Water ski racing is a fast, action packed sport and without the correct safety equipment, a skier can suffer a lot of injuries if they should have a big enough fall. The correct equipment can prevent many serious injuries from happening.
Dead arm, is a common water ski racing injury. This is where the nerves in the shoulder are severed of permanently damaged during a fall where the skiers arm is twisted over the skiers head rotating at the shoulder socket. This injury normally results in partial paralyses of the affected arm.
Helmet: a correct fitting helmet should be worn by the skier. The helmet needs to cover the ears and have a firm strap with a clip rather than a buckle. The helmet will prevent head injury in the event of impact with the skier’s race ski or any number of other objects. The clip on the chin strap enables the helmet to come from the skiers head if the water grabs the helmet. This can prevent neck injuries.
Goggles: Goggles are more for comfort as at high speed the wind and water spray can nearly blind a skier. Yet they are required for safety also. Correct fitting goggles should be worn and should be specialised H2O goggles. H2O goggles are manufactured using materials that are water resistant so that the goggles last longer.
Wetsuit: A custom fitted buoyancy wetsuit should be worn. The suit should have at least 3 torso straps, knee straps and knee braces. A correctly fitted wetsuit helps support the skier’s joints and helps protect the body from injury upon impact with the water. Sufficient buoyancy should be built into the suit to keep the skier afloat in the water, especially after a fall, where the skier could be unconscious.
Neck Brace: A neck brace is recommended to be fitted to the suit to enable support of the head and neck in the event of a fall. This can assist in preventing serious neck injuries.
Arm restraints: Correctly fitted arm restraints are recommended as they can prevent dead arm in the event of a fall. Arm restraints can be purchased attached to a neck brace, or they can be fitted to a short sleeve wetsuit. The arm restraint restricts the travel of the upper arm preventing it from being wrenched.
Ski Bindings: ski bindings should be correctly fitted so that they are snug, but not too tight. In the event of a fall your feet should come out of the bindings to prevent injury while tumbling with the ski still attached. The binding should not be too loose either as a snug fitting binding is required for proper ski control while racing.
That covers all the necessary safety equipment for water ski racing. Many skiers may use other items for comfort or injury prevention for existing ailments, but the above items are the main necessities for a safe seasons water ski racing. If the above equipment is correctly fitted and worn religiously while practicing, training and racing injury can be minimised or even prevented in the case of a minor or even serious fall.