When it comes to cold water, others describe me as “fearless.” I live in Wisconsin and have water skied here in every season! As a competitive water skier, any opportunity to get on the water is a chance to practice. Extending the water ski season by a month or two in spring and fall can do wonders to give you a competitive advantage in both strength and skillset. Practice makes progress, after all. You won’t make much progress without having the coziest gear for cold weather water skiing, though.
Some people call wearing extra layers “weak.” I call it “not getting distracted by the cold.” No professional athlete would ever recommend gear that doesn’t properly prepare you for the conditions. I’m not going to, either. How would that help you do your best? I recommend this cozy gear to those who want to learn how to water ski as well as seasoned pros. Because quality equipment comes at a price, I also advocate for being resourceful and asking friends and family to borrow their cold weather gear if you are not able to invest in your own. My ultimate goal is for you to feel confident and prepared to get out on the water!
Cozy Base Layers
Wearing layers while water skiing plays a much bigger role than making sure your swimsuit doesn’t fall off. For shorter or warmer weather ski sets, these cozy base layers may be enough on their own. For cold weather water skiing, I recommend you use them under even warmer gear!
An insulated rash guard goes a long way in keeping your upper body warm. SECO Sportswear‘s heater gear is designed specifically for water skiing. Personally, I lose a lot of body heat through my upper arms, so insulating them is a must. Having a rash guard is also a great way to limit sun exposure and prevent rope burn.
SECO Sportswear also makes heater pants to insulate your lower body. I personally like their “super high waist” so that it overlaps my heater shirt and provides extra insulation to my core!
For longer days on the water, ski practices, or putting the dock in each year, a wetsuit can provide extra warmth. They work by trapping a layer of water between your skin and the suit. Once the water gets heated by your skin, it helps you warm back up. A rash guard and swim leggings or a combo of a heater shirt and pants should fit under a wetsuit if needed to double your layers.
You usually won’t find these marketed toward water skiers, though some water sports companies do make them. Rather, drysuits might be more commonly known as emergency or safety equipment for boat crews in cold climates. They are for those brave enough to water ski during the coldest months of the year! How you layer underneath depends on whether you use a neoprene or nylon drysuit.
Opting for a neoprene drysuit is a no-brainer if you have the option. These suits are just 3 millimeters thick, but watertight. Their compact design makes them a more practical option when doing tricks and, yes, cozy like a wetsuit.
Nylon drysuits – like I have, because I was given one as a gift – add some bulk. This won’t matter to most people who ski but can slightly inhibit the mobility for those attempting tricks and advanced maneuvers. They do have a cozy perk, though; there is room to wear a fuzzy sweater and sweatpants underneath!
Even the warmest gear won’t keep you from wanting to warm up after your ski set. When you’ve made it back onto dry land, wrapping up a cozy towel will help you dry off quickly.
These wearable towels from Creating Waves make cold water ski practices so much cozier. They are a great way to dry off and snuggle up after your time on the water. Most importantly, they are designed to be a portable changing room, so you can get out of your wet gear as soon as possible!