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TOPIC: Slack 28 off, 32mph

Slack 28 off, 32mph 3 years ago #8558

Hi, first post. I have followed many threads here, and find them very interesting and instructive!
I'm in my 70th year, so skiing at 32 mph - but enjoy skiing a lot and its fun to see if possible to build on existing skills in effort to meet next challenge / line length
Long line working "ok", but 28 off is mystery. I think I could use some of my existing skills to improve at 28 (and maybe 32), but I get so much slack off the buoy - especially on off side turn. I assume the problem is the usual - insufficient body alignment to get really good zip on way to wake, pulling too long, and skiing insufficiently wide? But I see that I do spend more time (frame count) wake to buoy than buoy to wake ... Seems I just don't slow down enough when i make the corner and turn inbound:( Buoy 2 of last pass (attached) is so typical of what I find frustrating - seems like I have time and space above the buoy, but turn the corner and find rope in water and nothing to hook up to to keep things on pace??
Would appreciate any thoughts on "way forward"!?

(and I don't usually get to ski on this amazing pond:)

Re: Slack 28 off, 32mph 3 years ago #8560

Impossible to pinpoint without video but you are likely skiing "the impossible line".

The line you are taking through the course and thr rhythm you're on is likely the cause.

Too fast and Jerky vs smooth and progressive. It all starts when you make that first move to pullout, or even earlier when you're just standing on the ski waiting to pull out...

Generally slack is due to skiing narrow and too fast into the buoy but you need to find out why those things are happenning.

Re: Slack 28 off, 32mph 3 years ago #8561

  • BudDavis
  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
Hi Miller,
I am eager to see yourr video and see if anyone here can offer some assistance.

You need to go into your Youtube page and make this video public. It is set to private right now and we cannot view it.

Re: Slack 28 off, 32mph 3 years ago #8562

  • BudDavis
  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
Great skiing Miller.
I hope I am skiing that well when I am in my 70th year.
I am 58, and am having trouble getting off of the back of my ski. I think a lot of us “Old schoolers” have that problem.
It looks to me like you might be on the back of your ski and using your upper body to pull yourself narrow to the buoys.
When the line is longer, it is easier to get by with that, but at 28off, we are closer to 45° off to the side of the boat, which makes it harder to ski on the back of the ski.
My suggestions after watching your video:
1) Keep up the great skiing.
2) Try to stand more balanced over your front foot.
3) Try to hold the handle low and transfer the pull from the boat through your hip and to your ski.
4) Try to lean off the side of the ski and not towards the back of the ski.
5) Visualize yourself leaving the wakes and headed to an earlier target than the buoy.

I look forward to reading what others see in the video.

Re: Slack 28 off, 32mph 3 years ago #8563

  • LEE
  • So, your sayin' there's a chance!

You do so many things right it is awesome! -and you are LFF!

Hey, you are Sooooooooooo freaking early into #2 @ 1:24 it is RIDICULOUS!!! (observe image below)


You've already changed edges (the #2 ball IS NOWHERE IN SIGHT!) and are beautifully on your turning edge into #2. Unfortunately, it appears that you may have zero'd in on the Ball and then like a magnet, went literally straight down course (Very Fast) right at the Ball and then were forced into a quick Turn & Burn back to #3...

The excess speed generated by going straight down course is your biggest nemesis. The 2nd thing that I see ( and suffer from myself on my off-side) is; you are allowing your Butt to drag (breaking fwd and wgt'ing the back of the ski) and your Bellybutton to point @ the Buoy instead of countering and pointing toward the shoreline.

I like the knee bend. But, I believe you want to strive to stand TALLER and PROUDER, (keeping that knee bend!)
and wgt'ing the Ball of your front foot, Force your Chest, Hips Pelvic up and FWD, with your body Countered slightly towards the shoreline.( starting from your ankles all the way to your shoulders.)

Easier said then done! BUT, you do an awesome job executing these things on your on-side. A little improvement on your off-side, will go a LONG way towards fixing that #2 Ball!

Good Luck! -and Great skiing, very inspiring!

Re: Slack 28 off, 32mph 3 years ago #8564

Thanks Bud and Lee for comments. Can readily identify with critiques!! Not so easy to fix:)
Since I hate slack -- I'm interested in developing a list of anything and everything that contributes to slack - even for you guys who are so accomplished!?

Thanks again for taking a look and comments and suggestions!

