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Conflicting Theories about center of mass from the second wake to the ball


Horton
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Below are two conflicting theories. I am not sure if one is correct and one is wrong or if I simply misunderstand all of it. For clarity I am only talking about going to 1/3/5. I am RFF so the second theory is especially mind bending going to off side.

 

Going to 1/3/5 - from the wakes to the ball line the skier should attempt to keep his/her center of mass as far to the right as possible. I have heard this referred to as “staying on top of the ski” or “staying tall off the water with level shoulders”. The logic is that resisting the urge and forces to move to the inside (left) will keep the ski on flatter roll angle and point away from the wakes longer. The result is a longer and wider path to the ball.

 

Going to 1/3/5 from the wakes to the ball line the skier should attempt to commit to the inside edge of the ski early. Conversations about this idea usually include “moving hips forward and left during and after edge change”. Best as I can gather this idea is about drawing a faster/shorter line to maximum width and a more continuous arc.

 

I try to ski with the first theory and the second seems wacky but have heard some darn smart slalom guys promoting the second idea. Am I just confused?

 

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You can do both. I think that's the whole "reverse 'c'" thing that I never heard of till this year but I'm told I do. I don't believe you ever "commit to the inside edge" with your hips, though. Nor do you change edges with your hips in general.
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Perhaps I need to restate for @Than_Bogan‌ : )

 

When I am skiing well I try be as tall off the water as possible from the wakes to the ball. This would mean my ski is rolled over less. Some skiers are now telling me to do the opposite and allow my mass to move to the inside much earlier.

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@Horton‌ I think theory one is better. I think about that as the slow down and let the boat determine my line theory. However, on that side I do have a tendency to do the second. I think because I get so much angle and create so much space going that way that I get lazy, roll inside and release the handle too soon. It can work if I'm early, but I think it affects the exit from the 1/3/5 badly. The exit is cleaner and faster with a more natural angle if I do what you said first.
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Depends on how well you can manage an inside edge while remaining outbound. The best of the best can do it, I don't do it as well. Early commitment for me can mean up-bound rather than outbound. Later commitment (lighter for longer if you will) works better for me as a mortal. Keeps more constant speed and makes sure I get enough width at short-line.

The best of the best are able to take significant energy off the wake, be on the inside edge and remain outbound setting the earlier arc yet still obtaining width and speed...I'm not that good.

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I'd say go with the first, but it really depends on how you ski.

 

Assuming you always have keeping direction at the edge-change as a goal (or remaining outbound), if you generate a lot of speed across the wakes then you can afford getting on the inside edge sooner. However, if you have more of a constant speed throughout the course, then you can't afford being on the inside edge too soon. That will kill your outbound.

 

Personally, I am more of the second. Despite a major change in the last few months, I have a pretty aggressive onside turn and pull (RFF), so I can't afford the edge-change to be slow. However, I have a fairly smooth and progressive gate, and my edge-change to 1-ball is much slower, hence I get on the inside edge later (even when you factor in that you have more space into 1).

Ski coach at Jolly Ski, Organizer of the San Gervasio Pro Am (2023 Promo and others), Co-Organizer of the Jolly Clinics.

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I think from the wake to the ball is one of the least talked about aspect of slalom and in my opinion a must in the know and need to execute second only to stacked.

 

I believe both theories hold true and both are happening one after the other. At center of wake, and through the edge change theory one comes into play. Just before release and through apex, theory two. One could argue that guys talking about theory one may be referring to an earlier stage of wake to ball and theory two at a slightly later stage.

 

Never really developed a good way to explain to someone how to "do" this COM move but what I have found that works rather then speaking in COM terms is to go back to some handle control talk. So basically I'll tell a skier to resist letting handle get pulled off hips in the first stage/half of wake to ball...can be said in several ways like resist shoulders being twisted back to boat or squeezing elbows and/or pointing knees hips in out bound direction with arms in ...but it's a resistive measure which keeps COM moving away and so on.

 

Then, instead of more COM info that's hard to translate into "make this move", I have them physically "do something" with the handle for the second stage/half (but NOT pulling in). Keep in mind they have already accomplished stage one and the handle never got away from their hips (also had a great stack to make stage one happen). In other words, before the release but after edge change, physically put the handle parallel to the water into 1.3.5 RFF vertical into 2.4.6. Two things happen. Handle gets held on to longer and COM moves forward and on to inside edge or left all the way to apex. And you're not yanking yourself to that inside edge.

 

I think this is a little bit over dissected and to think 2 different COM things can happen in that short of a time frame may be a bit much. But if you think of it in over all distance traveled, it seems more plausible. But this is what I see here in the video. Course slow-mo helps. Watch his handle from wake center to release and what his COM does in relationship.

 

I give you Terry...

.

