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6 Best Water Skis of 2021: Combo, Slalom, Beginners

6 Best Water Skis of 2021: Combo, Slalom, Beginners

If you have a motor boat and enjoy spending days on end at the river or lake, but you don’t own a pair of water skis — do you even love the water? We’re gonna go ahead and say, no. No, you don’t. That’s because water skiing is one of the best and most popular ways to enjoy the great outdoors, and if you’ve never tried it, you don’t know what you’re missing.

In this water skis review, we present 6 of the best water skis, including combo, slalom, and the best for beginners. There’s a lot to know to safely and successfully water ski. But the very first step for anyone interested in trying the sport is to find a pair of water skis of their very own. We’re here to help.

Our Top Picks

Dip your toe in the shallow end of these water ski reviews.

Nash Hydroslide LegendBest Water Skis Overall: Nash Hydroslide Legend.
Hot doggers and beginners agree, Hydroslide Legend water skis are the best available.
Airhead-S-1400-Wide-BodyBest Combo Water Skis: Airhead S-1400 Wide Body.
Stable and wide enough for easy start-ups, these combo skis also offer quicker turning.
HO-Carbon-OmniBest Slalom Water Skis: HO Carbon Omni.
For competitive or slalom-style water skiing we like the torsional flex and Clean Edge Tail offered on the HO Carbon Omnis.
Connelly-CWB-EclypseBeginners Pick: Connelly CWB Eclypse.
With stabilizer bar inserts, Connelly CWB are the best waters skis for beginners.
OBrien-Jr-VortexKids Pick: O’Brien Jr Vortex.
O’Brien Jr Vortex water skis are the best for kids, with Jr. X-7 adjustable bindings and a rear toe piece on one ski,
OBrien-CelebrityBudget Pick: O’Brien Celebrity.
Enjoy a day on the water while spending less money with the Celebrity Combo water skis from O’Brien.
 

A Closer Look: Best Water Skis

From the shallow end to the deep end, here’s a closer look at the water skis we reviewed.

1. Nash Hydroslide Legend

The best water skis overall.

Nash Hydroslide Legend Best Water Skis Overall

Brand: Nash | Bindings: Universal Fit | Build: Aggressively Tapered Tail | Price: 💰💰

Not only are the Hydroslide Legend Combos the best water skis, they’re among the most versatile. With universal fit bindings and a traditional combo design, they offer an aggressively-tapered tail for quicker turns and bigger wake. keeping things interesting for more experienced skiers. 

With a minimum weight capacity of 120 and at 67-inches — check a water ski sizes chart for your best fit — these skis are easy to take off and put on, and they can even be adjusted once you’re in the water

You can also add a stability bar. And otherwise, the design makes them a great choice for stunts, feats and tricks. These are just good-quality skis, especially for the price, according to reports.

  • Good for all skill levels
  • Like a hybrid slalom and beginner ski
  • Good for anyone who’s graduated from trainers
  • Isolated laminate issue
  • Stability bar attachment area flimsy, some say

2. Airhead S-1400 Wide Body

The best combo water skis.

Airhead S-1400 Wide Body Best Water Skis - Combo

Brand: Airhead | Bindings: Dual Density | Build: Composite Foam Core | Price: 💰💰💰

The next best choice for combo water skis are the Airhead S-1400s. With dual density bindings and a composite construction, these combo skis have a wide body. For quicker turning, though, the shape is actually like an hourglass, and tips are wider for wake jumping. Tracking is improved with the reinforced nylon fins, and the bindings fit a wide-range of sizes, but not all.

Those who’ve tried these combo water skis call them great for beginners, but also a good choice for tricks. They’re easy to get into and to take off, and while wearing them, it’s also super easy to get into and out of the water. For skiers of all different shapes, sizes and experience levels, these skis are overall comfy, smooth, and stable, according to reports.

  • Precise tracking
  • Strong and lightweight
  • Low effort turn initiation
  • Pricey
  • Supply issues reported
  • Bindings one-size-fits-most

3. HO Carbon Omni

The best slalom water skis.