Re: Slack 28 off, 32mph 3 years ago #8565

Miller - I aspire to still be skiing at 70!
I think Bud and Lee have given you Everything you need to know - as always the same thing explained differently can aid in clarity so I'll have a go as well

The primary reason for the slack is, as you correctly said, because you are going too fast - to be specific - you are going faster than the boat. To keep the line tight you need to turn only when going the same speed as the boat (think about the gate - this is how you keep the line tight there).

The question everyone asks and gets confused with is "if I have lots of space , then how do I slow down?"

The problem is actually quite different. - yes you are early and slowing would help, but if you were going in the right direction, slowing would take care of itself.

My assessment of your particular problem is that you are taking the load from the boat a little too early, which is reducing your angle into the wake and causing you to head straight at the bouy.
I would suggest trying to delay the load to the first white water - accelerate through both wakes and then ride the ski outbound. (Ski changes edge but you keep your lean away)
It is really really important that you don't try to turn (even though you are early and see the bouy coming). Wait - pause - show the observer that you have paused (keeps you going out) then when you are at the same speed as the boat carve a nurtural turn without forcing it, so you can wait and pick up the boat later (white water again).
Skiing like this will feel really different and most likely slow and easy
You already just about do it at the gate so I am sure you will manage it.
It's also a much safer way of skiing than turn and burn and taking hits!

Of course alignment etc is crucial but from your question it is course management that is foxing you.
All the best!

Re: Slack 28 off, 32mph 3 years ago #8566

Hello all

Thanks Bud, Kylefraser, Lee, and Kevin for thoughtful and instructive comments and coaching / advice. Its interesting how one tends to see in a video only what one is looking for! Then when someone points something out – its like “wow, it right there looking at me”. I’m a newbie, but a very interested student of the sport. I must say – it does seems to me to be the most technically demanding of about any sport with which I’ve been involved. And the video accessibility makes it so compelling to study! This is a really great site, and I suspect everyone visiting / participating appreciates greatly the time and expertise of informed discussions and free coaching!!!
So I see exactly what each of you are all saying about nemesis slack – definitely stuff to work on: Better posture and stacking is always a plus, but I can see here where standing prouder into off side should get weight off back of ski and allow (potentially) better outbound arc and more room and time (to slow) at buoy.
Kevin’s comment are really interesting – mostly cuz I can intuit that they are on the money, but don't quite understand a few things. Kevin said (in part): : “My assessment is that you are taking the load from the boat a little too early, which is reducing your angle into the wake and causing you to head straight at the buoy. I would suggest trying to delay the load to the first white water - accelerate through both wakes and then ride the ski outbound. (Ski changes edge but you keep your lean away. It is really really important that you don't try to turn (even though you are early and see the buoy coming). Wait - pause - show the observer that you have paused (keeps you going out) then when you are at the same speed as the boat carve a natural turn without forcing it, so you can wait and pick up the boat later (white water again).”
Sounds really good!! But here is what I’m finding difficult to understand: isn’t it the case that the path the handle takes over the water is completely determined by the length of the line and the speed of the ski? If so, how can one “just ski wide and not at the buoy”??
If the path of the ski is to be wider – seems (to me) that the ski has to me moving faster (more speed earlier thru wakes before edge change, or less slowing immediately after after the wakes / edge change) , AND / OR the ski has to be doing something different than the handle? I’m thinking that that (ski doing something different than the handle) is in fact what happens ? when:
1. the skier “pauses”,
2. assumes better body position (hips forward and reverse C),
3. gets butt off the back of the ski, and
4. counters into the turn
Would it be true to say that all of this is at least part of what lets the ski cast wider than handle? If so, is the physics of less slack with these adjustments at least partly related to allowing the ski to arc a larger radius (traveling over longer path) than handle, and thereby “permit” the ski to never slow all the way to the boat speed – but rather avoid slack by using the “extra speed” (which skier is trying to manage) to travel the extra distance and catch up to the handle at hook up without slack?? If this is part of what happens – I can see an advantage – more speed conservation, less acceleration and deceleration (and less forces on the old bod:)?

Finally, I'm hoping Kevin can say a bit more about "It is really really important that you don't try to turn (even though you are early and see the buoy coming). Wait - pause - show the observer that you have paused (keeps you going out)".... Same puzzle: once on the new edge, isn't the skier on a line / arc determined by the speed of the ski and line length? How does one "wait before turning"? and how do we "pause"? Is this about casting ski to different arc than handle? (I think I do understand that its really the handle thats on a predetermined arc!?)

In any event, appreciate again time and thoughts and expert coaching. May be awhile before back on the water again to try something different.