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@Luzz this sounds crazy but I have heard the idea that if you draw a straighter path from centerline to max width (less out bound path - shorter path) you will get there faster and actually be earlier. If the idea is to get parallel to the pylon before the the boat gets to the next set of guides a more direct path should be better. Not saying this is a good idea but is an interesting idea.
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@horton I don't think max width early is the goal. The best are wide and early but still getting wider though perhaps at a lesser rate as they approach the ball so as to use all of the line to apex the ball. The best ride the outbound like the rest of us cannot.

 

Max width early leaves a skier with nothing to do but ski up-course at short-line to continue wide of the ball with predictable results. Works great up through 35 off, some 38's, good luck thereafter.

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Seems like the 2nd theory is what used to be taught as a way to slow down quickly so you could make the ski turn - long before the skis allowed us to turn with very much speed. The common result was the old "split radius" turn that was pronounced in BLP and many other high end skiers, where you would get hard on the edge to slow down, then have to stand up to gain width back and get around the buoy. Almost always coming off a strong side pull into the weak side turn (1/3 for RFF). These days, smoother and carrying more speed into the turn work better with the current skis and speed controls. You will hardly ever see anyone doing a split radius turn anymore.

 

Of course, there are many ways to interpret both of those methods, that's what it means to me.

If it was easy, they would call it Wakeboarding

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@Horton first I need to say thank you for ruining my life again by bringing advanced topics back online. Hard for me to resist.

 

But I want to address this last thing you said: Yes, its true that a straighter (and shorter) path will get you to max width sooner than a longer (more outbound) path.....but only in a closed system. When we water ski, we don't exist in a closed system, we hang onto a handle >> boat.

 

Think about this: imagine you let go of the handle at centerline, and your goal is to get to the buoy as quickly as possible. You'd choose to ski directly at it, with no outbound pre-turn.

 

We ski with a handle that is (ideally) always a fixed distance from the pylon. If we take a shorter, straighter path to max width, we haven't caught up to the side of the boat as much at apex....which means the boat is further down course. I am almost positive you will be later or no earlier, than if you take a longer wider path.

 

Actually, its less about earlier or later...and a lot more about your actual direction of travel when you reach apex. The straighter narrower path will not get you to the buoy any earlier, and it will require you to bite off more ski angle at the finish (loss of speed, higher line load, sore back) The wider path allows you to (ideally) initiate a carve before the buoy....such that your direction change to finish the turn at the buoy, is far smaller. This allows your speed to say up, your line load to stay low, and your true angle to build as you move into the wakes.

 

Sorry for the rant.

 

*I will say, there is somewhat of an exception to this however....and its something we've been talking about for over a decade now. And its also something that 2 of the greats seemed to do, really well.

 

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@Horton‌, you will get there faster, but your speed will be down course, so accelerating out of that ball will be hard. It is an interesting idea tho.

 

@6balls fully agree with you, the shorter the line, the more your max width should be at the ball. Which, considering how fast you are off the second wake at 39, 41 and 43, it is probably one of the biggest challenges of short line skiing.

Ski coach at Jolly Ski, Organizer of the San Gervasio Pro Am (2023 Promo and others), Co-Organizer of the Jolly Clinics.

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Zero Off has changed the equation dramatically as to how to approach this....I took a lot of cues from Nate on managing ZO and actual instruction from Andy Mapple on this very subject. I consider the work area for generating the outbound direction to be, from the hook-up to first wake and no latter than the centerline...Done properly it will result in the Reverse C, which is nothing more than upper/lower body separation...Allowing the lower body to "Swing Through" while the upper body remains quiet, handle low, elbows in.

 

Keep in mind that the outbound energy developed from the hook-up is influenced greatly by being mass forward as you load ZO..Now ZO will return that load, giving you the energy for the lower body swing...On my offside, I am very rarely as mass forward as I would like to be, so I compensate by aiding the swing with hip rotation.

 

So lets say everything went well, what do you do after the Rev. C with the outbound energy ? My goal is to keep the ski on an outbound direction out to the apex..As I am feeding the handle out, I am releasing pressure to ALLOW the ski to go outbound..This is also increasing my lean as I bring the inside hip forward..It is important to understand that if you continue with tight pressure on the handle headed outbound, the ski will want to stay on an arc..If you are releasing the pressure as you go outbound, that relieves the pressure on the ski an this allows it to continue outbound. Totally necessary for 38 and shorter..Andy did a great video on that outbound path.

 

I really don't like the term, "Let the Boat Take the Handle." I like to think of it as the "SKI" taking the handle outbound. If you watch Nate outbound for 1-2-3, you will see this release of pressure as the rope bows slightly backward..This is what gives you that free of the boat feeling and allows you to slide the hip off the apex to set maximum angle without ZO knowing your there...Now your ahead of ZO instead of behind it. You can get into your forward COM leveraged position, being in command of the load YOU SEND to ZO, before it sends it to you.

