 minutes ago, justgary said:

I don't think it will hurt anything to try the trainers with a rope.  As several mentioned above, you can put weights at the rear of the skis to help her keep the tips up.  If she can do that and reach the handle on the boom, she will quickly learn how to use her legs to control the skis as she starts moving.  If the rope between the skis is too much for her to control, you could put the rope through a piece of PVC pipe to create a bar effect without buying new skis.  Again, shore training working on her posture while you gently pull by hand will go a long way.  You can start that early, and do several sets of it before you ever even mention pulling her with a boom.  Hopefully, she will think that using the "Big Girl" skis with dad at the shore is a fun game and will want to do it until dad is completely exhausted.

Even before that, I would have her sit in about six inches of water without skis and hold a handle while you coach her on keeping her heels under her bottom as you gently pull her.  Remind her that you aren't trying to get her to stand up directly, but you want her to get her feet under her bottom so that she can use a low squat as you pull, then she gets to slowly stand and pull back against you after you count to five or maybe ten.  She can get the basics down before she ever puts the skis on, and you can make it fun for her.

Those are all great ideas. Thank you! We have already been working on posture on the ez ski and she actually stands really well. Luckily she is in love with the boat and water so I’m just rolling with stuff at her pace. She will surf with me and stand on the board barely hanging onto my legs. 

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On 4/30/2021 at 4:56 AM, ahopkinsVTX said:

I don’t mean to hijsck @DAI’s thread but I have a similar question. My daughter turns four this august and we have the same inflatable EZ trainer ski he does. She loves it and will stand on it for an hour while we idle around the lake. I have a set of trainer skis with the rope on them, but not the bar and was wondering if I should buy the trainer he linked in option one to try this year and then see if she’s ready for actual skis. I do have access to a response with a boom. 

The wood platform trainer is what ours would start on anywhere from 2/3 up.  I think she'd have some fun with the non-inflatable one as it's a bit more maneuverable with some leaning.  Deep water starts on it are as easy as tightening up the rope and having her keep her legs straight, and it'll pop right up.  My youngest actually would jump back on it long after he was onto skis - but he'd be jumping on it, laying down, standing back up, wake crossing - he treated it like a fun board.

The drawback is that it doesn't store very small, but ours still gets used a lot by younger nieces/nephews and neighbors.

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