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Beginner looking for some pointers


Straightshooter
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  • Baller

Hey all,

 

I love the forums and have been lurking for a while. Been skiing for a few years but never had anyone around me that was really into it. This year a ski course was put up on the lake and I find myself wanting to get more serious about skiing! Im pretty beginner and have lots of bad habits.

 

I am fortunate to have a nice ski 68” HO syndicate (far above my ability) and a great boat to ski behind 2003 malibu sporster. I usually got about 30-32 mph and take 15 off but this year we have had to piece together a rope so not sure the length in the video.

 

I have read lots of tips and advice and skid and watched myself and repeated. I have even watched some gordon rathbun It feels better when implement some of the stuff but when i watch the videos i feel like i look the same and am not improving. Some outside perspective could really help.

 

 

Any help or pointers would be awesomeI would really love to get good enough to ski the course some day. I know i need lots of help and there is plenty to fix.

 

 

 

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  • Baller

Good stuff man!

A couple of things for you to consider:

Change your grip from right-palm-up to left-palm-up. Like, now. You'll feel weird the first set, and then you'll be fine

The main problem I see is your offside pull (going left for you), where you notice you are somewhat "hopping" the wakes, as opposed to cutting them. To help you achieve this, work on making your offside turns (turning leftward for you) more gradual. That's the tough turn for a right foot forward skier, so give yourself time. Think of the turn as your opportunity to get in a stacked and strong position. Which, in my opinion, would be with your hips and body rotated more to the left. As a reference point, you would want to feel your right hip underneath your right arm, whereas now it's lagging a bit behind it.

 

Hope it helps B)

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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  • Baller
Welcome to the addiction. This may not be what you are looking for but my advice is to get some coaching now. It will save you a ton of time and frustration. The improved body position will keep you safer so you don't have as many out the front falls. Sorry I don't have more but I'm not good enough to know what you should start working on first. People like @Luzz are way more qualified.
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  • Baller
Best thing is to hook up with the folks that use the course. We have a couple of people in our club that have only skiied on open water. We have the mini course on our setup and the learning curve just explodes once you practice getting around those inner buoy's.
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  • Baller

Get a decent rope!!! Not worth taking chances on a pieced together rope. You're not pulling on it too much at this point, but breaking a rope during your wake crossing is one of the worse wipeouts you can have.

 

You don't have to spend a lot on a good rope, especially as you won't need the shorter sections for a while.

 

If you have a decent handle, here is a nice price 5 section rope.

 

Or for a handle and rope.

 

With either, take off the 15' (full 75') rope and use the 15 off section.

 

No need to go too fast too soon. 30 is ok for free skiing till you get a little more stable, when you start the course slow down to 28.

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That rope looks way to short for you. Like said above get a rope so you know your length. Most start skiing at 15 off so a 60’ rope. I would say start getting the boat speed up. In the video you are really sinking coming out of the turn. Your goal should be start free skiing at 34 then when you start skiing in the course bump down to 32.
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ok, to once again open the can of worms, what's the advantage of the grip change? I'm LFF and, apparently, use the wrong grip. I have tried to change but often can't even get up. We have such limited skiing conditions that I really don't want to waste time relearning. Thanks!
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@MNshortliner Did you just suggest 32mph for a skier's first time in the course? If so, that's a very different approach than I take, which is to begin buoys at the absolute slowest speed the skier can tolerate, which is usually 24-28 depending on the skier's weight.
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My only observation is that you ski like I do, tailback rider. I sing it to the Beattles "paperback writer" Try to get up over the ski a bit, it will accelerate much harder. The ski will plane, track and steer more efficiently at the speeds suggested although that can be intimidating. If you get up over the top of it and increase the boat speed, things will start happening a lot faster. I alsoimagine I am "going for a ball" and try to establish a rythmn in the run like I am skiing a course. Lots of info, def can overload yourself and get caught trying to do too many things.

 

By the way, water conditions look dreamy.

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Agree with @Than_Bogan to start the course slower. I started at 28 mph and bumped up to 30 once I got a little comfortable. 32 mph would have been so frustrating for me that I may not have kept at it.

