by Bruce Butterfield
Over the years, I’ve been asked for, and given recommendations, on kid’s equipment and techniques to many parents trying to get their kids involved in skiing. I thought it would be helpful to compile a somewhat comprehensive list of what we’ve gone through, what worked and what didn’t for the benefit of anyone interested. This is by no means the only or best set of guidance – it’s just what worked for us.
For reference, my daughter is now 17, a solid 3 eventer, and excels at tricks. My son is now 14, also a solid 3 eventer and absolutely loves to jump!
I’ve found that success depends on many things. Obviously each child’s basic athleticism, desire to improve and personality are at the top of the list. Often the make or break factors are parents’ attitude, equipment, and learning strong fundamentals before moving on. These make or break factors are all within the parents’ control!
So now for some free advice! I’ll attempt to use chronological order and try to explain rationale and offer some do’s and don’ts along the way.
A great thing I did with both kids was use a pair of “traditional” trainers – 48” long, regular width and tied together in both the front and rear. (In hindsight, I think the U shaped skimmers are probably easier to use.) Tie a 10-15’ section of ski rope to the crossbar and a short handle section from the crossbar to the skier's hands. Put them on the platform facing the left side, grab the towrope with your right hand about 3’ from the crossbar and the kid’s vest with your left hand. Have the driver put the boat in gear and lift the kid from the platform to the left side of the boat while pulling the towrope with your right hand. Hold the vest as needed to keep them stable and they are skiing! Really all you are doing is gradually getting them comfortable on the skis and over the water – the kid doesn’t have to do a thing except stand there and try to be still. For a 2yo, a few seconds of this, then lift them back on the platform and you’re done until next time.
As they get more comfortable, gradually release the vest with your left hand and feed the rope out until they are a few feet back from the boat. If they get scared or are ready to stop, just pull them back in and lift them back on the platform. If they start to fall, just release the rope and let it go back in the water. Be sure to laugh and cheer if they fall. It’s critical that they get the idea that this is fun and not something to be scared of. I cringe at the helicopter parent that worriedly exclaims “Are you alright? You didn’t hurt yourself did you?”
The new OB4System Soft-Fit Boot is ideal for all Skiers switching from a Rubber Binding to a Releasable System.
Anyone switching from rubber bindings to a releasable system will enjoy the extremely comfortable new OB4 semi-soft boots. The water repellent liner is heat moldable, thus eliminating pressure points. The sturdy cable tie down system provides an evenly distributed hold and gives any skier an excellent control over the ski.
All the binding parts are made entirely in the USA and are of high quality machined aircraft aluminum or plastic for durability. Please visit our website: www.ob4systems.com for more information.
Season start special: 15 % off all orders received from 05/16 – 05/30 PROMOCODE: BoS2016.
LITTLE MOUNTAIN, SC (May 11, 2016) – Pleasurecraft Engine Group (PEG) recently completed several projects to improve their factory and increase manufacturing efficiencies.
These projects include:
o An all-new sub-assembly area allowing for more efficient assembly down the line.
o Additional state-of-the-art production lines specifically for Direct Injection engines.
o An industry leading run/calibration station that provides automatic diagnostics and engine calibration downloads.
o A new engine component balance machine providing more accurate calibration and an overall higher quality product.
o Reorganized storage for plant parts and finished inventory providing better production flow that ensures higher quality and efficiency.
Echoing the new image and culture of PEG since its acquisition by Correct Craft, numerous aesthetic enhancements were made that include freshly painted buildings, updated property fencing, landscaping, a new driveway, and a new company sign.
PEG President Mark McKinney stated, “The entire Pleasurecraft team is excited about the new fast paced, high energy work environment these factory upgrades and manufacturing efficiencies have provided while also improving our already high quality products.” McKinney added, “The support we’ve received from Correct Craft has allowed us to create a new image and culture for PEG that will continue to generate positive moves into the future.”
