The Hong Kong Water Ski Association is the governing sport for towed water sports in Hong Kong and is a member of the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation.
Water skiing has been practiced in Hong Kong as a recreational and competitive activity since the 1950s. However, the imposition of speed restrictions in many of the best sheltered bays in Hong Kong has seriously limited its growth.
More recently the development of wakeboarding and wakesurfing, which can be more easily practiced in open water have become increasingly popular.
Cable skiing and cable wakeboarding have seen exponential growth over recent years primarily for environmental and affordability reasons. The use of an electric motor to drive and overhead cable instead of pulling the skier/ rider behind a boat eliminates any potential pollution from using petrol or diesel and allows several persons to use the facility at the same time reducing the cost of participation.
Recreational water skiing usually begins with the skier, wearing a floatation device/ life-jacket, learning to ski on two skis and learning to cross the wake before progressing on to one ski.
Competitive water skiing comprises three events Slalom, Tricks and Jump.
In slalom the boat travels at a range of speeds up to a maximum of 36mph (58kmph) with the object for the skier to ski through a course of 259 metres comprising the entry gate, round as many of the six buoys as possible and complete the pass by leaving through the exit gate, for which a score of six will be recorded for a successful pass. Hong Kong born Nigel is seen here completing a pass successfully. Depending on his starting speed the speed will increase for his next pass and subsequent successful passes by approximately 2mph (3kmph) until 36mph (58kmph) for men and 34mph (55kmph) for women, after which the rope will be shortened in several stages from 18.25 metres making it more skilful and difficult to complete each pass of the six-buoy course. The person with the highest score will be deemed the winner.
For Jumps a jump ramp varying in height from 1.5, 1.65 or 1.8 metres is used to provide elevation for the skier to jump as far as possible. The skier wearing safety equipment, including a flotation device / life-jacket and helmet approaches the ramp at a maximum boat speed of 57 kmph for men and 54kmph for women and cuts across the boats wake and accelerates to the ramp in order to jump as far as possible. Nigel is seen here approaching the ramp jumping, landing and skiing away successfully. The winner is the person who jumps the furthest.
Trick skiing is similar to wakeboarding although a smaller and shorter board is used. Similar to gymnastics on the water the skier performs a variety of tricks in two passes of 20 seconds each including seen here side slides, 180 and 360 turns. Other tricks include stepping over the rope and somersaults / flips or inverts. Each trick has an allocated score if completed successfully. The skier with the highest score is the winner.