Thanks again

Re: Slack 28 off, 32mph 3 years ago #8567

  • BudDavis
  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.

I think this might have been a question of yours. "(I think I do understand that its really the handle thats on a predetermined arc!?)"

In my opinion, I do not think it is predetermined. The boat is applying a set speed to the handle in the X direction, and we turn the ski towards the Y direction, which increases the handle speed. The more the ski is turned, the faster the handle travels cross course and moves in a different path. (You refereed to "arc".) I think we can change our skier speed and the path the handle takes from buoy to buoy and through the course.

I believe you are correct that the ski travels a different path than the handle.

I also currently believe a common trait of some of the more successful skiers is a quick and big edge change. However, it is very important to continue outbound at and after the edge change.


Re: Slack 28 off, 32mph 3 years ago #8568


Lot of great tips here, but I would like to address the effects of ZO.

I am not that far from your age, 67, so I can relate to a lot of what your saying. For me ZO was the big game changer. What ever you do to it, it will come right back at you the same way. If you load hard and fast, it comes back hard and fast. Slower and progressive, comes back more progressive. The trick being to make it work for you and not against you.

Another Trick is to learn to "HIDE" from ZO, which will help with your slack problem. My ski partner had the same problem at 38 off that your having. We both ski the same line lengths, 32 -39, but he is 20 years younger, and adapts well to input.

At 38 off he was carrying to much speed into the ball, turning hard, and having to wait on the slack to come out before he could load. To cure this I showed him how to carry a different line out after the edge change and not be riding down the buoy line to the ball. We started with the pull out for the gates. He was getting wide, but not up on the boat. Changed his mind set to just getting up on the boat by using more COM and force in the pullout with a edge change/release that allowed the ski to carry out more, by using ZO to propel him wider, earlier, and free of the boat. Thus now hiding from ZO, since it could sense no load, and no longer knew he was there. He had enough momentum to carry him through the turn in and to get into his stacked loaded position, then tell ZO, "I'm HERE," and load on his terms, thus using ZO to propel him outbound, through the Rev.C, and into a earlier, wider pre-turn.

By learning to start wider up on the boat, he learned to start with MORE angle thru the gates, and propel himself up farther and wider on the boat throughout the course. I pointed out that after the edge change, and when he started to release the handle, he needed to think of it as the Ski taking the Handle out wide. To do this by releasing pressure as you feed the handle out to full extension. The RELEASE of pressure on the ski is what allows it to continue out on a wider path It also frees you from ZO, thus "HIDING." While feeding the handle out, is an excellent time to be bringing the inside hip forward, establishing your counter. When you run out off rope the ski will turn in on it's own....DO NOT rotate the upper body...Just LET the ski finish it's turn. ZO doesn't know your there yet, and you can get into your stacked, powerful position before it does. Now you can dictate the LOAD to ZO and not the reverse. Once again building the load , for the momentum you need, to do it all over again.

Hope I didn't confuse you to much. Let me know if any of this helps you.

PS: Where are you skiing at, looks like a great site !!!! ED

Re: Slack 28 off, 32mph 3 years ago #8569

  • AB
Miller, I will add a point that I think may help on your 246. I believe that the real issue is that you are not keeping your chest pointed outbound long enough going into 246. It even starts with the gate setup, as your chest seems to be looking over the ski and ready to turn. I would like to see you pull your left shoulder back and rotate from the hips to push your right hip forward in the gate glide, and then going into 246. Think of pulling a weed wacker starter rope with your left hand. This will help the ski head out wider and let it ski away from the handle, at apex, more of the front of your ski will be in the water and turn effortlessly back to the wakes, at which time, all you need to do is focus on getting your left hip rotated back to the handle (notice I didn't say pull the handle in to your hip).

You are trying to "manage" the turns on your offside. When your chest is looking back into the course, you are telling the ski to turn too early. Let it run out and you will feel the ski come back under you with ease. This will also help the ski hookup better on the gate setup, as more ski will be in the water with your right hip pushed forward.

Note your chest position on freeze frame going into each offside turn. Then go out and try keeping your chest pointed out past the buoy line longer. Should be a noticeable difference..


