LAKE ANNA – VIRGINIA’S WATER SKI PARADISE
by Robert Capper ("Barefoot Bob")
Lake Anna is Virginia’s water ski paradise! With all of the lakes, rivers and the entire Chesapeake Bay available to water skiers in central and northern Virginia and southern Maryland, why do so many choose to ski at Lake Anna? The reasons are many.
Convenient Location. One of the reasons is Lake Anna’s convenient location. It is easily accessible from Richmond, Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland. Even though millions of people live within a 90-minute drive of Lake Anna, it is still remote enough that you can really get away from it all. Smooth as glass water with no one else around can be a reality on summer days, not just a skier’s fantasy.
· Size. With over 250 miles of shoreline and 13,000 surface acres of water, Lake Anna is large enough that it is possible to find your own spot away from others. There are many calm coves and inlets perfect for skiing right off the main body of the lake.
· Complete facilities for a day or a week of enjoyable skiing. Lake Anna has all the resources necessary to make your stay fun-filled. Several first class marinas with excellent launch facilities and dry storage. They also offer boat rentals, food and other provisions. You’ll find beautiful camp sites, waterfront motels and weekly house rentals. Enjoy fine restaurants and then consider all the resources of Lake Anna State Park. Lake Anna basically has it all.
· Fresh Water. Another reason for Lake Anna’s popularity is that it contains fresh water, not salt water. This means less corrosion on boats, no skin irritation and no sea nettles (jellyfish) to sting skiers.
How long is the water ski season at Lake Anna?
At Lake Anna, the water ski season can easily last from April through October and even longer with proper precautions. In April, both the air temperature and the water temperature can be cool and either a full wetsuit or preferably a dry-suit are needed for comfort. By May, the air temperature has begun to warm, and so, only a shorty wet-suit may be needed since the water temperature may still be cool, especially before about May 15th. In June, July and August, only a swimsuit is needed.
By September, the air temperature has begun to cool again, yet, the water temperature is still fairly comfortable. For this reason, a shorty wet-suit will help keep you warm against the cool air. In October, it’s time to pull out the full wetsuit or dry-suit, since the air temperature will have dropped even more and the water temperature will feel cool on exposed skin.
Can I find glass-like water at Lake Anna?
Weekends in June, July and August can be busy at Lake Anna. To avoid the crowds, some water skiers begin their weekend ski days early in the morning to beat the rush. The water is also the calmest during the early morning hours, so there is a double advantage to rolling out of the sack extra early. If you are not a morning person, you might try skiing late in the day on summer weekends after the crowds have begun to leave and the water begins to calm again.
During the middle of the day on weekends, be flexible. On some Saturdays and Sundays in July and August, it is possible to find smooth water all day long. However, if the day does get busy, try putting away the slalom ski and pull out the rough water arsenal – the wakeboard, kneeboard or tube. Or, take a break, have lunch and enjoy the lake’s beauty and wait for the crowds to thin. Relaxing is a good thing!
Of course, for the finest conditions, skiing during the week can not be beat. On most weekdays, you can ski from the upper reaches of the Anna River to the dam at the far end of the lake and pass few boats on the way. It’s enough to make you want to quit your job.
What can I do to make water skiing a fun and safe experience?
Here are a few tips on how to enjoy water skiing at Lake Anna and how to avoid the pitfalls:
1) Never drink and water ski. Never ski with a boat driver who has been drinking. And never pull a person water skiing who has been drinking. Alcohol increases the risks associated with water skiing and impairs the thrill of the sport.
2) Be courteous to others using the lake. A little courtesy goes a long way in making your ski day enjoyable. Plus, courtesy opens the door to making new lake friends. Other skiers usually are very willing to give you tips on accomplishing a new trick. Be especially courteous regarding your wakes. If you are tubing, allow the slalom skiers and bare-footers use of the smoothest water and they will gladly return the favor.
3) To prevent injuries when water skiing,
remember to stretch before and after skiing. The
4) Always wear a life vest when skiing.
Regardless of the laws, it just makes sense to
5) Always have an observer on board whose duty it is to watch the skier. The observer should let the driver know when the skier has fallen and pass on hand signals to the driver from the skier.
6) Hold a ski in the air while waiting in the water for the boat to return. By holding a ski (or board or hand) in the air when the skier is the water, they will make themselves much more visible to other boaters who may be using the same waters. It is also a good idea to have someone in the tow boat hold up a flag to signal to other boats that a skier is down.
7) Always approach a downed skier with the skier on the starboard (right) side of the boat and circle the skier in a clockwise direction. By doing so, the skier will be on the driver’s side so that the driver can keep the skier clearly in sight.
This year, have the best time of your life and come ski Lake Anna – Virginia’s Water Ski Paradise!
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