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"S" initiation: A gatechanger


Than_Bogan
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I really should wait until I've tried this for more than 3 sets, but I'm kind of excited about it so I can't help myself.

 

Short version: After your glide, make your first move to be to let the ski go to the LEFT, and then turn it right and go.

 

Much longer version:

 

I've been struggling to do anything at -39, so when I bought Jamie's boat last weekend I also had him watch me try a few -39 gates. After a few looks, he suggested an S-turn to initiate my entrance. I was surprised that this wasn't very hard to do, although at first I was crazy late at the gate mostly because I was doing it slowly since I had to think about it. As it's becoming more natural, my timing is actually not changed much. I don't start travelling right until a few feet later, but I get so much more speed and angle that I arrive in the gate at the same time (or maybe even earlier).

 

As I've started to figure it out, I've been really impressed. It led to the best -38 of my life (in a drysuit, fwiw), and BY FAR the best gate/1/2. For a variety of reasons I have barely tried it at -39, but it seems very promising. And unlike a lot of Jamie's advanced techniques, it actually works great at -28 as well, setting me up in a great position to really attack the one ball and be silly early into 2.

 

The "why" of it is actually sorta straight-forward. My "old" technique requires that I turn the ski myself, by actually changing its direction. I wouldn't say I've been turning on the tail, but I was definitely manually pushing the ski to the right. If I first let it go left, that puts the ski on its turning edge, and then it turns the way it's meant to, effortlessly coming all the way around. Equally importantly, it means you are starting your final turn in from a slightly higher apex -- a sneaky way to get just a little higher up on the boat.

 

Now that this has been pointed out to me, I realize that nearly every top level skier does some variation of this. Can't believe I never honed in on that before.

 

I have been working on my gate a lot in the last two years, and have improved it a lot. But it has remained the weakest part of my technique. Most of my successful -38s have begun with a very late 2 ball, but getting back into it with a solid on-side turn. When I do this S-turn thing correctly, I tend to come into 2 @ -38 just like I normally expect to at -32!

 

And it's surprisingly not that hard to do, although I have to really concentrate on it because it's not at all instinctive yet.

 

The water here is already cold and getting colder, so my window may be closing fast, but I am really hoping to get some looks at the 2-ball at -39 with this gate, and maybe even turn it sometime!

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Btw, I am RFF. The details are probably different, but the basic concept is definitely still applicable.

 

@Rico266 I do not think I am putting the ski back on the pulling edge, although I could believe that would work for some people. I'm putting it straight onto the turning edge by kind of letting it "go out" to the left, and then doing a mini turn.

 

I'm certain there are a lot of ways to do a "move" similar to this, but personally I had never even realized that I should!

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Well i'll be a sumbich. First new thing I've seen about gates that makes sense in a long time. I saw it, but always thought, "dam, he even started to drift back in his glide and had to pull a little bit to stay up there, and he STILL kicked butt". Way to go tboaggy
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Nate said in the WR video that he felt himself getting suck back in and made an adjustment, I thought it was just an adjustment but sounds like it was part of the plan. I noticed he did it one of videos he tied the WR on. Its much more noticeable than CP and Mapple above.
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The gate pointer that I received this year that seems similar is as follows. Gently pull out wide for the gate, during your glide keep your width by pointing your hips to 11 o'clock, when it is time to turn in- point your hips to 1 o'clock.

When I do this correctly I stay wide and then by only aiming my hips at 1 o'clock I do not over rotate my body and the ski turns gradually but builds effortless angle.

When done properly it feels like magic.

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So I tried the S turn this evening. May I just say Bahahahah! Wow that did not go well. Love picking up and trying things from BOS. Some work out and some just aint for me. But thanks to @2tracmind I think I just found a technique that may be a game changer for me. Been struggling with drifting in on the glide forever. Been doing all kinds of things with my upper body to little success. The first time I tried his 11 and 1 oclock thing, bam!! easiest 35 one ball ever. But can I repeat it? Yes. 6 times. I almost don't want to say anything as it may fall apart the next set. I'm really thinking it wont though. What I like about it is it's just easy to pull off. Not complicated. Not super complexed technique. And certainly easy to remember. It'd keeps the shoulders facing down course and it's very easy to keep the handle low and on the hip (two handed gate BTW). Also the movement to 1 oclock makes for a slow easy controlled progressive movement into the lean through the gates. I'm actually going to show this to my daughter. I highly recommend this to anyone that's having trouble holding width during the glide or feeling not so high on the boat. Do this at any line length. Thanks @2tracmind!!!
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Makes sense. Left edge and then gradual right edge.

