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Water Skiing

Water Skiing on Belews Lake in Central North Carolina!

Where can you find an activity that involves fun, exercise and calm water under clear blue skies, with a great group of people? Why, where else but water skiing with H20 Sports Life on Belews Lake in central North Carolina!

Water skiing is one of the ideal water sports that provides plenty of exercise and healthy muscle-building fun out on a beautiful lake with friends…both current and new! Beginners, with the help of good instructors, can achieve success very quickly. Who knows? You may be a future participant in one of the almost 1,000 annual water ski competitions worldwide!

Two Major Figures in Water Skiing History

Water SkiingIn 1922, it all began when Ralph Samuelson stood on two boards, used a clothesline as a tow rope connected to a boat driven by his brother on Lake Pepin in Minnesota and tried to ski on water, He could hardly have imagined that he was creating a new water sport. It took a while! He worked on perfecting his equipment and for 15 years he held and performed in water ski shows all over the U.S. Finally, in 1966, he achieved recognition as the first recorded water skier in history! He was also the first person to organize a water ski show.

Through the years, others created and improved equipment and the sport gained popularity. Much of the credit was given to the promoter, Dick Pope, Sr., who created the famous Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven, FL. He combined water skiing and spectacular stunt skiing into a water show that attracted visitors from all over the world to his theme park. He used his promotional skills to create worldwide attention by flooding the newspapers and magazines of the 1940s and 1950s with photos of the spectacular water skiing shows at Cypress Gardens.

Why Choose H2O Sports Life for your Water Sports Activities?

Many people have this sport on their bucket list to “try some day,” but why not make a plan to try it here and now in North Carolina on a serene, warm-water lake with some excellent instructors?

H2O Sports Life is a family-owned business that focuses on achieving participation in water sports at all skill levels. We maintain a wholesome atmosphere with our alcohol, drug and smoke-free policies. Our focus on safety means that we only hire certified instructors and we inspect all equipment daily or before each run. The first priority at H2O is the safety of our visitors and staff. All procedures follow the highest safety standards.

Our family has a long history of enjoying life on Belews Lake and we have long hoped to share our good times and peaceful surroundings with others. By creating a family-oriented environment, putting together a team of certified instructors and purchasing top-quality equipment, we are proud to offer a range of water sports in our favorite location.

Water skiing is not the only activity that we offer. We want visitors to enjoy all types of fun on the water. In addition to water skiing and wakeboarding, we offer four- or eight-hour jet ski rentals. This allows you to take your personal watercraft into some of the inlets and coves along the 88-mile shoreline and explore the entire area of the lake. The scenery along the perimeter of the lake offers many photo opportunities to capture your visit and share the jet skiing experience with friends.

What Can I Expect if I am a Beginner?

At H2O Sports Life, we want to serve all water sport enthusiasts, no matter their level of skill or lack of same. To that end, we decided to bring together programs for everyone from beginner to the adaptive athlete to pros. Using a “camp” model, we provide single day, 3-night and 4-night packages that include lots of training, teaching, fun, food and entertainment.

There is nothing more satisfying for our instructors than the joy on a beginner’s face when they make their first smooth stand on the skis. The delighted screams of pleasure when children are riding the wake from our boat on a tube is music to our ears.

We intentionally offer a diverse schedule of activities. It is important that learning these new skills becomes an adventure and everyone gets to participate at the level that makes them most comfortable. Beginners will learn in a class setting and then progress to demonstrations and practice. Spending time on the beautiful Belews Lake is a glorious adventure in itself, but when you combine it with adding a new skill, it is even more rewarding.

As a beginner, these are the basics you will learn:

First and foremost: Always wear your life jacket!

  • When you are on your skis, for a deep water start, keep your legs together
  • The boat will do the job of pulling you up – you stay crouched until the skis are on the surface
  • At that point, you will straighten your legs
  • Your tow boat driver will know the appropriate speed, usually 20 to 30 mph
  • In competition events, the tow boat speed is usually around 36 mph

Of course, your equipment is important and you will learn about the various types of tow ropes, skis and handles for different styles of waterskiing. Even the length of ski rope and the elasticity is different for waterskiing and wakeboarding. A water ski rope has more stretch and will give about 1 to 3% to allow the skier more flexibility. Wakeboarding rope, however, is made of a material with almost no stretch to keep the skier in a consistent pattern.

Be Aware of Additional Safety Measures

The first rule, of course, is to always ski or wakeboard wearing a life jacket. That is the single most important piece of safety equipment.

