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Trick Ski Technology


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Has trick ski technology improved in the last 10 years to the point that it would make sense to upgrade from an older ski? 
 

I last upgraded my trick ski in 2012 to a Quantum, and that was around the time that manufacturers started using inserts for both front and rear plates. Due to that, my ski has held up much longer than the trick skis I owned prior to it. 
 

I don’t notice any performance deterioration with my current ski, but I’m curious if there are any improvements in technology (materials used, manufacturing process, etc.) that have made any material difference in the performance of a trick ski in the last 10 years, such that I might notice a difference in performance, particularly in regards to release off the wake for flips and spins.

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  • Baller

I'm sure technology has improved considerably especially since carbon fiber introduction. Am sure bevel tech has changed a lot but trick skis now are sure wider and lighter than before. Maybe just an interesting side note but Saucier used standard inserts front and rear back in the 70's.

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  • Baller

I don't know how much Quantum skis have changed since 2012, but there are many more options since 2012. Radar started making trick skis, Goode started making trick skis again, and D3 changed the shape of their tricks since then.  It's certainly worth trying a new one if you are doing more than basic tricks. 

I was skiing on a 2012 D3 HC rubber edge and bought a new D3 Aira HC RE in 2022 when they came out. When I pulled it out of the box I wondered if my purchase was worthwhile because the shape looked about identical to my old ski.  The first time I skied on it was in October, cold water with a full wetsuit, and I did tricks I hadn't done in years. It was noticeably magic!  So much so the guys I ski with were compelled to buy one too.

Buy a new trick ski - you won't regret it.

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  • Baller

Not only has ski design and technology improved but trick skis, like all skis (maybe even more so if you're doing flips?) fatigue over time.  I recently tried a virtually new D3 and compared to the old one I tried the same day (maybe 15 years old) there was a world of difference- even to a crappy tricker like me.

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  • Elite Skier

I'm pretty sure very little has been abated in the quantum since 2012 especially in construction or parts. All the ski designers have a slightly different shape but they do very little/no changing from year to year. Pretty sure most of the company's have found a shape they like and stuck with it, the only change being the graphic.  Radar kind of went a little off the norm a few years ago by adding some concave and that gives a different feel especially for wake tricks but other than that they all just have slight differences which just means you've got to try them to fins one that fits you best. 

 

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  • Baller

@RobHazelwood interesting that you mentioned the slight concave on the Gravitron by Radar.  My 1980s Connelly HP trick ski had a concave too.  It skied completely different than the more-popular Kidder/HO trick with the tracking grooves.  I hated the Connelly Concept trick though, which was stepped.

Trick skis may look similar brand to brand but they sure can be different once you study them up close or better, ski on them!

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  • Elite Skier
On 12/1/2023 at 12:59 AM, Cooper_Trelawney said:

@RobHazelwood interesting that you mentioned the slight concave on the Gravitron by Radar.  My 1980s Connelly HP trick ski had a concave too.  It skied completely different than the more-popular Kidder/HO trick with the tracking grooves.  I hated the Connelly Concept trick though, which was stepped.

Trick skis may look similar brand to brand but they sure can be different once you study them up close or better, ski on them!

Yeah, only minor but helps build load and release for the flips and slows the ski down meaning faster transitions through flips specifically. Does add a lot of grip/suction for release and rotation on ski lines but just takes a slightly different feel than others. I do agree all the models are different in aspects but none really have a life changing feels per-se as you would maybe feel on a slalom ski brand swap. Much less variables to change on the trick skis.

 

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I keep threatening to trick more. I received a Reflex Duo Rubber Edge a few months ago. I think it is the most economical ski available.  It is heavier ( more durable? ) than the top-end skis but so far I am very happy with it. I think for basic tricks it is very good.  Reflex also makes a high end ski called the Neo that competes with the Radar, KD, Quantum and D3 stuff.  The difference between trick skis is a project I have not really tackled. 

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  • Baller

I was on the Graviton this year and wrote a review of it. The concave is fantastic for sticking landings on wake tricks but the same feature makes it a little sketchy for surface tricks. Got a new  D3 this fall and I’m loving it.  I’m on a one ski quiver for the first time in years.

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Great thread. I am looking to get back into competitive skiing after a 20+ year hiatus.  I use to ski on the connelly concept, but didn’t have the same experience as others.  Then again i progressed from a set of cypress garden techniques. Nonetheless it sounds like picking up a aira, graviton, or momentum should all be good for getting back in the groove.  One thing i am confused over is ski sizes and speeds.  I am 185 and it sounds like a 43 should do it, however not understanding the speeds in the 19+ mph range.  My guess is if you run a hotter speed you probably ride a smaller ski. Any thoughts greatly appreciated. 

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  • Baller

43” should work well for you. The ski size should not vary with the speed. The speed you set is a matter of feel. The ski should turn easily, not bogging down and not slippery. There is no hard-and-fast rule. Experiment and see what speed works best for hands and toes. Find your comfort zone. 

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  • Baller

Much has changed in the tricking world in 20 years. Ski design, materials, bindings, the non stretch ropes, the boats we ski behind, the tricks we do, the coaching - almost everything. The new equipment IS better. Go all in with a new ski and hardshell.

Regarding size, 43" is certainly not too big for you. I'm lighter than you and ski a 45" ski FWIW.

Hardshell boots allow more edge control and more fore aft control. This allows you to manage a bigger ski and faster speeds. Plus they are comfortable for the hour long sets tricking needs. And they have reasonably safe release characteristics (note that if you are doing flips you might not want any release). Also note that trickers often prefer boots that are stiffer than a slalom hardshell. You may need a different shell than your slalom setup.

The speed is determined by the tricks you want to do and the boat you will ski behind in a tournament. Flips like the harder wakes that more speed offers (don't go too much faster than 20mph as the trick course will only accommodate 23mph). The table is variable with speed and boat (with the ballast figured out). The wakes of the current boats you will get in a tournament seem better at slightly higher speeds. The ski designs reflect this and work well at the higher speeds. Any speed adjustments need a corresponding rope length adjustment (usually longer for faster speeds). Note that different boats call for different rope lengths - make sure you get time behind the tournament boat before the tournament! 

All the new skis ski well. Demo as many as you can and pick the one you like best. 

Eric

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Thanks for the input!  I am looking forward to getting back into it.  As for gear, with being out for a long time I doubt I will feel the difference between skis until I put time on a the water.  I have always believed most times it is not the equipment but the technique.  However goi no with a 43 seems to line up with the charts.  I appreciate the 411. Cheers!

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