My hunch on the S move is that might be a move some top skiers throw in when they think they have too much speed, or maybe too little, as I don't recall ever seeing a top skier doing that consistently.

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weve been playing with this for a while now. watch this video of chet raley and notice at bout 47 sec he sets the left edge of his ski which creates out bound pressure then at 49 sec he rises up with enough force to openly un weight the ski as he shifts to his right edge and drops in to his turn in for the gate. it almost looks like a snow ski move where you set your edges hard enough that it re bounds you up and onto your opposite edges. it makes getting a good turn in and good angle almost automatic.

 

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@2tracmind, @Wish - when I read about the 11 - 1 description, I thought that sounded pretty good and I couldn't wait to try it (or see if I could remember it with the other 6 things I'm trying to change). Very simple and very effective even with the windy day we had yesterday. Thanks guys.
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Since both involve a leaned turn, to turn a motorcycle or bicycle to the right, simply slightly turn the handlebars to the left, the turn then happens effortlessly. Similar principle for both moves being discussed???
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My problem is usually turning too much and either overloading too early or getting my width too soon and running out of speed. Thinking about it not just at the gate but also off every turn

put me in a much calmer course rhythm.

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@DW. If I understand your question correctly, I would not use the term lean for the 11-1 move (tip of ski and it's direction being 12:00). The move may apply a waight shift/lean from left edge to right but for me there was no perception or feel of the ski being on one edge or the other. Perception was...the ski tracks straight at 11 with 0 drift in. Move to 1:00 simply feels more smooth and controlled vs trying to initiate with any other failed move I've tried. The "S" I think is a little more literal in that you feel the edge change weight shift/lean. But since I only gave that a few shots, and can't say I was doing it correctly, I can't really speak to it. Sounds like @Than_Bogan may have a better grip on that. For me it's just easy to feel where 11 is and to just hold it. Then methodically move to 1:00.
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I would agree, reality is that you want the ski pointed down the lake parallel with the boat path and turning hips to 11 actually is offset by the slight sideways pull from the boat, so the ski in effect, goes straight. I like the turn to 1 concept, but that is quickly 1-3 for me, and yes I know I am not going 90 degrees into the wake, but it is my perception...
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@AB The cool thing is for me the 1:00 keeps me from overturning/turning to quick in for the gate. I kinda stop my rotation at that point and everything sorta rolls in cleaner. My brain is concentrating on my hips and their direction rather then figuring it all out with my eyes, head, shoulders. It probably ends up past 1 but it makes it more gradual and the load comes much later where its supposed to. Especially with ZO.
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Can someone post the link to the post about this 11-1 move for the gates. I learned last weekend from David Miller that the gates are the most important aspect of running 38 and beyond. Prior to last weekend I turned in when I thought I could go through the middle of the gates...not good!
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@DW That sounds exactly right to me. Currently, I still have to really concentrate to make myself do this. It's not part of my routine at all. But I don't find it physically difficult to do, and it's a VERY subtle move. I'm not even sure if on a video you could tell when I did or didn't do it. But I can sure tell when I come into the 1 ball!
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@2tracmind and @wish - could this 11/1 thing work throughout the course [11/1 @gate/2/4/6 and 1/11 @ 1/3/5]? In theory seems like a good memory tool to appropriately counter rotate/rotate thru the turn without over turning and getting pulled out. Thoughts?
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@jeffklop99 I was literally running the course in my head today (not water time) thinking the exact same thing and visualizing it. My plan was to give that a go when I get on the water. That may not happen till the weekend though. The only thing that may goof that up is when you initiate it and when you stop. Thinking for me (RFF) it would be 1:00 though the gate to the release of the right hand. Not sure if that will be to long or not long enough. Let the turn happen. Then initiate 11:00 only when hooked up again all the way to the release for 2 and so on. Hoping it will do 2 things. 1. Keep me still and just resist in my stacked position 2. After the second wake carry a more outbound approach (that counter your talking about) to the ball for more width. Seems like it should work but we will see.
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I was going to post this elsewhere, but then came across this thread which seemed relevant. Strangely, it seems as though I've heard about this s-turn gate at least 3 times independently in the last week. I had never heard of it before.

 

I can't yet speak to the validity of the theory, but it seems sound. Then I came across this video of Andy Mapple where he edges out before turning in:

 

 

Also, here's a video of Adam Sedlmajer where he does what could be called an s-turn during one gate and then doesn't during the next gate:

 

 

Finally, here's a video of Nate Smith where he clearly edges out slightly before the turn-in at only 32 off:

 

 

I'm not sure if I would necessarily classify each of these videos as an s-turn, but each of them seems to be using an outbound edge right before the turn-in which should have a similar effect. Furthermore, I am finding that almost any pro of whom I can find decent video has a similar outbound edge right before initiation which might be construed as an S-turn.