InTow is once again in the forefront of handle product development, introducing for 2016, the Ski Guard! The Ski Guard is a custom part developed by Brenda to protect your handle bridle section from the sharp top edge of your ski when coming up out of the water. The Ski Guard is a solid piece of vinyl which provides the ultimate protection of your InTow handle through its slick design that securely protects the V of the handle bridle section. Then a piece of small diameter 7/16" vinyl tubing is added that slips up under the Ski Guard and extends nine inches past the V of the handle.
Visit jlbmfg.com for more information on the Ski Guard and to view Brenda’s new video Spectra 1/4” vs Polypro 3/8” which compares a handle strung up in 1/4” Spectra to a handle strung up in 3/8” Polypro.
The GT is the latest in a long line of skis from Connelly whose design heritage can be directly linked to the Connelly F1 that Jamie Beauchesne rode to the top of the slalom world a decade ago. The F1 evolved into the Prophecy. The first generation Prophecy (2008) was an aggressive and quirky ski. By 2013, the Prophecy had evolved into a much more refined and balanced ski. In 2015, the Prophecy was reworked to become the GT. Below is the BallOfSpray review of the 2016 Connelly GT.
The 2016 Connelly GT may be the easiest and the most consistent turning ski reviewed to date. This ski is basically fool proof at the buoy. The GT rides deeper in the water than many other high end skis. This attribute contributes to its amazing forgiveness at the buoy as well as an overall feeling of stability.
Toe Side (Off Side) Turn
The off side turn on the GT is one of the great joys of water skiing. The stability of the ski makes it easy for the skier to move forward approaching the buoy, to arc in early, and to carry ample speed back to the wakes.
The GT is far less sensitive to weight distribution approaching Off Side than any ski previously tested from Connelly.
Heel Side (On Side) Turn
On Side turns on the GT are noticeably quicker and sharper than the Prophecy. The ski can be turned with the skier’s weight slightly farther back than expected. The ski is so forgiving approaching on side that skiers need to be too careful to not become accustomed to staying back.
From Second Wake to Ball
The fact that the GT rides deep in the water means that the ski is stable from the second wake to the ball and that it bleeds speed very quickly. The trade-off is that without adequate body alignment at the wakes and rope tension (aka “connection” or “handle control”) through the edge change and out to the ball line, the GT may slow down faster than preferred and draw a narrow path to the ball. At longer rope lengths this behavior is unnoticeable, but as the rope approaches 37 ½ feet in length, the skier needs to exert discipline and strength in order to achieve an optimal path from the wakes to the ball.
Provided the skier does exert the aforementioned rope tension and water speed is maintained, the GT will carve a smooth path wide and early in front of the ball. Skiers who do not maintain enough rope tension will find the path from ball to ball to be somewhat frantic. As forgiving as the ski is at the ball, it is equally unforgiving to poor rope tension from the wake to the ball.
From Ball to Second Wake
The GT is more of a stable ski than a fast ski. The strength of this ski is its ability turn and carry speed back to the inside. It does not generate as much additional speed from the ball to the wakes as many other skis in the category.
In a perfect world, the best turning ski would also be the ski that gets widest with the least effort. In the real world, ski designers have to compromise. The GT is a fantastic turning ski because it rides deep. The trade-off is that it is not the fastest high end ski. At 35 off and beyond, skiers that excel at keeping a tight line to the ball will love this ski, and skiers who struggle with this skill will struggle with this ski.
The fin box is an old school design that is a bit painful to use. A new fin box from Connelly has been promised soon.
Binding placement and fin settings are critical for all high end tournament skis. Some skis are more sensitive than others. The GT is surprisingly insensitive to settings. This does not mean that you can put the fin and bindings anywhere without consequence, but the margin of error is remarkable.
I love waterskiing. Not much can get me off my trick ski…that is, except cold weather. There’s nothing more discouraging or demotivating than being greeted by frosty air on the water. On top of having to endure the chill, everything is made worse with a restricting and uncomfortable wetsuit. That really takes the fun out of it.
However, I’m really pleased to say that I’ve been sponsored by an incredible company that has taken the time to design and craft incredible wetsuits. Camaro has changed my outlook on cold weather and wearing those heat retaining outfits. In fact, if it wasn’t for the brutally hot weather in Florida, I would wear my Modetec suit all the time.