Re: Slack 28 off, 32mph 3 years ago #8570

Thank Bud (and everyone – coaching critiques are following a common theme: better outbound focus after edge change with better counter, better posture will help with offside slack. Again, I can intuit that this is going to make a big difference – but my nature is such that I am also looking to understand physics of how these adjustments improve the problem???
First - the disclaimer: I am obviously a slalom ski neophyte – so anything I’m “suggesting” re physics of what’s going on with course dynamics must bear that in mind. But I was physics major long long ago, and I am fascinated by trying to understand different / best solutions to the problem of how to get down the course most efficiently / with least effort as the line shortens….. and it seems to me at the moment that avoiding slack is ONE key factor☺
So -- RE Bud’s comments re: the handle and determined arc issue: I know the speed of the skier clearly effects the arc skied. But can the skier really effect the speed after edge change?? I have been thinking that with a GIVEN speed, the arc of the handle is in fact determined. I can appreciate that the line that the ski tracks may not and should not be the arc of the handle, but there can only be “so much” variation between path of handle and that of the ski. So I’m thinking speed into edge change is a variable that depends on all the usual stuff buoy to edge change including staring point at hook up, working in right work zone, acceleration on way in, release into edge change. But (here’s the question I hope everyone will respond to) what can the skier do to control speed (and there for handle arc and ultimately ski arc) after the edge change??? When someone says “don't ski at the buoy, ski wide towards shore” – I’m thinking this in nuts cuz after the edge change, the speed is what it is the arc of the handle is in fact determined. Unless, of course, the skier can do stuff to change speed / deceleration after the edge change??? It seems to me that the arc of ski relative to handle might have a lot to do with all the excellent critiques that everyone is setting forth (including more up right posture, prouder chest, countering, hips forward, weight forward, trying not to turn, pausing, directing everything towards shore. I can see that all of those things could put ski on advantaged arc (relative to the handle) and lead to better turn dynamic that minimizes down course travel of ski as turn is executed – and that this would minimize slack. But what about actual speed control after the edge change? Do these same (critiques) things slow the speed of the ski (re slack management)?? – or is it in fact more of a change of the dynamic of ski vs handle to make slack issue better???
So back to question: while there’s lots that the skier can do control speed on way to edge change, what can skier do to control speed after the edge change??? If on turning edge, can pressure in the rope be managed so as to control the deceleration that is occurring on way to apex?? If weight is shifted forward on to front foot, does this actually “brake” and slow the ski? Again: does expert countering slow the ski, or just set up for better / slackless turn?
Sorry so long winded .. again great to have expert discussion, appreciate time and thoughts! Cuz of winter coming, not much quality skiing left to try new stuff, but I seem to know that suggestions are going to “work” .. but still trying to understanding why☺

Re: Slack 28 off, 32mph 3 years ago #8571

Hey Ed
Thanks for weighing in! Actually I think I understand pretty much all of what you said. I like the part about starting wider – for all the reasons you mention! Also liked what you said about release and “When you run out off rope the ski will turn in on it's own”. This maybe gets back to understanding how posture changes and countering corrects slack issues by improving dynamic of relationship of handle to ski during set up and turn? This is never going to happen for me unless I make changes that you all are suggesting. (incidentally, I have a friend who counters like craze – maybe too much – but he never gets slack !!)
ZO off – I hear what you are saying, but at my level, not sure it makes to much difference? I use B2 just because that what I started with … any thought that another “number” would make a difference given issues I’m working with?
I am truly impressed that you are skiing into 39s - my vintage!! What speed? Men’s 7? I have wondered if stuff that experts do and say they do to make the course manageable – really apply at 32 mph?
Place skiing in Video is Hidden Pass - private pond Rochester NY area with two gracious owners who are kind enough to have us duffers over quite often .. which is such a pleasure – cuz skiing on public water is so tough to improve on, and I think potentially quite dangerous!

Re: Slack 28 off, 32mph 3 years ago #8572

So perfect – and inline with what others are noting and coaching me to work on / correct! You guys are great! And your comments point again (I think?) to posture and counter as primarily improving dynamic between ski and handle which automatically? Improves turn in a way that should reduce slack. Thanks! Looking forward to trying, but running out of ski weather!

Re: Slack 28 off, 32mph 3 years ago #8573


Understanding ZO is a key element to efficiency in running the course...I would say Nate Smith is the best I've seen at accomplishing that. Using B2 is a good choice. I use B2+ since the plus gives me a little extra boost...The A's tend to stay on you a little too long and the C's can hit back a little harder.

As far as 32 mph goes, I actually ran all my PB's at 34...32 may make the longer lines feel easier because you can get away with pulling long, however, you loose a lot of momentum at 32 for the shorter lines.To my knowledge, no one has yet to run 39 at 32 in a sanctioned tournament. I have only done it at 34 myself and not 32. Working on it though, and really hope to do it next season. The problem seems to be it requires a lot more load to create the necessary momentum that I talked about in the previous post. Believe me, if I do, I will post a video and throw a major party. Right now, my main thing is consistency..I feel confident with that at 32 and 35, and up to 3 ball at 38, then I start reverting back to old habits..Drives me nuts because I know what to do, it's the subconscious that thinks it knows better..Kind of the Old Dogs New Tricks thing.