 

@LOTW don't switch the grip at the start. I get up with both palms down, then switch my left (RFF) once up. Everyone is different but I got comfortable with the grip change within a few times out, it took less time than I thought it would. Trick is to commit so your mind makes that the normal.

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  • Baller

@Luzz said, "you would want to feel your right hip underneath your right arm"

I like this! Great way to put into words how to get hips "up" (which really is hips _forward_). This is how the skier can confirm achieving the desired position.

 

I think the #1 thing for your to focus on is skiing taller. The way to think about this is to think, "put more distance between your shoulders and your front foot". It is not a backward motion. Rather it is an upward motion. Also, try to be tall with hips not over your back foot, but more forward approaching above your front foot. You should be "proud and tall" every time you are on top of the water (once your are up, while gliding, while cutting, and while waiting). When you start a cut, you will feel the forces of the boat as applied to your shoulders. They will want to pull you out of your lean and somewhat crush you down shorter. Thus, as the load starts to build at the finish of the turn, you have to work to stand more "proud and tall" while leaning. My advice would be to focus only on this for several ski rides. It will take a few sets to figure it out. It will take many more to make it a new muscle-memory habit.

 

Here's Regina Jaquess' glide stance (tall):

9vjh9mjzev94.jpg

 

Here's her off-side turn finish/lean start stance (tall):

zol2u8ud4qey.jpg

(notice right hip under right arm like @Luzz said)

 

 

I agree with the others...

For the first time on buoys, the skier should always be at slower speeds (28 mph ish for guys).

 

The rope is your life line in slalom. It should never be sub-par or old.

 

 

 

 

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@Than_Bogan In the video he looks to be a pretty good skier but that speed is way to slow and the wake is even worse. The wake will improve leaps and bounds with more speed obviously. I would say start working your way up to 34 (free skiing) then after a couple weeks of that sure bump down to 30 but at 15 off I bet he would be skiing the course pretty quickly. And he has Ball of Spray to put video on when he needs some more tips.
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  • Baller
I certainly wouldn't suggest more speed until you become more stable. Taking wipeouts at 32/34 mph are a lot worse than 28/30 and the lack of stability at those speeds will make the wipeouts more likely. And thats just free skiing. Starting the course would definitely not be more than 28, and you may as well learn to ski properly at that speed. Seeing yourself getting around bouys sooner with good form will serve you better in the long run. Trying to get around bouys at higher speeds will just lead to frustration, and wipeouts. If the ski is sized right, there is no reason you should be sinking at those speeds. Any sinking you may see is more likely due to too much weight on the back of the ski. If you work on getting weight forward, on the wider part of the ski, the ski will sit on top of the water better, and you will be more stable. Yes, the wake is bigger at slow speeds, but thats a better tradeoff.
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Thanks for all the tips. This is so cool to be able to get feedback! God bless the internet. Its so nice to talk to people about skiing who are knowledgeable and helpful.

 

I live in northern Alberta in Canada but travel down to Montana to visit for a couple weeks a year ever since I was a kid and those are my chances to ski.

 

Ski lessons would be great but they are pretty inaccessible where I live. I have thought a winter vacation to a ski school would be a blast but would i lose everything i learned if a couldnt ski till a few months later?

 

I see and recognize that my body position is off. It seems like good skiers (from what i can see) can get there shoulders back and stay straight through the waist while keeping the ski fairly flat.

 

I feel like when i try to get vertical separation i end up riding the tail of the ski more. I cant keep the ski level and i shift most of my weight to my back foot?

 

How do i get my shoulders back not bend at the waist and not put so much weight on my back foot? Any tips or ideas to help it click in my mind for better alignment?

 

I weigh 215 so maybe my ski is a little small for me? Would it be better to ski at 28mph 15 off on slightly bigger ski (we have a 69” radar union) to not sink and to figure things out and progress?

 

I did find a video from an attempt earlier in the season at the beginner inside course on the lake. I know i missed one. It blows my mind that people can ski the outside bouys. They came up so fast and i never felt like i would be able to get far enough out there to do that haha.

 

The video is really poor so I apologize.

 

Thanks

 

 

 

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  • Baller

"How do i get my shoulders back not bend at the waist and not put so much weight on my back foot?"

