Combo Ski Buyer's Guide
For many of us, combo waterskis are the first thing we ever rode behind a boat. They’re the iconic piece of equipment that are a must have on any ski boat. If you want to progress to slalom skiing or just want something on the boat for everyone to use, a pair of combo waterskis is your best bet. There’s a lot to choose from these days with different sizes, shapes and boots so read on to find the right pair for you.
Combo skis are available in different lengths to suit your weight. An adult pair can be difficult to manage when skiing and on deep water starts for younger or lighter riders so it’s always best to get a pair suited to their weight. Check out the size chart below to find the right length of waterskis.
Combo waterskis are usually constructed from Reaction Injection Molded (RIM) plastic. Timber is still used sometimes in combo waterski construction but plastic is more durable and lightweight. Plastic also makes a more flexible ski than timber so the skis are more forgiving for beginners. The fins on combo skis are also plastic and usually in a bright colour so the skis can be seen in the water if you drop one and need to find it again.
Some pairs of combo waterskis come with a combo bar accessory to hold the tips of your skis together. Combo bars are a great teaching tool like training wheels on a bike and can be purchased separately if your skis don’t come with one.
All combo skis come with front bindings that are an adjustable one size fits all design that are easy to get on and off. They also feature a rear toe rubber on one ski for learning slalom. A basic front combo ski boot is made with a separate toe and heel rubber and adjusts at the back (pictured below). They’re a great budget option for everyone to use.
Recent developments in combo ski bindings have led to more comfortable and supportive options. Modern combo ski boots are made from foam and neoprene in a lace up design the same or similar to what you would find on a slalom ski. They’re easier to put on than rubber bindings (no detergent necessary!) and give you a better connection to the ski. They’re a little more expensive but worth it for the comfort!
The traditional shape of combo ski has been around for almost 50 years. A narrow pair of waterskis with a subtle tunnel in the base, a big flat spot in the middle and rounded bevels on the edges is a tried and tested shape. They’re forgiving for beginners and easy to control when your up and skiing. These days there are many other styles of combo ski available too.
Wide body or hybrid combo waterskis have far more surface area than a traditional shape. They give easier starts and are more stable so they’re the best for teaching first-timers how to get up and waterski. Wide combo skis still have a concave in the base but they often incorporate edge channels or centre spines for extra stability and control. Because it gives you the easiest deep water starts, the hybrid combo shape is also the best for teaching people to single ski.