How to Build a Waterski Ramp


Water skiing is a common activity on many bodies of water. However, despite its popularity, finding and purchasing water skiing equipment beyond the skis themselves can be difficult. This is especially true of stunt equipment, which rarely can be permanently anchored in most popular waterways. Fortunately, constructing your own water skiing ramps is a simple and easy process that can be done in any home workshop, and you'll have a ramp that's easy to transport and use.

Things You'll Need

  • 5 sheets of plywood, at least 4-by-6 feet
  • Styrofoam
  • Paint
  • Saw
  • 10 treated 2-by-4 boards
  • Measuring tape
  • Caulk
  • Coated 16-penny nails
  • Coated 6-penny nails
  • Eye bolts
  • Rope
  • Old tires
  • Lay out 2-by-4 boards on their edge in a rectangle the exact length you want your ramp. Measure down the length of the longer part of the rectangle and place in another 2-by-4 every 16 inches. Paint each board with several coats of paint. Nail together the boards with the 16-penny nails. Cut a sheet of plywood and lay it on top of the grid you have assembled and nail it to the top with the 6-penny nails. It will resemble a bookcase at this point. Screw in the eye bolts into each corner, taking care not to crack the wood.

  • Turn over the ramp bottom. Fill each joist with Styrofoam and secure it with waterproof caulk, with the exception of one open area on the end, either the top or bottom of your "bookcase". Cut two 2-by-4's as supports for the top of your ramp. Nail the 2-by-4's into the inside between the joists and then fill the remaining space with Styrofoam and caulk.

  • Saw off the top of the 2-by-4 supports at the angle you wish your ramp to be. Save the scraps and nail them to the bottom of the ramp. Lay a sheet of plywood on the support and nail it to each support. Nail plywood to each side of the ramp, cutting to fit on each side. Paint the plywood panels with several coats once you have attached all sides.

  • Run rope through the eye bolts and place the ramp in the water. Secure the ramp to a dock or another sturdy anchor point. Examine the ramp to ensure that the bottom is fully submerged while the ramp itself is mostly out of the water. If necessary, secure old tires to the sides of the ramp to add buoyancy, threading them through the rope.

Tips & Warnings

  • Start with smaller ramp angles, as they'll be easier to use and construct.
  • Use only waterproof or treated wood, nails and adhesive. Anything else will come apart with prolonged exposure to water.

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  • Photo Credit water ski image by Ahmed Zahir from
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