O’Brien Elite Review - first draft

HortonHorton Posts: 27,186 Administrator
edited June 2009 in Skis Fins Bindings
<p>
This is my first draft review of the O’Brien Elite. I expect to return to this ski later this summer for additional scrutiny. This review reflects my experience only and is not associated with a Water Ski Magazine equipment review.
</p>
<p>
From my first ride on the Elite, I was impressed with a number of it’s attributes but struggled to get to my normal ball count. The ski turned and tracked fantastically but I found myself down course and narrow all the time. The issue was a combination of my skiing faults and the fin setting.  With a .010” forward adjustment in DFT, the personality of the ski totally changed for the better. Width is no longer an issue.
</p>
<p>
I think a more technical skier than I might benefit from the stock settings and may get more out of the ski than I am getting at the moment. My conclusion is that the Elite is very sensitive to DFT adjustments.
</p>
<p>
If you have been reading my reviews for a while you know that I do not like the term “Speed” because I think it can be deceptive.  What I can tell you about the Elite is that it achieves and maintains a lot of angle without wearing out the skier. To me a “fast ski” is one that not only gets wide but does so with less rope tension. I judge this based on the amount of effort it takes me to run five or six 35 off passes. Judged this way the Elite is very fast. If we had a good way to measure water speed I suspect that the Elite maintains a more constant water speed then most.  
</p>
<p>
Many of the top skis today have different personalities on each side. Some skis require more or less front foot pressure for On Side or Off Side. Some skis seem to draw a different radius in each side. The Elite is remarkably balanced in this regard.
</p>
<p>
Turns on both sides are crisp and fast. Not radical neck breaking nor long carving but fast and smooth. Angle off the ball is as aggressive as any ski I have ever ridden.  The Elite requires at least medium front foot pressure for 35 off and beyond. I loaned the Elite to a friend of mine who runs 28 off with more determination than technique. I was impressed to see that the ski turned well for him even though he is not as centered. 
</p>
<p>
Tip attitude is something better watched from the boat then felt by the skier. The one comment that I have heard continually since I have been on the Elite is that the ride attitude of the ski is remarkably flat (tip down). My regular ski partners all agree that the water breaks further forward on the Elite then on any other ski that they can recall. This is true at all times in the course; pre-turn, off the ball, and though the wakes. I believe that the fact that so much of the rail is in the water is why this ski is physically easy to ride.
</p>
<p>
The Elite is relatively free in terms of roll stability. This means that I have to be careful to not “fall into the boat” on heel side turns. I believe that the roll stability of this ski is why I needed to move the fin forward. With a little upper body discipline at the ball line this means that the ski will carry out and carve back better. For a skier who tends to lean in with their shoulders at the ball I suspect that the Elite could be challenging.
</p>
<p>
Once I moved the fin forward I found that width was not an issue and is easy to achieve. The Elite does not require a lot of handle control to achieve width.  As with all skis it will work better with a tight line all the way to the ball. Skiers who struggle with this skill will surely enjoy forgiveness in this regard.
</p>
<p>
As a rule I do not “Endorse” any ski. If you asked if I am enthusiastic about the performance of the Elite, the answer is “Hell Yea!”. I think it will work for a wide range of skiers and I think the pro & big dawg level skiers will be insane for it.
</p>
<p>
<font color="#999999">Back on the ski as of 8/1 and looking for many balls</font>
</p>

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«13

Comments

  • FAFA Posts: 66 Baller
    <p>
    What numbers are you running on the Elite?
    </p>
    <p>
     
    </p>
  • MattPMattP Posts: 5,981 Mega Baller
    only if the price tag was a little lower i would be all over it. I am looking for a new ski and i have always skied well on Andy's ski designs and this new one sounds like the ticket
    but one only needs $$$$$$$$$$$$$
  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,186 Administrator
    <p>
    Matt,
    </p>
    <p>
    This may be your lucky day. I have a few blems I can let go for a good price. They are not exactly cheap but better then 2K.
    </p>
    <p>
    Horton
    </p>
    <p>
     
    </p>
    <p>
    FA
    </p>
    <p>
    I am not at home  -  with my numbers book. I will look and post later.
    </p>
    <p>
    Horton
    </p>

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  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,186 Administrator
    <p>
    FA
    </p>
    <p>
    Adam at the factory had me start at
    </p>
    <p>
     6.840 Tips
    </p>
    <p>
    .780 Head (Dial Slot is the only way to go)
    </p>
    <p>
    2.515
    </p>
    <p>
    Turns here were unreal but I has issues with outboud direction off second wake. From Ball to Second wake is SICK! 
    </p>
    <p>
    __________________________________________________________________________
    </p>
    <p>
    Last I skied on it I was at
    </p>
    <p>
    6.855 Tips
    </p>
    <p>
    .799 Dial Slot /Head
    </p>
    <p>
    2.510
    </p>
    <p>
    Turns not as auto but outbound is was better
    </p>
    <p>
    _________________________________________________________________________
    </p>
    <p>
    I will order another one in a week or two and give it a go again.
    </p>
    <p>
     
    </p>

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  • Stevie BoyStevie Boy Posts: 1,918 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    <div>
    <font face="Verdana" size="2"><strong>Product Test Update: </strong>