 

Try this on dry land:

Stand in your slalom stance (right foot in front of left foot).

Stand tall, as tall as possible.

Lock your hips very forward.

Now, ONLY bend your front ankle.

 

What will happen is that both ankles will bend more.

Your front knee will bend a little, too; but your focus is only on the front ankle.

Your back knee should be mostly straight, unbent.

Your hips and center of mass will move forward and slightly down.

Your weight will transfer from your back foot to mostly your front foot.

 

"Straighten"/relax your ankles and see how your center of mass moves backward to your back foot. Bend your ankles and you move your weight forward to your front foot.

 

Once you understand and feel this, you can then apply it to your skiing stance on the water.

 

 

 

 

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"Would it be better to ski at 28mph 15 off on slightly bigger ski (we have a 69” radar union) to not sink and to figure things out and progress?"

- For sure slow your boat to 26 if you can. Whatever it takes to be early to 1 and start making passes.

 

The course feels wide until you get your wake crossing, best I can say is that if you pull out wide to the left you can look down the lake and see that you're 10' outside of the balls, and if you pull out wide to the right, again 10' outside of the balls - so the width isn't really a problem when you have rope. In terms of spacing - its the amount of space after a ball that is the key. If you "backside" the ball at the turn you have a long distance before the next one and you'll be early. If you go sailing past a ball 10' you'll rush at the next one and sail right past it.

 

At the moment you are trying to turn but maybe not finishing the turn and then you aren't really crossing the wakes. I would start by working on the wake crossing and then work your turns back in.

 

So a drill that can really help and something that I do if I'm open water skiing and just cannot make a good turn happen.

 

Pull out to the side and turn in towards the wakes, but look at the pylon in the boat. As you move towards the wakes your line is going to cross the rear corner of the hull. Work on starting to load the line as the rope crosses the corner of the hull and then right through the wakes. At first your point is going to be that rear corner, you can pic a point further up the side of the boat as you progress but the goal here is to make sure you don't start loading the line until that point and hold it through. On the other side ski out and coast then repeat start to turn in look down the line at the pylon and as the rope crosses that corner start to load the line.

 

On both sides make sure you stand tall and coast in that tall position, stay standing tall as the ski turns in and watch the line crossing the back of the boat as you load the line through the wakes.

 

The goal is to build that strong wake crossing position on both sides. Once you have that or even if you have a really nice crossing then build in riding the ski out and making that turn.

 

If you have a course accessible just go for it!

 

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"I would really love to get good enough to ski the course some day."

 

Seems like kind of a silly thing to say. 15.5 is the slowest tournament speed. Just keep slowing the boat down until you get to a speed where you can make it.

 

 

 

Ok, well, as you get to certain slow speeds, yes you will need bigger and fatter skis. That 69" Union might be just what the doctor ordered if you need to slow it down to make it through.

 

We have a local coach here in Utah that bought a Hovercraft and he teaches beginner folks the course at 18 mph with a full length rope. Whatever level you're at, if you've skied even just a few times, there exists a speed where you can go take your best shot at the course.

 

Also, until you're getting all 6 balls, most folks recommend taking the entrance gates out of your run. Gates are so tricky. Don't add them in until you're getting all 6 without them.

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@escmanaze what always frustrated me is that gates i I thought I was mailing the ski nearly hit the left hand ball. Ones I was sure I missed my ski was right on the right hand ball.

 

The slippage is real.

 

My other slalom course tip is good shorts. Ain't no time before the 55s to be playing with your trunks.

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  • Baller

I agree with your idea of getting a 69" Union or a Katana and skiing the course at 24 mph.

 

I was skiing the course at the end of last year on a Katana at 24 mph. Now at 30 mph on a

Carbon Omni.

 

Get on the course and post videos. People on here will be glad to help.

 

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  • Baller

@luzz thats cool i didnt know there was a ski club there. I am in grande prairie which is about 4.5 hours away but i go through edmonton 6-7 times a year i will have to check it out. Thanks!

 

Thanks again for all the comments! Hoping to make it out again but winter is coming real soon up here in the north. Ball of Spray will have to give me my fix in the meantime

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