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Water skiing instructor Steve Slone welcomes summer students

BY CYNTHIA J. THOMAS, Staff Writer

 

Have you envisioned yourself gliding across the lake on water skis, but the reality is you’ve never actually learned to ski? Or maybe you’re slightly familiar with skiing or wakeboarding, but not sure about assisting a beginner? Whether you want to learn for the first time, brush up on technique, gain new skills adapted to the environment of Table Rock Lake, or learn safe tubing techniques for fun on the water, Steve Slone of Branson Water Ski School can help!




 

Slone’s hometown of Hays, Kansas, offered only a small county lake nearby, but his family regularly visited Lake of the Ozarks during his growing-up years where he honed his slalom skiing, jumping and trick skiing expertise. He continued his interest in athletics at Dodge City, Kansas, Community College, and attended Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe, Louisiana, where he was a member of three National Championship ski teams. He then pursued professional and show skiing for many years, including a stint as the lead skier for Marine World.

 

Skiing has been a family thing; Steve’s sister Sherri was a world champion jumper and U. S. team member for six years and is listed in the water ski Hall of Fame. The Branson Water Ski School was founded by their dad, Don Slone, whose career included teaching and coaching as well as an insurance business that frequently brought him to Bull Shoals Lake and Table Rock Lake near Big Cedar. Steve is in his second season of operating the business after moving to the Branson area from Louisiana. His dad, 86, waterskied as recently as last year, but health concerns now limit his athletic activity, and it was time to slow down with the business as well.

 

Branson Water Ski School, which is based at the Bent Hook Marina at Big Cedar, is fully insured and licensed with the Coast Guard. Slone keeps his boat at Big Cedar, along with a full range of equipment including skis, slalom skis, wake boards, a tube, and proper protective gear. He is a contracted instructor for Big Cedar guests, but also welcomes other students as his schedule permits.

 

Asked about his instruction techniques, Slone emphasized that safety is first priority. For beginners to start, he uses a boom, which attaches to the driver’s side of the boat. This provides stability while the skier practices positioning their legs and feet, turning, etc., at a slower speed than is required for using a ski rope. It also allows for good communication between the driver and skier for instructions during the learning process. His boat carries five passengers in addition to the driver, so several family members can participate or a more experienced skier can join a younger one in the water if desired.

 

In addition to his expertise as a skier, Slone is an experienced driver. “Driving counts,” he said, explaining the importance of a good straight pull from the water at the right speed. Even with tubing, generally thought of as safer and easier than skiing, there are better and worse ways to create fun and excitement; a reckless or poorly-timed maneuver could land a rider under an upside-down tube.

 

If you’re ready to learn, this summer is a great time to contact Steve at Branson Water Ski School through the Big Cedar website, by phone at 225-245-4231, or by email at skibranson1@yahoo.com, and get the skills to have some fun on the lake!

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