 

However, taking a step-back I keep hearing that Nate says he doesn't need the s-turn until he gets into 43-off. Yet it appears as though he is using it (maybe unconsciously and almost assuredly with less intensity) at 32-off. Am I missing something here? Is there a difference between an s-turn and maintaining an outbound edge before the turn-in?

 

Furthermore, it doesn't appear as though the technique is explicitly necessary as there is the example of Sedlmajer not using it above. My thought is that it is perhaps a timing thing or maybe a way to modulate speed before turn-in without sacrificing width.

 

I attempted the s-turn recently at 28-off, but I don't yet have the feel for it and I can't say that it was a night and day difference. My initial impression was that it did seem as though it could help somewhat with consistency and timing.

 

@Than_Bogan,

 

I'm curious if you have you continued using this technique and did you reach any final conclusions before moving on? Or do you still utilize this thinking?

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I can see the S turn helping to maintain width and someone like Nate might do it subconsciously if he doesn't feel like he got the right width on his gate. I think it makes a lot of sense to try if you tend to get narrow on your gates.

 

That is a cool angle on the Sedlmajer video I wonder how distracting that pole is.

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Not sure I would classify it as an "S" turn in that if over thought and or over executed it could be bad. I'd go with the 11/1 analogy in my train of thought and concentrate on the hips keeping outbound edged engaged and then the first move to the inbound edge. Don't think about "having" that edge engaged. Think about your hip position in relation to the direction of the ski and concentrate on that move(s) and the edge hold and go will happen on its own. My 2 cents. KISS
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@Wish,

 

I'm with you here. I'm not sure that I think of it as an s-turn as well. I think of it more as a precursor step to the gate turn-in. I came across this thread while trying to think of the 11-1 analogy in different ways as it still wasn't quite clicking the way I wanted it to. Something felt like it was missing from the way I was implementing it. However, after reading this thread it occurred to me that I had never made the connection that the 11 o'clock hip rotation was meant to keep outbound direction. That observation has helped somewhat in the past week. Looking back at past video, I seem to be able to clock my hips to 11 o'clock or more without maintaining outbound direction if that is all I think about, haha.

 

I believe in many respects the two "techniques" are synonymous in that they accomplish the same things with different lines of thinking. I'm still following the 11-1 analogy I learned from you in another thread; this actually looks like it might be the thread where that suggestion originated. However, I have found that trying to maintain a very slight edge-out is a good way for me to get my hips to 11 o'clock and maintain width before initiating the 1 o'clock hip-rotation/gate-shot.

 

What really interests me in this thread is learning if people think the edge out right before the gate shot is significant contributor to help get the ski pointed across course quickly before the boat loads the skier. My testing on the water currently indicates that it isn't, but most pros seem to do something analogous so I'm wondering if I'm missing something. However, it's totally possible they are doing it for different reasons entirely.

 

My "s-turn" technique is:

 

1) edge out briefly

2) release load (ski casts out slightly and I start slowly coming back into the course)

3) turn-in and go (hips go from 11-1)

 

I think this is consistent with what I'm seeing in the Mapple video above (which has the best perspective). He performs his 11-1 hip rotation at around 12.5 seconds in the video, which is slightly after he has already started going inbound at around 12.25 seconds. However, that's when things start to get real.

 

@lakeaustinskier ,

 

I think I might agree here, but I can't be sure yet, haha.

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I do think the "edge out right before the gate shot " is significant to getting the ski pointed across the course. Two things, 1. It is significantly easier to move to the right edge of the ski on the gate turn in by initiating from the left edge vs being on a flat ski and trying to roll to the right edge. 2. The magic for me on this 11 to 1 technique is that it results in ski angle from the lower body without upper body rotation and it avoids loading the ski too early.

DefectiveDave and Wish, I think i did initiate the 11-1 pointer. Really happy to see it helping, anything to make the difficult and technical gate simple is great.

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@DefectiveDave ,you are right on! Andy started doing this years ago at -39 and shorter. Once I asked him about it. He said that the boat has such a tendency to pull you inwards at those line lengths he wanted to start from a wider spot and it makes the ski simulate a turn having better direction and speed at the widest point. I have noticed that it even helps me at -35 and -38 which are the challenging passes for me.
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Ya... Give that a go. No high risk of error there.. (sarcasm). Elite skiers may be able to lesson any timing errors a glitches with a huge added move like that but very little chance there would be any kind of consistency attempting an that move for us. What's he going to do when he shows up at a tournament with a short set up?. KISS.
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