I'm part of a group of disabled people who'd like to learn, or at least experience, water skiing. Our disabilities vary, but none of us are able to support our legs enough to stand on water skis without assistance. Some also have limited arm strength.

I've heard that adaptive equipment exists, and we're looking for an opportunity to try it out before making any big investment. Obviously it would have to be a place that rents out the necessary gear, and also offers instruction and physical assistance. If we enjoy it, some of my more adventurous friends might look into becoming part of a large organization with teams and competitions.

We live in New England, but this would be part of a week-long summer trip we're in the process of planning. If we have to travel a few hundred miles in any direction, that would be fine.

Since this site is an international community, if people are aware of interesting options in other countries, those would also be welcome. I just didn't want to make the question too broad.

2 Answers 2


Seems like standing on conventional skis is out if cannot stand.

There actually is a disabled skiing category. There is specialty equipment and I bet as least one ski camp that caters to the category.

Mainstream related to water skiing is knee boarding. You don't have to stand and also the pull is not nearly has hard. It is harder to get up than you would guess.

There is hydro ski. It takes a lot of technique but you don't stand and less pull than water ski.

Tubing but it takes no technique at low speed.

Most of the ski camps are in the south and Texas east. You get 9-12 months a year and relatively cheap water. I would definitely recommend a camp you get top instructors, top equipment, and a private lake. Also search on ski school. Schools are easier to book after Aug 15 as that is Nationals.


It looks like the gear you need is what is called a "sit ski"

Individuals that are unable to stand will ski using a “sit ski,” which comes in a variety of sizes from wide, stable skis to narrow, competitive skis.

“Probably 80 percent of our students use a sit-down water ski that was designed by Royce Andes, one of our instructors,” says Haakon Lang-Ree, Executive Director of Disabled Sports USA Far West. Andes, a quadriplegic after a waterskiing accident, designed the Kan Ski Freedom, a sit ski for people who are unable to ski standing up.

All sit-down skiers use a singlewide ski to which a metal-framed cage is attached. The skier sits in a canvas sling that can be adjusted up or down to change the skier’s center of balance and comes in a variety of models to suit the skiers ability level.


For places to go, it looks like Disabled Sports USA has chapters all across the United States and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

There is also the Water Skiers with Disabilities Association.

Water Skiers with Disabilities Association (WSDA) can assist you in overcoming these obstacles. One of the best ways a new skier can learn is to ski with experienced skiers. WSDA can help you locate other skiers in your area; or, if another WSDA member is not in your immediate area, you can find out who your WSDA Regional Representative is and he or she can put you in contact with other “Learn to Ski” clinics and ski schools.


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