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TOPIC: An experiment - has anyone ever tried...

An experiment - has anyone ever tried... 7 months, 3 weeks ago #9830

I'm throwing out a bunch of things here so thank you for obliging me. So we tend to pull too long right? We should be done pulling at like mid-wake? This would take a patient driver, but has anyone tried just letting go of the rope after the wakes and allowing their speed and momentum to take them out to and around the buoy? Or am I thinking of it all wrong? Are we still getting energy somehow from the boat after the wakes even though we're not pulling?

Re: An experiment - has anyone ever tried... 7 months, 3 weeks ago #9831

  • BudDavis
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  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
I really like how you think about different things.

I think it is worth trying to see what happens, but we probably need the support of the handle for balance.

But again, I think it would be a neat experiment.

Re: An experiment - has anyone ever tried... 7 months, 3 weeks ago #9832

What is important to note here is the most important aspect. That is separating ski load from handle load. As an example, watch Nate Smith's Gates. First he is way up on the boat to start with. Then when he turns in he will put an immense lean/load to cast out off centerline, the Reverse C. In order to do that he will release ski pressure first, while still maintaining his lean. He will momentarily be in the leaned position, away from the boat, with the ski now on the other edge. That's why it's called the Rev. C, since that is what it looks like from the shore.

The important part is keeping that handle pressure, keeping the handle tight to your core. At this point you are not pulling, but actually pushing down on the handle, while squeezing it close to your core. The whole purpose is to build swing speed, to put you back up on the boat again.

So in answer to the original question. Yes you can build enough momentum to release off the centerline and make it around the buoy, but it is totally wrong to release ski pressure and handle pressure at the same time, because you will loose swing speed, and the boat will be moving away from you as you slow down, and you will keep getting narrower at each ball.

Hope this helps !!!

Re: An experiment - has anyone ever tried... 7 months, 3 weeks ago #9833

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Re: An experiment - has anyone ever tried... 7 months, 3 weeks ago #9837

  • AB
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If you let go of the handle mid-wakes or right after, make sure to take video.
I have had handle breaks in the middle and they are not fun or pretty!

Pros get so much more angle than average and even good skiers that they can transition much sooner. Every once in a while we may hit the right position by accident and have one of those wide eyed leans into the wake, but for the most part, we just don't lean away from the boat nearly as low to the water. Top skiers almost have their down hip skimming the water surface at times.

One thing you have to really watch is where the pressure is in your hands. Coming out of the turn or going into the gate, it should be in your lead hand, right going to 1 ball, and then as you enter mid wakes, you transfer more load into your trailing hand, left going to one ball. This keeps the handle in tight without pulling your upper body and shoulders over toward the boat. If you keep pressure on the right hand going to one ball, the boat will pull your right shoulder toward the boat, and you won't be able to keep your chest pointed outbound to ride the widest path to the buoy.

I also think I missed more shortline passes from over-pulling than under pulling.

Re: An experiment - has anyone ever tried... 4 months, 3 weeks ago #9854

  • RL
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I have actually seen someone try something similar to that where they would let go shortly after the wake crossing and then try to turn the buoy without the rope, you're right ...it does take a patient driver.

One other thing you said "We should be done pulling at like mid-wake?" Most people in skiing have restated this and the literal interpretation may be messing some people up.
Someone stated somewhere "pull all the way to the ball but change edges at the centerline". At the time I saw this stated, I was taking my thinking in a different direction and this closely aligned with the direction my brain was trying to go.

Before I got to that understanding, I had to remove any concept of skiing being a tug-o-war.

Re: An experiment - has anyone ever tried... 4 months, 3 weeks ago #9855

  • BudDavis
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  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
I wonder if a skier let go of the handle farther outside the wake. I wonder how much support the handle gives a skier in the pre-turn. Looking at these two screen captures, it would appear there is an absence of line tension. Nate is at 32 then 39 and Andy is at 39.

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Re: An experiment - has anyone ever tried... 2 months, 1 week ago #9891

  • RL
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So we tend to pull too long right? We should be done pulling at like mid-wake? Questions posed by Falcon Eddie.
I know when I've skied my best, the transition started at centerline without me making it happen...or so I thought. So about a year ago due to some severe back issues for a few years and at 59 years old, I decided that if I wanted to continue skiing, I needed to fix a number of my skiing deficiencies. There were a number of stages, trials and errors, bad days, inspiring days, etc. For the sake of brevity and the point of this post, one of 2 keys I have right now is to pull the handle to my navel at centerline and raise it as I travel to about 45* to my upper stomach, then feed it with arm tension as I approach apex, all while hopefully not changing body position (hopefully perfectly aligned, arrow straight) It's a work in progress, but when I get it "right", I have space, speed and a tight rope at apex and my "edge change" happened at centerline because my handle was attached to my core through the swing phase....all without ever thinking of "where do I edge change?"

I expect some on here will say "yeah, I do something like that" and others will say "that's ridiculous, you're going to go out the front"....thoughts?

Re: An experiment - has anyone ever tried... 2 months, 1 week ago #9892

  • BudDavis
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  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
I like what you described RL.

My skiing has always been all over the place. Sometimes I feel certain things that I do not feel other times. I have at some times felt line tension past center line and out to the buoy, and some times I feel like I am way out running the rope.

