We have just returned from a 2 week holiday in Barbados staying at Sugar Hill for 9 days and then at The Little House in Maynards for the last 5 days and during our stay we all wanted to have a go at water skiing.
Karen from Paradise Rentals, who we booked our holiday through, recommended a water ski coach called Andrew who had taught her to mono ski years ago when she first visited the island. Andrew was recommended as a very talented and skilful teacher who is a great communicator and fun to be with. A real professional who you feel puts safety as his first priority.
My friend’s son James was going to be celebrating his 15th birthday while we were there and as part of his birthday present we all wanted to buy him a lesson and, if at all possible, get him to the point where he could mono ski before we left.
We arranged to meet Andrew the water ski coach on the beach below Sugar Hill, in front of the Fairmont Royal Pavilion Hotel, and off we went for his first lesson.
There was room for up to three spectators and so myself and my friend tagged along so that we could take pictures and videos in order for James to monitor his progress
James had done water skiing once before and knew how to get up out of the water (one of the trickier aspects) so Andrew did not have to start right with the basics but he said that he preferred to judge for himself where people were up to and so talked James through all the starting points. Andrew had such a wonderful manner and we all giggled at the white hard hat that he had on the boat for his use if it started to rain.
James got up first time and skied along behind the boat. Andrew had a mirror that he could look into while driving the boat so that he could give him instructions as we went along on how to improve his position and posture. He kept signalling for James to push is chest out and stand proud.
As we went up and down the coastline you could see James’ confidence growing and by the end of the first lesson Andrew was really pleased with his achievements and also for the fact that he had listened and took in what Andrew was saying. We booked James’ second lesson straight away for the next morning. Karen had told us that if possible it was really nice to ski early morning or late afternoon when the sea was calm.
This time Andrew concentrated on getting James to cross over the wake and also to work out which was James’s leading leg so that he knew which he should use when he was ready to move up to a mono ski (skiing on just one ski).
As we were going up and down the shoreline he also managed to keep my friend and I up to date with the hotels, restaurants and private houses which are along the beach. He was a great tour guide with lots of local knowledge. Andrew has been teaching water skiing for many years and told us that he is now teaching youngsters whose grandparents he also taught. That has to be testament of how many people return to the island and how good his teaching skills are.
On James’ lesson the next day Andrew started him on a mono ski. It took James three attempts at starting, and then he was up out of the water and away which was great to see. We all cheered ! This encouraged my friend and I to have a go, and again Andrew got us both up and skiing during our first lesson.
I am definitely going to have some more lessons when I return to Barbados later in the year and I know that James is really chuffed to be able to tell his school friends on his return to school next week that he learnt to mono ski for Xmas 2014 !
Written by Clare T.