Water skiing is a sport. Strength, power, and agility are words used to describe water skiers. Water skiing requires strength, endurance, and skill to perform. It is good for your health and involves competition. These are the attributes of a sport, which means water skiing is a sport.
Water skiing is generally considered to be a sport, but some people disagree. This article explains the arguments for and against water skiing being a sport.
What Makes an Activity a Sport
Webster’s dictionary defines a sport as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or a team competes against another or others for entertainment”. There are a few different kinds of sports: individual, team, and contact.
For an activity to be considered a sport, it must meet at least one of the following criteria. Some people argue that a sport must meet all of these criteria.
- It requires strength and endurance
- It is good for someone’s health or well-being
- It involves competition between individuals or teams
- It requires skill and athleticism to be done well
Many recreational activities are not considered to be a sport. Here are a few activities that aren’t generally considered to be a sport.
These activities don’t meet all of the criteria for a sport. Golf, for example, does not require endurance.
Does Water Skiing Meet the Definition of a Sport
Water skiing is a sport!
Let’s review each of the criteria for being a sport and see if they apply to water skiing.
1 – Water skiing requires strength and endurance
Without a doubt, water skiing requires plenty of strength and endurance. A water skier’s muscles must be strong to hold the body above the surface of the water while negotiating waves, moving in different directions, and accelerating or decelerating rapidly.
The average person can only last for about 30 minutes before getting too tired to continue skiing. It takes a lot of stamina just to get up from a deep water start.
Water skiing definitely meets this condition.
2 – Water skiing is good for the skier’s health or well-being
There are many benefits associated with water skiing. Improved health and well-being are among them.
It’s a great way to improve balance, coordination and co-ordination. This is because of the need for strong muscles in order to stay on top of the water. A water skier needs flexibility as well.
Skiing also improves cardiovascular fitness such as stamina, endurance and speed – all needed for any sport or activity that requires movement.
Based on this requirement, water skiing is a sport!
3 – Water skiing involves competition between individuals
This condition definitely applies to water skiing. There are several national and international organizations dedicated to water ski competitions.
The American Water Ski Association and USA Water Ski & Wake Sports both organize and hold water ski competitions every year. The International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation is the world governing body for all towed water sports – they also host water ski tournaments.
This is another condition indicating that water skiing is a sport!
4 – Water skiing requires skill and athleticism to be done well
If you’ve ever seen someone try to water ski for the first time, you know that this sport takes skill. A water skier needs to know how to ride a wake and be able to control their body. They also need athleticism, as they will have been traveling at high speeds for long periods of time while jumping off the ski when necessary.
This is yet another condition indicating that water skiing is indeed a sport!
Based on the definition of what a sport is and the criteria for evaluating an activity, water skiing is, without doubt, a sport.
Is Water Skiing a Competitive Sport
Competitive sports are defined as the pinnacle of athletic achievement, and those who partake in it have a high degree of commitment. Training is done frequently with an unrelenting focus on being faster, stronger or higher than their opponents.
The Olympic motto says “faster,” so competitive athletes will train for speed. If you see someone say that they want something “higher” then these competitors may spend more time practicing to gain tactical advantages.
Water skiing meets this definition of a competitive sport.
To be a good skier, you must train and practice. You have to learn and then master skills such as clearing a buoy and crossing the wake. These are all traits of competitive sports.
Water skiing allows athletes to compete in a head to head event. Skiers are judged based on how fast they complete a course and how many buoys they clear. This is the definition of competition!
Water skiing is a competitive sport!
Is Water Skiing Considered an Extreme Sport
The adrenaline rush of extreme sports is what attracts many people to the sport. The most common speed-related activities are skateboarding, snowboarding, and freestyle skiing.
But in recent years there has been a rise in new alternative athletic events that have become popular such as street lugeing, BMX biking or mountain biking which also provide a high level thrill with intense speeds being reached by participants.
Water skiing is an extreme sport according to the Centers for Disease Control because it has inherent risks. Some say that water skiing is an extreme sport because you are engaging in high-speed, competitive racing which requires skill and strength as well as training for the overall body.
Reasons why water skiing is an extreme sport include:
- high speed water entry without barriers or protective equipment
- falls at high speeds
- potential collisions with rocks or a boat hull
- very cold water and waves
- slippery surfaces on which to stand, walk or run
On the other hand – many people say that it is not an extreme sport because even though you are moving quickly through the water, there isn’t any contact with other skiers for safety purposes. In addition, they argue that although falls happen during a routine ski – they are relatively minor and injuries are very rare.
Is Water Skiing an Olympic Sport
Water skiing is not an Olympic sport.
Water skiing was once a demonstration sport at the Olympic Games. It was debuted at the Munich Olympics in 1972. The class of demonstration sport is often not the same as competitive events, but these games were no exception to this rule!
The International Olympic Committee rejected the request to include water skiing in their lineup for this year’s games, despite an effort from Athens Organizing Committee who had hoped it would be a new sport. Three decades ago they chose not to add any sports and now three years later they have yet again gone against popular opinion by refusing another proposal of adding water skiing.
The IOC did not recognize water skiing as Olympic caliber sport. The reason they cited is the power provided by the tow boat. All other sports are powered by the athletes or natural forces such as wind or gravity.
Every few years, one of the international water ski organizations mounts a campaign to have water skiing recognized as an Olympic sport. So far, these initiatives have all failed.
Let’s hope that the next one succeeds!
Can You Be a Professional Water Skier
The popularity of water skiing has increased tremendously in recent years. A lot more people are interested and eager to try this sport, but for most there’s not big money involved like with other sports.
Salaries aren’t available for pro skiers, but based on tournament prizes, the highest paid competitor makes less than $200,000. This is a lot of money, but it’s less than half of what some rookies in the NFL and NBA made during their first contract year!
In some cases, water skiers work in the sport by running training camps and schools. It’s also possible to work as a ski boat driver, in which you’ll take people out on boats and show them how to do tricks.
These jobs count as being “professional water skiers” because they pay a salary. The downside is that these jobs don’t have the same level of financial stability or benefits as professional sports careers in football, basketball, or baseball.
My Take on Whether Water Skiing is a Sport
In my opinion, water skiing is a sport. It requires a lot of skill and hard work to become good at it. It also requires endurance and athleticism to do it well.
While it’s not one of the most popular sports in North America, water skiing is still an activity that many people do as more than just a hobby.
Whether or not you believe water skiing is a sport may depend on if your definition for “sport” is based on athletic ability or spectator popularity.
Do you think water skiing is a sport? Comment below and let me know!