You’ve probably heard other people talk about Camaro’s as if they were, “like another skin,” and roll your eyes in disbelief. But trust me, I hated wearing regular wetsuits. Camaro’s move with your body! They keep everything in snug – which makes me feel balanced and tight while tricking – but they never inhibit motions, like most other wetsuits. Plus, the suit is beautiful. Shiny silver with accents of bright blue. The suit is more than worth the investment, even for spring training. You won’t regret it!
Orlando, FLA (April 29, 2016) – Nautique is pleased to announce that the Nautique U.S. Open of Water Skiing Presented by Roger Dean Chevrolet will be held in conjunction with the Nautique Big Dawg World Tour Finals presented by O’Brien on September 30th-October 1st, 2016.
The 23rd Nautique U.S. Open of Water Skiing Presented by Roger Dean Chevrolet will be held at the iconic Ski Club of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, FL for a thrilling display of three-event skiing at its best. The world’s top athletes, including current world-record holders and Team Nautique skiers Nate Smith, Erika Lang, Aliaksei Zharnasek and Jacinta Carroll will headline this action packed competition putting it all on the line to take home one of the most coveted titles in water skiing.
Preliminary rounds will be held on Friday, September 30th followed by the final rounds on Saturday, October 1st. Admission for all competition days is free to the public. Spectators will enjoy autograph signings, exhibitors, prize giveaways and more.
The final rounds of the Nautique U.S. Open of Water Skiing Presented by Roger Dean Chevrolet and the Sweet 16 of the Nautique Big Dawg World Tour will broadcast live via webcast beginning at 8:00am EDT on Saturday, October 1st, 2016 at nautique.com.
“Nautique is looking forward to once again sponsoring the U.S. Open of Water Skiing,” said Nautique President, Greg Meloon. “There is so much heritage and prestige associated with this event. We are really excited to be combining it again with the final stop of the Nautique Big Dawg World Tour. Bring your family and friends out to enjoy all the action and excitement at one of water skiing’s best events.”
For more information regarding U.S. Open of Water Skiing registration and competition schedule, visit nautique.com. To view the full list of invited Nautique Big Dawg World Tour finalists please visit nautiquebigdawg.com.
This crew defines who Radar is and everything we stand for. Last summer this rad team hit the road to Eastern Washington and the waters of Lake Roosevelt. There we shot a lot of images on 2016 gear but more than that we had a fun time, turned buoys and ran infinite open water lines. We shared laughs, jumped fires, drank whiskey, we did what everyone of you do, we enjoyed life and the joys that come from riding Radar. Check out some fun snippets of our houseboat adventures on Lake Roosevelt.
ORLANDO, FL (April 26, 2016) – Aktion Parks announced the return of slalom skiing to the Orlando Watersports Complex (OWC) boat lake partnering with hall of famer and water ski legend, Wade Cox.
This partnership will allow skiers the opportunity to train with Cox behind the industry leading Ski Nautique 200 on a brand new slalom course. OWC’s long history of waterskiing and its centralized location paired with Cox’s unique coaching style will provide skiers the convenience of professional instruction at a quality site just minutes from the airport and other Orlando landmarks.
One of the most successful slalom skiers of his era, Wade Cox’s legendary career boasts 47 professional slalom victories including three Masters’ championships and a former U.S. national slalom record.
Wade Cox commented, “I have many great memories skiing at OWC during my professional career, including a crazy runoff with Andy Mapple, which makes this partnership that much more special for me.” “I’m super excited to share my passion and knowledge of the sport behind the wheel of the best slalom boat on the market – the Ski Nautique 200,” Cox added.
Coaching sessions will be available Tuesday through Friday from 8am to noon, or by appointment. A 30-minute coaching session with Cox will cost $80 and can be booked online at www.aktionparks.com/ski or by calling OWC at 407-251-3100.
Bill Yeargin, CEO of Correct Craft (owner of Aktion Parks) stated, “Our OWC team is thrilled to have Wade’s expertise and energy on site. He is a legend in our industry and will provide skiers with a world class experience.” “All across the globe, the world’s best water ski coaches and schools choose the undisputed industry leading Ski Nautique 200,” Yeargin added.