HO Carbon Omni Best Water Skis Slalom Skis

Brand: HO | Bindings: Slide-Type Adjustable | Build: Carbon Fiber PVC Core | Price: 💰💰💰💰💰

Slalom is one of the most difficult things to do on a pair of water skis, and it takes a particular type of skis to do it. The best choice in our ranking for slalom are HO Carbon Omnis, we found out,  

With slide-type adjustable bindings and carbon fiber PVC core construction, these skis offer a flex frame — important for slalom — a continuous rockerline for instinctive turning, and hybrid width. There’s also a Clean Edge 3.0 tail reducing drag by as much as 50 percent.

Feedback on HO Carbon water skis calls them light and responsive, bringing unparalleled performance with the stability of a wider ski. The extra bevel between the rear foot and fins also contributes to the stability, and the overall structure keeps them fast moving with tight line turns, with reduced drag on account of the Carbon Fibre SpeedSkin.

  • Good acceleration
  • Comfortable EVA footbed
  • Removable footbed anchoring system
  • Expensive
  • Only for slalom
  • Not for beginners

4. Connelly CWB Eclypse

The best water skis for beginners.

Connelly CWB Eclypse Best Water Skis for beginners

Brand: Connelly | Bindings: Slide-Type Adjustable | Build: Reinforced Composite | Price: 💰💰💰

Beginners just getting into the sport of water skiing should consider the Connelly CWB eclipse combos, from one of the most trusted water ski brands in the business. 

With stabilizer bar inserts — important for those just learning! — these skis have slide-type adjustable bindings and reinforced composite construction. Most notable, though, is the wide tail and shallow, narrow tunnels for easier deep-water starts and more even turning.

Also setting the Eclypse combo water skis apart are glass-filled neon fins and slide-type adjustable bindings. With a flatter surface between the edge of the tunnel and the bevel, these skis are known for stability and for edge hold. 

Fans of the skis call them great value for the money, nice and wide, and suitable for beginners.

  • Joy to use
  • Well made, look great
  • Tighten nicely different-sized feet
  • Not cheap
  • Really only for beginners
  • Just adequate for more experienced skiers

5. O’Brien Jr Vortex

The best kids water skis.

O'Brien Jr Vortex

Brand: O’Brien | Bindings: Jr. X-7 Adjustable | Build: Dual Tunnel Design | Price: 💰💰💰

Important features on water skis for kids are very similar to what to look out for on water skis for adults — just shorter water skis, and maybe a little bit wider to help kids get up and maintain their balance. For these reasons and more, we call the O’Brien Jr Vortex Widebody water skis the best for children interested in trying out the sport.

Also notable, a stabilizer bar can also be added to these short water skis, with dual-tunnel design and  Jr. X-7 adjustable bindings — X-7 adjustable bindings are among the most desirable types of bindings on adult water skis. 

Wearing Vortex, children quickly master deep-water starts, and otherwise, the skis are unmatched in terms of performance and stability, based on feedback.

  • Bindings fit a wide-range of sizes
  • Helps kids keep skis together, maintain control
  • Bottom contoured differently than old-school kids skis
  • Too buoyant, some say
  • Tighten the bar or it might fall off
  • Isolated issues with sticky adjustment button

6. O’Brien Celebrity

The best water skis on a budget.

O'Brien Celebrity

Brand: O’Brien | Bindings: X-7 Adjustable | Build: Padded Rear Toe Plate | Price: 💰💰

For an entire family interested in trying water skiing, or for someone who wants to ski but is on a budget, we like the Celebrity Combo water skis from O’Brien. For a broad range of skill levels, these skis offer dual tunnel design for better control and stability, and a performance side cut for better turning. And for better fit, the bindings are X-7 adjustable with a padded rear toe plate.

Most notably, the dual tunnel design gives the skis the shape of a boat hull, meaning they track well for a smooth and stable ride. Some found the bindings difficult to adjust, but others found the skis suitable for all different shapes and sizes and a great, affordable choice for families. 

Using Celebrity Combos, someone who hadn’t skied in over a decade got up and running instantly, according to reports!

  • Good for all levels
  • Good choice for tall people
  • Nice looking design and color
  • Some don’t like the bindings
  • Not very comfortable, some say
  • Beginner to intermediate? Good. Advanced? Questionable.

Our Process

For this guide on best water skis, our team spent 5 hours researching the most popular options from over 18 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 6 water skis on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.