Everything You Need to Get Started Behind the Boat

O'Brien System Wakeboard

Winter can’t last forever, so here at Peter Glenn Ski & Sports we fill our time waiting for the mountains to return by spending time on the water. Kayaking, diving, or just swimming we do it all. But our favorites might be waterskiing and wakeboarding, because they give us the chance to put our mountain-tuned skills to use a little bit closer to home.

If you’re not already riding behind the boat (or in a cable park) it can seem like a lot to get out there. But luckily with just a few simple essentials, it’s easy to unlock hours of summertime fun on the water.

Life Vests for the Whole Family

Safety first, as always. Truthfully you shouldn’t be waterskiing or wakeboarding without a spotter, someone (other than the driver) on the boat to keep an eye on you and let the driver know if anything goes wrong. But even with that person looking out for you, accidents still happen, so it’s always a good idea to wear a life vest while riding behind the boat.

O'Brien Women's Traditional Life Jacket Aqua

Choosing a vest is about looking for what’s important to you. Something like the O’Neill Reactor USCG Life Vest or the O'Brien Traditional Neo Life Vest offers a fitted, sleek design that focuses on ease of movement and all-day comfort. Also, be sure to look for options with multiple buckles or even a zippered design as this gives you a greater range of fit, perfect if you want one vest to work for multiple people.

Of course, keeping your little ones safe is also important, which is why there are kid-friendly life vests like the O'Neill Reactor USCG Life Vest for kids.

Challenge Yourself with Waterskis or Wakeboards

Okay, this one is pretty obvious. If you want to ride behind the boat, you’re going to need something to stand on! Choosing between the two is obviously a matter of preference, and we really can’t help you with that one. But once you know which way you’ll be standing, we’re happy to help you choose the right ride for your chosen watersport.

Conelly Women's Aspect Waterski

A good place to start would be beginner-friendly packages like the O'Brien 140 System Wakeboard Package with Clitch Boots or Hyperlite 150 Murray Wakeboard with Session Boots, because not only do they come with adjustable bindings that take some of the guesswork out of picking the right gear, but they’re also designed to be ideal platforms to hone your skills and progress your riding on.

On skis, you can opt for the Connelly Aspect Waterski or the Connelly Outlaw Waterski. Both of these skis come with bindings and are made from 100% fiberglass, giving them a consistent flex that offers plenty of performance. They’re an ideal choice for intermediate skiers and are the perfect option for free-riding on open water.

You Can't Get on the Water Without a Tow Rope

Hyperlite Surf Rope Marla Fay

At its most basic a tow rope is your connection to the boat, pulling you forward and making waterskiing and wakeboarding possible. That really is all there is to it.

But ropes designed specifically for wakeboarding or waterskiing can make things a lot easier and a lot safer too. Bright colors and floating lines improve visibility, helping other boaters avoid skiers or boarders in the water but not yet standing up. Adjustable lengths can help you fine-tune your slalom’s swing, or allow you to find the sweet spot for perfect wake-to-wake jumps.

Note that some ropes are marketed specifically as “waterski” or “wakeboard” ropes. Realistically any appropriate tow rope will work just fine for either, but there are nuanced differences. Specifically, wakeboard ropes tend to have longer handles, in order to allow for easier behind-the-back passes while you’re in the air.

Some of our favorite ropes are the HO Sports Power Grip 5 Section which combines adjustability with a comfortable EVA handle at a price that’s hard to beat or the Proline 75’ LGS Diamond Handle Package, which adds the strength and water-resistance of a Dyneema line that floats in the water while you’re waiting to stand up.

Don’t Forget the Accessories

Hyperlite 135 State Wakeboard Package Cobe France

By definition, accessories aren’t essential. But they are what can make the difference between a good and a great time on the water.

Take gloves for example. The Connelly Tournament Glove protects your hands, which is important because the longer you stay in the water the softer your skin gets. And they help you find a firmer grip on the handle thanks to printed silicone texturing on the palm.

Another accessory worth considering is a waterski or wakeboard bag. You won’t use it while riding, obviously, but instead, you’ll use it while transferring and storing your ride. By helping your gear stay clean and protecting it from damage, a bag can extend the life of your gear for many sessions to come.

On your way to the water, or on the way back from it, put your gear inside something like the Connelly Team Padded Wakeboard Bag or Team Slalom Waterski Bag to show your gear how much you care.

All told, it’s less stuff than you’d expect. Which begs the question - what are you still doing here? Swing by your local Peter Glenn and we’ll get you outfitted for fun on the water, or browse our selection here and have everything delivered straight to your door.