Girl Waterskiing

Watersport Fun: Learn to Walk on Water in Ontario’s Cottage Country

Outdoor adventurer Scott Turnbull and guests get some great instruction for watersports fun in the great Canadian wilderness just north of Toronto.

Visit Ontario’s cottage country during the warmer months and the chances are at some point you’ll see a waterski boat out on one of thousands of lakes or rivers. For generations it’s been known in these parts that a ski boat is the ticket to a wet and wild world of fun.

The good news is, you don’t have to own a boat or equipment either; the great people at places like Bush’s Watersports Park and the Summer Water Sports (SWS) ski school have everything you need to join the fun, including state-of-the-art boats and equipment, world-class instructors, and impressive facilities.

From two-ski to slalom, wakeboarding and wake surfing, to barefooting and tubing – and even flyboarding, the pros at SWS and Bush’s have the gear and the expertise to make all of your watersports dreams come true.

First time on skis at Bush’s

Although she’s a fairly accomplished alpine skier, 9-year-old Mercy had never had success getting up on waterskis. A few earlier attempts behind small boats ended in tears, but she was determined to get up on skis before the end of the summer.

Arriving at Bush’s private lake on a beautiful summer afternoon, instructor Trevor started Mercy off on the dock, showing her how to pull back against the ski rope, and to keep her balance on her feet underneath her. After the on-land lesson, it was into the boat.

Most people who learned to ski will remember dragging deep through the water, struggling to get up on their feet, while adults shouted muffled instructions from the boat. “We don’t do anything like that,” laughed Trevor.

Instead, Bush’s takes novice skiers through a painless, 3-step process. First, the skier starts off right beside the boat, hanging on to a stiff metal boom. From this position, the skier can use the rigidity of the boom to find their balance while the boat gets up to speed, and get comfortable on their feet.

Next, the skier is pulled by a short rope attached to the boom – still right beside the boat on a glassy piece of water, she can easily hear instructions from the coach in the boat in order to finesse her skiing position. Once comfortable on the rope, the skier moves to the long line behind the boat. With all of the skills they’ve just easily learned, getting up on the water is a cinch.

“I did it!” said Mercy with a huge smile, once the session was done. “That was soooo awesome!”

Learning to wake surf at SWS

Jenny, or “Sparkles” as she’s known to her friends, is a hardcore world travelled. She’s caught waves in Bali, kite-surfed in Zanzibar and snowboarded deep powder in Japan. One activity she’d been hoping to cross of her bucket list was wake-surfing, and a mid-summer afternoon lesson at SWS was the perfect opportunity.

Heading out into the open lake, SWS instructors Juliet and Jill walked Jenny through the method to successfully surfing behind the wake boat. A fairly low-impact activity, wake surfing is gentler than waterskiing, but takes a bit of finesse to learn how to ride the wave.

“Get your feet forward! Head up! Inch your way up the rope!”

After each try (and subsequent low-speed fall), Jenny got more and more comfortable on the board until she was able to let go of the rope, and cut a few turns on the wave.

“I did it!” she said! “Now I’m totally addicted and can’t wait to go again!”

Woman Wakesurfing

Book your own lesson

If you’ve been putting off learning that new skill on the water – whether it’s learning how to ski for the first time, or taking your skiing to the next level – now’s the time! Visit Bush’s at or SWS at to book your lesson today.

For more information on watersports rentals in the great Canadian wilderness just north of Toronto, click here.

Guest Blogger: Scott Turnbull is a professional photographer and terrible waterskier based in Windermere, Muskoka.