 

My total goal is always to try to make ZO work "For Me" and not "Against Me." It becomes a real cat and mouse game, with the odds being in favor of ZO.

 

 

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To be clear => I heard this idea this year and thought is was interesting but am not convinced I understood the scope of the conversation. The bottom line as I understood it was to not "try" to ski wider than the natural arc of the rope.
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I agree that you can't ski wider than the arc of the rope. In a perfect path I'd be like a weight at the bottom of a pendulum, neither separating from the handle nor "shortening the rope" by skiing inside an optimal line. I believe that if we can follow the arc of the line most efficiently, we do what @MarcusBrown describe above -- we create an arc ahead of the ball and follow that path after the ball with a tight line. For me that requires far more focus on my core than anything else. In particular, I notice that I can have a tendency to "hinge" at my hips, allowing my upper body to separate in suboptimal directions from the direction of travel. When I watch the really good skiers, they transition edges with much better core control. This seems to smooth out the transition, keep the handle close and the line tight, and also puts them in the correct and stacked position to accept the handle back.
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Picking up Horton / Marcus portion of the thread, one interesting visual comparison might be high banked paved ovals (they offer easy watching of the concept). A driver that takes a "high" line (theory 1) racing against a driver that takes the "low" line (theory 2). The low line driver even if following in to the turn catches the high line driver at the apex of the turn but then falls behind as the maintained momentum / speed offsets the low line driver as he exits the turn. The momentum carries down the straight to end up gaining ground at the next corner. Strange analysis I know, but really easy to watch and grasp as it takes a long time to unfold and is very easy to see it due to all the great camera angles they now have. To me, the banking is the rope/handle and keeps the car on a somewhat defined path.
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@DW....Great analysis !!!! When I was driving Indy Cars, taking the high line your talking about, was quote "Letting it Breathe." Your letting the wheel out, reducing resistance, and taking advantage of all the track.....This is exactly what I was talking about in my post above...Outbound in the Pre-turn, your feeding the handle out, reducing resistance, and letting the ski "Breathe." This sets you up to come off the apex with very little turning resistance and allows you to set great angle.

 

There is definitely a great parallel relationship between Racing and Slalom Skiing.

 

@Than_Bogan...Concerning your post below.

 

I have to respectfully disagree with 2 points...One, when you say you must follow the "Handle Path." Starting at 38 the Handle is well inside the buoy and the ski "HAS" to create a greater angle outbound than the handle..The handle is always on a fixed arc, but the ski is not..Andy did a great video proving that path at 38.

.

2nd..You stated "staying connected to that tension is what keeps you connected." I would have to argue that it is the release of the tension outbound that relieves pressure on the ski and "ALLOWS" the ski to go in an increasing outbound direction...Just look at numerous photos of CP and Nate...CP coming into the apex may only have 3 finger tips holding the handle, hardly any tension at all....Nate has a significant backward bow in the line showing his release of tension coming into the apex..You will also notice Nate, after the edge change reaches down then up heading outbound..There is no way you can do that with tension on the line.

 

As far as the car is concerned you go to the high line, up towards the wall, by releasing tension on the wheel, unwinding it, and allow the momentum to carry you up there, which also releases drag and G load on the car....If you want to stay on the low line you hold tension on the wheel to keep it there.

 

To me these points are the same for skiing..By holding the tension you keep the ski on the same arc as the handle, the Low Line....By releasing the tension, you allow the ski to travel outbound, unrestricted, the high line.

 

I think there is a lot of confusion as to "Tension" on a line and what is a "Tight Line." You can certainly have a Tight Line without tension, ie: at the apex.

 

 

 

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I've waited a bit, because I'm not quite sure this is relevant to the discussion, but here's one thing I think I understand:

 

As the rope gets very short, the handle path must travel significantly up-course. If you insist on maintaining a cross-course angle as the handle starts to travel up-course, then the only thing that can happen is that you get separated from the handle. (You and it aren't going the same direction!) At this point you will rapidly lose speed, and thus width, and have no means of getting either of those back. In another words, trying too hard to force additional width actually costs you width.

 

So to a certain extent you must "follow the handle path," which perhaps is a little bit like skiing at the buoy rather than going wider. But you sure as heck don't want to travel inside of that line either -- it's more like you want to allow yourself to be turned up-course by the tension on the rope than that you want to purposely do it. Staying connected to that tension is what puts you on the high line that DW eloquently explained.

 

In fact, maybe I can carry that analogy to the other side as well: If you try to go too steeply up that wall, then you'll just be costing yourself speed.

 

The ideal is between those two extremes.

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