How to Make Water Skis

By Kathryn Wagner
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Building your own water skis is a great way to use up any extra wood and rope gathering dust in the corner of your garage. This moderately challenging activity takes a few hours and involves a lot of patience, creativity and an openness to make mistakes. Once you have built the water skis, take your family or friends out on the water and have them test your handiwork. Chances are, your home video of your kids will be the only one in the neighborhood where the skis are "home made."

Decide on your intended waterskiers

Step 1

Children and adults use different length skis.
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Before you start building your water skis, decide on your intended userd. Are these skis for children or adults? Newcomers or advanced skiers? Shorter and slightly fatter skis are best for children who often have trouble standing up the first few times. These skis are also good for first-time skiers. Adults with more stability and strength as well as those with more experience can stand up on narrower slalom-like skis.

Step 2

Buy the skis and secure the bindings yourself
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To make the skis you have two options: the first is to go to a sporting goods store and buy two very wide snow skis, two water ski rubber shoes, and then bind them together yourself. If you go this route, shave down the wood using a sander to the appropriate length (e.g., a child's ski). Once you have shaved down the ski, determine the placement of the rubber shoe. To do this, find the middle of the ski. This is where the back end of the binding goes. Place the binding just above the middle of the ski. Do the same for the other shoe. Each ski shoe should have two bindings at the top, two at the bottom and one on each side. Screw the holes using your drill, then use size #8 screws and washers to secure the shoe bindings to the ski. Tighten using a Phillips head screwdriver.

Step 3

Make your own wooden skis
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The second option is to take the wood in your garage and make the skis yourself. Water skis are generally made out of plywood approximately 62 to 63 inches long for children, 64 to 68 inches long for adults, and 1/4-1/2 inch wide. Sand the plywood down to the appropriate size, coat the wood with a layer of resin and then follow the instructions above for securing the ski shoe and binding (which can be purchased at a sporting goods store).

Step 4

Now you are ready to add a plastic fin to the bottom of each ski. The fin allows the ski to turn and glide in the water. Waterskis.com sells individual fins for a reasonable price ($24.99 at the time of publication). This order includes the fin and all necessary hardware to secure it to your ski.

Step 5

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If you are training little children how to water ski, you may want to add a trainer to your finished skis. A trainer is basically a rope that links together the skis so they stay in place when the child pops out of the water.

About the Author

Kathryn Wagner currently lives in Uganda. She has more than six years of professional writing experience and her poems and essays have appeared in "Nidus," "the North Dakota Quarterly," "Big City Lit," "Identity Theory" and the "Tucson Weekly." Wagner has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Arizona.