How to Choose Water Skis

By: Patrick J. Kiger

Water Ski Bindings

A skier prepares to be pulled up and onto the water.
A skier prepares to be pulled up and onto the water.

Water ski bindings are those bootlike thingies you put your feet in, plus the gizmos that hold them to the skis. They're a pretty important part of your equipment -- so important, in fact, that you could wind up paying upward of $300 for a top-of-the-line pair. They could cost as much or more than the skis themselves. The bindings' basic function is to hold your feet on the ski, but they also provide lateral support, so that your feet don't move around too much, which prevents injury. When you fall -- and you inevitably will, plenty of times -- they're designed to disengage, which frees your feet from the ski [source: Kadison]. Most bindings are made of rubber or neoprene with straps and a reinforcing piece across the heel that makes them fit almost like a shoe [source: Sports Authority].

When you're choosing bindings, you're trying to find the best balance of several trade-offs. You want a pair that you can get in and out of easily, for example, but you still want them to fit your feet snugly. Since you're a beginner who's likely to be sharing your skis and bindings with friends and family, you may want to get a pair of adjustable bindings with a rear toe plate and a single front high-wrap. However, If you're going to be the only one using your skis and you're concerned about having optimum control in the water, you may want to consider buying some double-wrap bindings, the sort that the pros wear with single slalom skis. Those go all the way around the foot and come up higher on your ankle than the usual bindings [source: Kadison]. Be forewarned, though -- they'll be a lot tougher to get on and off than the single-wrap variety.