I think doing what you are doing is important and helpful.


I do think what happens after center line, and what we are able to do after center line, and what we are able to even think about after center line, is greatly affected by what we do before center line. I believe we need to build cross course speed and cross course direction into the center. A good body position should enable us to do that. It also takes a good body position to maintain what we created.

Re: An experiment - has anyone ever tried... 2 months, 1 week ago #9893

  • RL
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Bud, that's my other key...how I get to center line. The alignment/lean/direction combination dictates how easy or hard pulling the handle in is at the center (as well as timing the start). As i work through this it feels like building blocks, the cleaner I get into center, the easier it is to control my handle connection, the better I control my swing connection, the better I get into center.

Re: An experiment - has anyone ever tried... 2 months, 1 week ago #9894

  • BudDavis
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  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
Yes sir, I agree with you.

So, where does it start?

What is the first thing to teach a beginner?

To me, it goes back to how does a drinking straw get driven into a tree during a tornado. I think it is proper alignment. So, for a slalom skier, I think standing straight up on the center of the ski, and locking their body in proper alignment can transfer the power of the boat into the ski. Then if the ski is pointed correctly, the skier does not have to physically work as hard to be wide and early.

My feeling is to learn pretty much in this order:
1) how to stand on the ski
2) understand the desired path through the course
3) how to tilt on the ski (NOT LEAN TO BACK OF SKI) to ride that path
4) develop rhythm or tempo

Some people can learn and maintain these things with only a little time on the water. They are not natural to me, and I have to spend a lot of time on the water.

How about you. What do you think?

Re: An experiment - has anyone ever tried... 2 months, 1 week ago #9895

Bud is exactly correct when he made the following statement above...QUOTE

"I do think what happens after center line, and what we are able to do after center line, and what we are able to even think about after center line, is greatly affected by what we do before center line. I believe we need to build cross course speed and cross course direction into the center. A good body position should enable us to do that. It also takes a good body position to maintain what we created."

The key to getting into that great loading position is to do it before ZO knows you are there. It requires a Stacked FORWARD lean, ahead of the ski. Then the load from ZO will accelerate the ski from behind you to ahead of you, doing the edge change for you.

One of the best at doing this is Will Asher. I once asked him if getting that far forward doesn't make him feel like an OTF is coming like it does for me when I try that. His answer was, "I just do it and I know the ski will catch me."

Also, if you notice from the pictures above with Nate and Andy, you clearly see they are FREE of the boat coming into the Apex. This is a key point. They don't come off the apex by pulling the rope in and cranking the turn. They use their front foot load to push off, like a runner off the starting block, and with their body well inside the the turn radius, fall into their stacked loading position.

Chris Rossi once stated, "I fall from the Apex to the Centerline." Key point being ZO doesn't know your there till you Load it from a fully stacked loading position. For me, when done right, will feel like ZO picks you up and flings you across. This goes along with what Andy Mapple told me in April 2010. "You have to make ZO work for you and not against you."

This all also goes along with what I learned skiing with Steve Schnitzer, inventor of the adjustable fin and wing...... Steve had 2 statements he always made. (1)The first half of the wake is for acceleration and the second half for deceleration. (2) The ski should always be moving in relation to the handle.

I hope some of these statements I learned from some of the best skier/coaches will help explain in depth the effect of proper load on the cast out, edge change, and acceleration off of Apex.

Re: An experiment - has anyone ever tried... 2 months, 1 week ago #9896

  • RL
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1) how to stand on the ski
No doubt, Fundamental, this fits number 3 as well for me
2) understand the desired path through the course
This one took me far too long to comprehend how to manage. This is where dictating the edge change is allowing my ski to swing up along a circular path with the handle in tight and slowly releasing into apex. For me this fits well with number 4.
3) how to tilt on the ski (NOT LEAN TO BACK OF SKI) to ride that path
4) develop rhythm or tempo

One of the things I learned from skiing with Adam Caldwell all the time is science, physics and mechanics dictate everything on the water. He is about 90 percent in disagreement of most of what us skiers have been taught was important. His determination to forge his own method of getting through the course as efficiently as possible and reject the noise of the establishment has been inspiring and enlightening. I am finding (I think) that I have to figure out my own way to decide what's important and what I need to forget. For example to borrow from Ed above (1)The first half of the wake is for acceleration and the second half for deceleration.
I might reword for my thinking to be "the first half of the wake is for acceleration and the second half is for maintaining swing rate"

Re: An experiment - has anyone ever tried... 2 months, 1 week ago #9897

  • BudDavis
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  • Today is a gift, so ski. No promise of more.
Look at the sway in the line into 1,3,5. But, he comes out of those buoys with a tight line.
The line looks absent of the sway into 2,4,6. But, there might be a tad of slack coming out of that side.

Re: An experiment - has anyone ever tried... 2 months, 1 week ago #9898

That is exactly what I am talking about. Building momentum on the downside swing from being high up on the boat in the first half of the course, then riding the "SWING SPEED" out to the buoy line where you become Free of the boat, thus the bow in the line is not unusual. The trick then is falling to the LEAN without ZO knowing your there. Putting yourself in that powerful forward lean position to accelerate and generate swing speed to be back up high on the boat to do it again. It feels like your racing the boat from Buoy to Buoy.
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