Teaching a kid to surf/waterski

People ask me, all summer long: how did you teach your girls to surf and ski at such young ages?


It is a great question; Rog and I always laugh when we hear it. Here’s how WE did it. Please remember, we are not experts, doctors, or counselors. After you read this, you'll probably order a counselor for the kids. Ha!

  1. We require a life jacket, all the time. I don't care how shallow the water is.

  2. For water skiing, get an easy wake; it’s worth the investment!

  3. If you have access to a jet ski, start there. For water skiing, the wake is less intense and doesn't scare the little kids. Kolie is "skiing" behind the jet ski on the easy wake at age three.

  4. Lead by example. YOU have to be willing to get in the water, trying, learning, and growing. YES, YOU. Your kids are watching! Try new boards, skis, and boats. Get in the water when it’s cold.

  5. A gentle push is required for both skiing and surfing. By gentle, I might mean toss them in the lake, but sometimes, you have to rip off the Band-aid and make them uncomfortable. Yep, we had to do that with both of our older girls – look at them now. 

  6. Our older girls used trainer skis that lock together at the tip after graduating from the easy wake. These were worth the investment. 

  7. The right surfboard is key. There are SO many options. We found that NOT using a kids’ surfboard and getting them on a bigger one was better for them. They start on the board by kneeling. Once they are comfortable, they stand by placing the back foot up first, then the front foot. (see video) They can still do this at over 60 pounds! This method is such a great way to get them up without fear. 

  8. Practice makes perfect. Our girls are fortunate to surf five or more days a week. 

  9. Praise them: when they fall, when they wreck, when they crush it. Encourage them every step of the way.

  10. Have fun! 

Yes, I did toss them in the water! We had a tough love talk with them and they both survived. We’re raising girls with grit over here! 


So, who is ready to get those kids on a ski or a board?!

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© 2019 Marissa McDonough