When it comes to water sports such as wake boarding and water skiing, Kiwis are a great nation of participants, particularly during summer. However, as with all sports, a little forethought and specific injury prevention training goes a long way. Advanced Physiotherapy Wellness manager and REPs registered personal trainer Lynsey Graham is a former British water ski team member with an impressive knowledge of water sports and injury prevention. Using Paul Maguire (Ronix team member and ranked third in New Zealand for wake boarding) to demonstrate, she shares some exercises suitable for recreation to elite skiers and riders.
With summer well underway, Waikato lakes and river are favourite spots to cool off and enjoy water skiing and wake boarding. A high percentage of people dive headfirst into summer water activity without any thought of whether their body is equipped to handle it.
Before you make the annual ‘big splash’ or get started on the competition season ahead, take some time to think whether you are physically ready to do so.
It is little wonder that we physiotherapists see numerous injuries related to water activities during summer. In no way is this article intended to ‘dampen’ your enthusiasm to land that next invert, learn to single ski or complete the slalom course for the first time, but it will benefit you to include some injury prevention exercises to your current training routine.
The most common injuries from a water ski or wake board fall are ankles and knees. Unfortunately, but logistically, it makes sense. This is because you are strapping your feet into something where there is no guarantee it is actually going to release if you suddenly fall. Which, let’s be honest is quite often the case.
Now, add some extra risk factors into the equation; speed, wake, quick turns, huge air or sweet tricks and finish this off with no specific training beforehand. Suddenly, your fun shred session intended to cool you down in the summer heat, turns into a more wintry, ‘skating on thin ice’ and possible injury session.
Ankle and knee injuries can be prevented by increasing joint and core stability as well as overall functional strength. Simple balance exercises performed every day will not only keep you on the right track as part of your water ski and wake board injury prevention programme, but also just general body maintenance that you should be doing anyway.
Working with Ronix team rider Paul Maguire, ranked third in New Zealand wake boarding, injury prevention is a crucial part of his training programme. Below is a selection of exercises which can be used for recreational or elite skiers/riders.