2015 Water Sports Gear Guide: Water Skis

Pick the best slalom ski for how you ride.

The outside shape and width of a ski from tip to tail. Wider skis are more stable and easier to stand on during deepwater starts, but they're less nimble. Narrower skis are less stable but are easier to put on edge for sharp, controlled turns. Bevel
The edges on the side of a ski where the flat side wall transitions to the ski's bottom. Bevels can be sharp and flat or soft and rounded. Sharper bevels offer more speed and stability when skiing in a straight line, and they track more in the turns. Rounded bevels offer more control in the turn, with less speed and stability when tracking. Concave
The U-shaped tunnel running along the ski's bottom that allows it to grip the water for increased stability. A deeper concave provides a solid grip on the water but decreases speed. a Shallow concave is faster and allows for harder turns when on edge. High-end skis typically feature a shallow concave that runs continuously from edge to edge. Flex
The amount that a ski can bend along both its length and width. A softer flex will generally turn more easily and ride more smoothly in rough water, but it will be slower when riding straight. Rocker
The amount of curvature in a ski from tip to tail. A flatter ski with minimal rocker is faster and more predictable, but it has a longer turning radius. Adding rocker allows for tighter turns, but too much rocker makes the ski slow and can cause tip rise. Most skis have one or more flat spots in their rocker, allowing for fast skis that turn with ease.
Connelly Outlaw
Things We Like: Extra surface area in the tip and tail set up effortless deepwater starts. + Connelly's factory performance guarantee: If you don't like it, you get your money back. + Awesome value and unbeatable price combination with Nova bindings. Sizes: 65", 67", 69" MSRP: $390 (As shown)
Connelly V
Things We Like: Rocker line and forgiving flex pattern provide one of the most user-friendly slalom course skis ever. + Performance, quality, price – the Connelly V is tough to beat! + Ski's V-step bottom design creates amazing glide on the water for effortless turns and speed maintenance. Sizes: 65", 67", 69" MSRP: $640 (as shown)
Goode Nano XTM
Things We Like: Nano-carbon construction gives the ski a superior strength-to-weight ratio and instant response to skier input. + Easy-to-ride high-performance shape and custom graphics option. + It has a 30-day money-back guarantee. Sizes: 64.25", 65.5", 66.5" MSRP: $1,940 (As shown)
Goode OneXT
Things We Like: Extremely light and agile on the water, yet very stable. + Goode's custom graphics give the buyer complete control of the look of the ski. + Asymmetrical rocker greatly enhances offside turning potential. Sizes: 64", 65.25", 66", 66.75" MSRP: $1,940 (As shown)
HO Freeride
Things We Like: User-friendly shape can be enjoyed by skiers of all levels in sub-par conditions. + Wakeboard-like bevels reduce drag and minimize skier effort. + Enlarged cutback fin enhances tracking ability and holding power. Sizes: 65", 67", 69", 71" MSRP: $565 (As shown)
HO V-Type
Things We Like: Laminar-textured ski bottom reduces drag and increases cross-course acceleration. + Ski's rocker line offers a great combination of control and angle out of the turns. + Stability turner gives the user increased adjustability of the ski's performance. Sizes: 63", 65", 66", 67", 68" MSRP: $1,520 (As shown)
O'Brien G5
Things We Like: Balanced rocker line and a new side cut create a large sweet spot that allows excellent stability for a high-performance slalom ski. + Fast yet forgiving ride that's course proven at elite line lengths. + O'Brien's attention to detail – constructed of aerospace carbon, the fit and finish of the G5 are tough to beat. Sizes: 65.5", 67", 68.5" MSRP: $1,200 (As shown)
O'Brien Pro Trac Trick Skis
Things We Like: User-friendly shape caters to recreational skiers. + Tapered bevels create lift for easy deepwater starts. + Can be used as combos or a single trick ski. Size: 42" MSRP: $480 (As shown)
Radar Alloy Senate
Things We Like: The ski's overall surface area – Radar nailed the length and width dimensions to create a high-level, forgiving ride. + Added material mass in the tip allows skiers to easily create and maintain speed. + Broad appeal for course and open-water skiers. Sizes: 65", 67", 69" MSRP: $730 (As shown)
Radar Theory
Things We Like: Covers a broad spectrum of ability levels for course and free skiing at speeds up to 32 mph. + Oversized flat spot in the rocker helps maintain a balanced riding attitude. + Added width allows effortless deepwater starts. Sizes: 65", 67", 69" MSRP: $600 (As shown)
Radar TRA
Things We Like: Forgiving shape appeals to rookies and young girls advancing in the course. + Scratch-and-sniff strawberry-scented ink top. + Stable platform for easy deepwater starts and carving turns. Size: 63" MSRP: $450 (As shown)
Radar Vapor Lithium Edition
Things We Like: Ultra-light PVC core offers instant feedback out of the turns. + 100 percent carbon laminates provide torsional strength and increase efficiency. + Railed forebody adds mass to the front of the ski for arcing and secure offside turns. Sizes: 63.5", 65", 67", 68" 69.5" MSRP: $2,000 (As shown)