The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a sport in which a sportsman moves along the surface of water on water skis while being towed by a boat. The sport includes slalom skiing, jumping, trick skiing, and various all-around competitions. Usually, there are three-event competitions that include slalom, trick skiing, and jumping.

In a slalom, sportsmen on a single ski or double skis com-pete on a course laid out with six buoys to either side of the course of the boat; the result is determined by the number of buoys correctly circled by the sportsman as the difficulty increases. In trick skiing competitions, the sportsmen are expected to execute in two 20-second periods the greatest possible number of maneuvers (90°, 180°, 360°, or larger turns and side slipping), each of which is valued at a specified number of points. For jumping, a sloping wooden plank is used, with a maximum height of 180 cm for men and 150 cm for women; the speed of the boat may not exceed 57 km/hr for men and 45 km/hr for women.

Waterskiing began to develop in the 1930’s. The first world championship was held in France in 1949. The sport has be-come most popular in the USA, Australia, France, Canada, Mexico, and Spain. As of Jan. 1, 1971, sportsmen from the USA had made the greatest achievements in waterskiing: in men’s slalom—K. LaPoint (50.5 buoys, 57 km/hr, 12-m line); men’s jumping—M. Suyderhoud (49 m); and men’s trick skiing—R. McCormick (5,346 points). Women’s records are held by E. Allan: slalom—54.5 buoys, 54 km/hr, 15-m line; jumping—33.5 m; trick skiing—4,258 points.

World championships are organized every two years by the World Water Ski Union, which was founded in 1946 and united 45 national federations.

In the USSR waterskiing competitions have been held since 1958, and annual ail-Union championships since 1965. The All-Union Waterskiing Federation was organized in 1963. The first chairman of its Technical Commission was In. A. Gagarin, and since 1968 the chairman has been pilot-astronaut A. A. Leonov.


Tyll, A. Vodnye lyzhi. Moscow, 1969. (Translated from English.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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