Well looks like you have gotten a lot of good advice on here and should have plenty of things to work on..Allowing the ski to carry out on it's own, away from the handle, while bringing the inside hip forward, coming into the apex, and letting the ski finish the turn, without ZO knowing your there, will solve your speed issue.

Good luck and keep us informed..We are all working on something.

Re: Slack 28 off, 32mph 3 years ago #8574

Hi Miller,
Some great information so far (a lot of information in fact and all very good advice)
Your questions about the arc of the handle and speed / direction is exactly what I meant - realising they are going too fast, everyone then wants to find out how to slow down. We have all at one time or another tried moving bindings, fin settings , wing etc which usually makes no difference whatso ever.
You are really very close in your assumption about the speed you are generating being the key - you need less speed coming into the bouy.

how to achieve this?
If you agree from the above that "slowing down" doesn't really work then you will try to reduce the speed you generate when you contact with the boat - makes sense , less speed generated before the wake = less speed after ? BUT currently your direction off the second wake is incorrect - yes the handle follows a predetermined arc, you need to follow it more quickly though, so you are out wider earlier ( on that arc) and waiting to slow to the speed of the boat before you turn.

If you reduce you speed with the current line in the offside you may make it to bouy width at the correct speed to turn without slack but will be narrow and have to make a very accurate tight turn to keep things going ( this may actually be the coordinates concept of a few years ago).


As I said before I would suggest that, practicaly, what you do is delay your connection with the boat to the first white water and then use a short sharp acceleration through the wakes to throw you out wide and early. Connecting later, like the guys have said above, is the key - it just changes the geometry of the course , hides you from ZO and makes it all slower, (the earlier you connect the faster and narrower it all seems.)

With regards to the "pausing" this is something I have been working on recently with my coach, the video below shows an example of where I am. See if you can tell where I manage to "pause" (or "hover" ) correctly and where I miss it.

All the best,



Re: Slack 28 off, 32mph 3 years ago #8575

  • BudDavis
  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
Awesome skiing Kevin!

Re: Slack 28 off, 32mph 3 years ago #8577

  • BudDavis
  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
I did not want to derail this thread, so I started this thread (link below) on skiing 39.5off/10.75m at slower speeds.


By the way, notice the mile of slack out of the buoys on my videos. So Miller, obviously the slack is one of my menaces.

Re: Slack 28 off, 32mph 3 years ago #8578

Hi Kevin
Thx again for time, thoughts, and patience.
Your video - what a sweet pass! Yes, i can see the "pause"! Whenever I see that in a video - it always seems that the skier is doing something "really right", but hard to understand exactly what that is? Can you articulate what you are doing to accomplish the pause (which I assume is same as "hover")? Is it a matter of "trying really really hard not to turn"?
And the "benefit" (which I can guess from all the earlier discussions:) ?

Re: Slack 28 off, 32mph 3 years ago #8580

You are correct it is very much a conscious effort not to turn.
When you get swung out to bouy width you focus on not letting your shoulders get pulled in. ( the same as keeping shoulders level, trying to head fit shore , countering etc) the goal though is to keep your body tall and upright whilst you cruise out with a tight line. This will only work if you load later as as I suggested.
It also ( and here's where it will probably become confusing) will result in the "reverse C" position that Ed mentioned above
The goal of the "hover" is to " disconnect " your upper and lower halves, keep you going out with a tight line and allow you to turn with your hips rather than your shoulders which currently do ( see one of the photos posted above).
You can see that this raises lots of other points !
I recommend that rather than getting confused you just get out there and try and load later to see what haopens, when you end up early and wide,just try not to turn until you have to, the use your hips to turn (inside hip forward) and see how this feels.

Lots and lots to work on - it's taken me about 3 years to get to this stage and I've a long way to go (4 ball I missed totally and had to just go with the flow resulting in the "hit".


Re: Slack 28 off, 32mph 3 years ago #8581

Hey Richard, What public water do you ski on in Rochester?

Re: Slack 28 off, 32mph 3 years ago #8582

Hi ski puny

Usually ski on Irondequoit bay.... Ski club there. But water is only skiable in early spring or late fall or 5AM Iin summer:(
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