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Horton Horton

36 mph is too fast & 34 mph is to slow?


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There is a theory that for an ultimate high score, 36 mph is too fast & 34 mph is to slow. For most of us a little slower means more balls but only to a point. I assume I would pick up about 4 balls at 33 mph. By 30 mph I think I would start losing a lot of balls unless I went to a special ski.


The top pro skiers can crush 41 at 34 mph pretty easy but I would suggest they would run it better at 35. So the question is what is the perfect boat speed? To get farther down 43 what speed would be best?


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I can't figure out why a guy who can run -38 on a freakin' trick ski when the boat is slow enough keeps bringing up the possibility that it's easier when going faster.


Yes, there's a limit. Gotta stay on top of the water, after all. But if you carefully adapt your equipment and approach, I have little doubt that 41 off is ultimately easier at 24 mph than 26 than 28 than 30 than 32 than 34 than 36.


Now, if you're talking pure entertainment value, I might put in another vote for 35. Fast enough for extra adrenaline, but not quite as crazy as 36.

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@Than_Bogan just try to get perpendicular to the boat at 24 mph. Now do it and try to get the ski wider than the handle with sufficient distance to 'round the ball at 41 or 43. I'm no engineer, mind you.

Doesn't there have to be enough outbound kinetic energy to sweep that wide and high?(I know I'm not speaking the engineers language here..."damnit Jim I'm a doctor not a miracle worker!"). Is it possible to generate the energy necessary to swing high and wide at such a low speed? Does simply using greater surface area of the ski compensate for the lesser speed? At the slower speed can one still stay off the water with a ski well wide of their center of mass for what must be a longer period of time to round the ball? I'm in the 35.5 crowd unless you can prove a theorum :)



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@horton, interesting winter topic :D  The rule of thumb for most 32-35 off skiers is that they pick up a pass when dropping from 36 to 34. However, for many of the higher end guys who can run 39 @36 that increase quickly drops to 1-2 buoys, so a PB of 2@41@36 becomes 3@41@34. At the extreme end, exactly how many more buoys have Andy and Jeff run at 34 vs 36?


I’ve also heard one high end skier say that he can still run more buoys at 35 than 34.

There has also been a lot of time and energy spent on optimizing ski design between 36 and 34, that IMO is strong on marketing and weak on actual design differences. I don’t think the magic bullet lies in the ski.


So, purely as a wild ass guess, somewhere around 35 might get Nate, or someone of that ilk, another buoy or 2.


If it was easy, they would call it Wakeboarding

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I've seen the 1 ball at -38 @34 mph once this season, never broken past 3.5@ -35 at full speed. That being said, the speeds have notable advantages and disadvantages.



The boat does all the work which is awesome

I like to go fast

The ski rides super high on the water and you can't slow down too much

You can make the mistake of letting the handle go too soon and still be fine


If you long pull it is game over

If you don't keep out bound angle, immediately game over

If you crash, it will hurt more

Those balls sure come at you fast



Easier on the body

Still fast enough for the ski to be on top of the water

A long pull doesn't do as much damage

Slower is just a little easier


I've found I can bleed too much speed (ski with the same settings as it is for 36 so keep that in mind)

You get punished significantly more for letting the handle our too soon

You don't get to go as fast


These are observations from a fairly consistent into -35 skier at 36 mph who has never run -35 at full speed but had trained -15 through -35 at 34 and 36. No experience to comment on for lines past -35.

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Yes, 35mph is easier. at -32 off and -35, I would say 34mph allows you to get away with a lot of mistakes, while at 36mph all it takes is one long pull or loss of direction and you're screwed. In late july I was barely starting to run -32 at 36mph, but I was absolutely stroking it at 34. The main thing was I had to pull about a ski length longer, and I was literally standing there waiting for the buoy. At 36 I have to be much more fluid and efficient. At 39 and 41 a faster speed might actually be better. The speed for open class should NOT CHANGE. -36 is not too fast once you've done it for a while.
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I think we should just have a sponsor put up cash for a ski whatever speed you want contest highest ball count wins. No equipment requirements either so if someone wants to go trick at 17mph they can. I think the results would suprise people.
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