Furthermore, there are some rules regarding your tow boat and the operator. You should always have a pre-planned set of hand signals so that you can communicate with the boat’s operator or observer. (We will go over these important hand signals during our class instruction on “THE DECK”). When at all possible, it is safer to have a third person act as an observer, so that the operator can concentrate on driving the boat and keeping the path safe. The observer should face the skier, so that they will be able to monitor the conditions and see any signals from the skier that need to be relayed to the driver.

Some standard signals are thumbs up to go faster, thumbs down to slow down and pat on the head to say you are ready to stop and come back to the boat.

We want you to enjoy your lake adventure in a safe and uncrowded area so that you feel comfortable and relaxed. Our boat operators know the traffic patterns on the lake. When there is more boat traffic, they will know exactly where to take you for a more tranquil setting. You should only be worrying about your form and what tricks you can learn next!

What Do You Offer for the More Advanced Water Skiers?

More-experienced water skiers or wake boarders may want to practice their form and attempt to duplicate the skills they may have to hone in order to compete in one of the many events around the country and around the world. We have the perfect setting for the pros to accomplish their goals. The privacy and large open spaces on the lake afford the ideal circumstances to train for upcoming competitive events.

Three Main Events in Competitions – Slalom, Jump & Trick



This discipline is a skill that most water skiers try to learn soon after they are confident in the basics of skiing on two skis. The next step, literally, is to step onto only one ski! While a lot of muscle strength is required to water ski on two skis, there is a skill to the slalom water ski stance. The skier is standing on one ski with one foot positioned in front of the other, both facing forward. It requires, as they say, “practice, practice, practice!”

Beginners use a ski rope with a deep V shape. They can insert their ski tip inside the V, which keeps them pointing forward as the boat leaves the deep water or marina dock. One standard rule is to let the boat do the work to get you leveled out on a plane, so that you can smoothly transition to the standing position.

The next skill necessary for the slalom is to learn, using the above form, to navigate a course between buoys, similar to snow skiing courses. In slalom skiing competitions, there are 26 buoys on the course. Hitting a buoy will cost you points! This event requires skill not only for the skier, but for the boat operator, as well! Of course, slalom water skiing is fun to learn, even if you don’t intend to enter any competitions! A slalom skier always appears more confident and advanced to observers!


These trick skiing competitions require the most technical skills of the three types of events. First, the skiers use smaller, oval or oblong skis, so that is the first level of difficulty to master. Beginners use two skis and advanced competitors use a single ski. There are a myriad of rules and regulations as to the size and configuration of a trick ski, but they are designed to allow skiers to switch quickly from performing tricks on the surface of the water to tricks in the air.

Then, the actual tricks are very specific and timing is an essential part of the scoring system. Tricks must be accomplished in two 20-second runs and skiers can choose their combination of tricks. There is one run in which they must perform hand tricks and the other is to highlight their toe tricks.


Another popular competition in which water ski jumpers are scored only on distance and not on form. As long as they travel over the competition-standard ramp, travel as far as possible before landing and then ski away, they meet the criteria for a jump. They use two long skis for the jump and get three passes over the ramp. Naturally, the skier who travels the longest distance wins.

And More!

Of course, there are also places to display your barefoot skiing techniques, as well as jumping, racing and marathon competitions. Barefoot water skiing is an art unto itself…better to wait until you have mastered the basics before trying this one!

We Look Forward to Seeing You on the Lake!

Suffice it to say, that from beginner to advanced competition, water skiers have lots of opportunities to improve skills and form over the years. There is always another milestone to work on after achieving some confidence and skill.

Belews Lake is a scenic, serene setting for all water sports. Therefore, it is a popular spot throughout the three seasons that people enjoy being out on the water. The experienced boaters and instructors at H2O are familiar with every area on the lake and know exactly where and when to take their guests for the safest enjoyment of each type of water sports.

Water sports are important to all of us and we want to offer that enjoyment to all of our guests. Give us a call at 336-999-4618 or sign up on our Bookings tab today!

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I have spent over 25+ years on the water with these people. Safety is #1! Teaching people how to learn these sports is fun and exhilarating, For everyone involved! I can not even count how many people we have taught how to ski, wake board, surf, and even how to properly ride a tube. Good equipment, safety training, and years of teaching knowledge make for an unforgettable experience !! Well worth the price for a new skill and an unforgettable memory!!! Remember the first time you rode a bike without training wheels? UNFORGETTABLE !!

-Chris D.