Adaptive Water Skiing
Are you keen to give it a go?
There are a number of ways you can go water skiing depending on where you live.
If you live in the Brisbane region, Lake Kurwongbah Water Ski Zone run an adaptive/charity day twice a year, on the last Sunday in March and October every year (* subject to change). All equipment and instruction is provided. Book your spot via Trybooking when you see the post on their website or Facebook page. Here is the link to their website or click Lake Kurwongbah Water Ski Community on Facebook. Lake Kurwongbah Water Ski Zone Inc has been holding biannual Charity Ski Days since 2001. Members from charities including Sporting Wheelies, Make A Wish Foundation, Legacy and Variety are invited to attend and participate at no charge. LKWSZ members provide tubes, ski gear and adaptive ski equipment so that everyone can participate, regardless of your medical condition. Kedron Wavell RSL and Legacy generously put on a free barbeque lunch for the participants and their families, and all of the volunteers. A number of participants from these days have gone on to compete for Queensland and Australia in adaptive water skiing. Unlike other sports for those with a disability, water skiing is something that all members of the family can participate in together.
Water skiing has been adapted so that physically disabled athletes can participate and compete.
Adaptive Tournament Water Skiing
Tournaments offer slalom, trick and jumping events for vision impaired individuals (blind or partially sighted), multiplegics (paraplegics and quadriplegics), leg amputees (above and below knee), arm amputees and athletes with both arm and leg disabilities. The skiers in the latter three categories compete with the same water ski equipment used by able-bodied athletes and have the option of using a prosthesis and athletes with both arm and leg disabilities.
In the slalom event the skier must go around six buoys that are staggered the length of a 259-metre-long course while the boat runs down the middle of the course. Each time the skier successfully completes the course, the boat speed is increased by 3km p/h until reaching the maximum speed of 55km p/h for women and 58km p/h for men. After reaching the maximum speed, the skier’s rope length of 18.25 metres is shortened by pre-determined increments after each successful pass. The skier continues until he or she falls or does not go around a buoy. A narrower slalom course (the inner course) is an option for those whose disability is greater, such as those with quadriplegia and athletes with both arm and leg disabilities.
The trick event has been described as the most technical of the three events. Standing beginners perform this event on two short skis, and intermediate to elite athletes (standing or seated) perform on one short flat-bottomed ski that allows the skier to turn sideways to the boat or ski facing away from the boat. Combinations of these moves can be linked together to perform a variety of tricks with multiple turns both on the surface behind the boat or in the air using the wake as a take-off point. An athlete attempts to perform as many tricks as he or she can during two 20-second passes. Each trick has an assigned point value and an athlete may perform each trick only once. The athlete who earns the most points wins the event. Tricks can be performed either with an athlete’s foot slipped into a strap attached to the handle, called toehold tricks, or with the handle held in the athlete’s hands.
In the jump event, the skier jumps over the ramp and tries to go the longest distance possible and ski away. There are no points for style, just distance! Each athlete has three attempts to jump and the distance is measured by video mapping. The ramp is 14 feet wide by 22 feet long. The height of the ramp can be set at 1.25m (4 foot), 1.5m (5 foot), or 1.65m (5.5 feet) and this is selected by the skier when entering the competition.
Those unable to stand to ski use a sit ski. Sit skis are longer and wider than able bodied skis and include a custom-made seating frame. Skiers are classified into categories depending on their functional ability. Classifications range from MP1 to MP5 with MP5 being the most able competitors.
Standing athletes use the same equipment as able-bodied skiers and may choose to ski with or without prosthesis.
Those with vision impairment also use able bodied equipment; however, they are guided by another skier in the jumping event (guide cannot go over the ramp) and use audible signals instead of buoys in the slalom course. The skier turns at the sound of a tone rather than turning around a buoy. The tone is produced by the Audio Slalom Signal Generator (ASSG). The ASSG measures the angle of the rope in relation to the boat path and sounds a tone when the skier has pulled far enough to the outside to simulate a turn around a buoy.