Vintage Water Skis

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Here’s what to look for when buying vintage water skis

Waterskiing is an incredibly popular sport these days and only becoming more and more popular, but folks have been waterskiing ever since 1922 (and likely even earlier than that).

1922 was the year that a Minnesota man named Ralph Samuelson strapped to 8 foot long pine boards that he had steam bent at home and attached a couple of leather straps to headed out onto open water and water skied for the first recorded time in history – and since then the sport has skyrocketed and been enjoyed by millions and millions of people all over the world.

And while the odds are pretty good that you won’t be able to get your hands on a 1922 vintage set of water skis created by Ralph Samuelson any longer, vintage water skis certainly exist on the market today and some of them have proven to be incredibly valuable.

Age is just a number (most of the time)

The most important thing you can remember when you are shopping for vintage water skis is that the age of the skis is just a number (most of the time) and the market really doesn’t care whether or not the skis were made in 1970 or 1980.


Now, if we’re talking about skis from the 1930s and the 1940s age definitely starts to play a role in the overall value of vintage skis – but even then the actual age of the skis may not be quite as important as you think at first.

Some of the offbrand vintage water skis out there can be incredibly valuable – and some are junk

Some of the offbrand vintage skis out there on the market right now are incredibly valuable, just because they usually were so wacky, usually featured incredible design elements that the mainstream never really took advantage of, and most of them featured stunning graphics and design elements that just look real cool these days.


Not everything wacky and wild (and vintage) is all that valuable in the world of water skis, however. Some offbrand water skis that have more than a few decades under their belts are even less valuable today than they were when they were brand-new, and it’s important you remember this when you’re looking for pieces to add to your collection.

Condition is everything

At the end of the day, like everything else vintage, condition is absolutely everything when you’re talking about the overall value of water skis. Some skis are so historic and so rare that they are valuable in any condition, but the overwhelming majority of vintage skis should be in reasonable condition (even if you’ve never take them out on the water again) to have any real or tangible value going forward.

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