In slalom, the contestant negotiates a zigzag course of six buoys. The boat speed is increased two mph until a In slalom, the contestant negotiates a zigzag course of six buoys. The boat speed is increased two mph until a maximum speed for the division of competition is reached. Thereafter the rope is shortened in pre-measured lengths. The winner is the one who rounds the most buoys without a miss or fall. The best skiers do not miss until the rope is shorter than the distance from the boat to the buoy and the skier must try to round the buoy by leaning over it with his or her body!
In tricks, the contestant performs two, 20-second routines of tricks that each have an assigned point value. Some of the most difficult tricks include wake flips, and multiple turns performed with the towrope attached to the contestant’s foot.
In jumping, the object is distance. Although there is a maximum boat speed for each age division, the skier can increase his or her speed by “cracking the whip” behind the boat; men jumpers approach speeds of more than 60 mph at the base of the jump ramp. Some men skiers in Open Division competition, the highest achievement level, jump more than 230 feet off a six-foot-high ramp. Women competitors are jumping more than 170 feet using a five-foot-high ramp.