    </font>
    </div>
    <div>
    <font face="Verdana" size="2"><strong>67" Elite Stock Settings:</strong></font>
    </div>
    <div>
    <font face="Verdana" size="2">Boots:            29 1/4 - 1/2" From Tail</font>
    </div>
    <div>
    <font face="Verdana" size="2"><strong>Fin Settings: </strong>   </font>
    </div>
    <div>
    <font face="Verdana" size="2">Length:   6.850" (Tips)</font>
    </div>
    <div>
    <font face="Verdana" size="2">DFT:      .785 "</font>
    </div>
    <div>
    <font face="Verdana" size="2">Depth:   2.490 - 2.50"

    </font>
    </div>
    <div>
    <font face="Verdana" size="2"> </font>
    </div>
    <div>
    <font face="Verdana" size="2"><strong>Andy Mapple's Personal Settings </strong>(Rear Toe)</font>
    </div>
    <div>
    <font face="Verdana" size="2">Boots:     29.5"</font>
    </div>
    <div>
    <div>
    <font face="Verdana" size="2">Length:   6.837" (Tips)</font>
    </div>
    <div>
    <font face="Verdana" size="2">DFT:       0.785 "</font>
    </div>
    </div>
    <div>
    <font face="Verdana" size="2">Depth:    2.510"</font>
    </div>
    <div>
    <font face="Verdana" size="2"> </font>
    </div>
    <div>
    <font face="Verdana" size="2"><strong>Chet Raley's Settings </strong>(Double Boot)</font>
    </div>
    <div>
    <font face="Verdana" size="2">Boots:     29.25"</font>
    </div>
    <div>
    <div>
    <font face="Verdana" size="2">Length:   6.840" (Tips)</font>
    </div>
    <div>
    <font face="Verdana" size="2">DFT:       0.785 "</font>
    </div>
    </div>
    <div>
    <font face="Verdana" size="2">Depth:    2.490"</font>
    </div>

    "Getting Harder/Getting Positive”

  • skidawgskidawg Posts: 3,260 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    First - fin set up is critical.  Too much length will cause the ski to

    prematurely turn back into the buoy - as will too little depth.  With a

    length of (6.838) the ski transitions well off the 2nd wake.  Width is no problem

    The depth of 2.512 works well in conjunction w/ the length.  DFT of (.784) is critical as well.  Jones talked to cp this wknd and said a bit shallower and shorter for 34 (which is where I ended up by accident)



     The ski is fast (fastest I have ever been on)- that's been said about a lot of skis - but this ski is fast in the sense that it is fast behind the boat (scary fast)- fast off the second wake in transition- and super fast thru the finish of the turn. It is one of the few skis that I don't feel like i sink at 34 mph in the turns.   Other

    skis are quick out of the buoy but this ski gets it's quickness from its

    maintenance of speed created off the 2nd wake - you don't have to bleed

    speed to get the ski to turn.   Unlike some skis I have ridden this year the elite is money when you are on, but it also is very forgiving if you make a mistake. It has a wonderful emergency mode.   The

    turns are symmetrical on both sides - ski does not have an offside -

    doesn't take a lot of effort to ski.  Like most of Andy's skis, you can move

    around a bit with no negative reactions.  



     The ski gets better as the line shortens - the "space" generated at 39 Is ridiculous.  Is it possible to be to wide and early?



     Very good finish quality.  The packaging is great.  It has a clean and sexy look. No fancy graphics to cover up some deficiency in the layup.  O'Brien obviously is confident in the RMT process - they give the ski a two year warranty.  In today's high-end ski market, that stands out from the crowd.  I feel this ski is much more durable than what's offered from others.   The ski is light but not from a lack of internal components but rather a  new manufacturing process that allows for reduction in weight without

    sacrificing durability.  Overall my impression is a jaw dropping  WOW.  I am skiing better than I have in two years with less effort.  Andy, adam and Obrien have done a fantastic job, everyone should own an elite.  It is by far the best ski I have ever been on.  Skiing is now fun again.  I can't wait till my next tournament-I smell a PB.
    Mr. Mom is Horton's favorite movie!
  • MrJonesMrJones Posts: 1,763 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    <p>
    I was fortunate enough to watch CP run 41 two of three rounds today at an R tournament. A slight crush from 2 to 3 the first time, then clean. The last round 41 was absolutely sick. I have seen some good skiing over the years, but I have never seen anything like that. I don't know if it is possible to be early at 41, but that is how I would have to describe it.
    </p>
    <p>
     He has a ski he is confident on again. His best score was [email protected] today, but I believe 2 will be going down soon. 
    </p>
    <p>
    sj
    </p>
  • lkblkb Posts: 576 Baller
    Skidawg, have you ever skied a Warp? If so, how does it compare with the elite?
  • skidawgskidawg Posts: 3,260 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    seen it from the boat, didn't ride it (wasn't set up for velcro).  The warp looks good, just hard for me to take a chance on a ski that one handle ding and you are down for a while waiting on repair. 
    Mr. Mom is Horton's favorite movie!
  • lkblkb Posts: 576 Baller
    I have skied about 150 sets on my Warp with no problems at all but I have seen one that got popped by a handle...the guy put some tape on it and kept on skiing.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,186 Administrator
    I saw a guy a touney a few weeks ago with <span class="ds36"><font face="Verdana" size="2" color="#000080"><span class="ds38">Marine-Tex <strong>all over</strong> the tip of his Warp. </span></font></span>

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  • MattPMattP Posts: 5,981 Mega Baller
    I think i heard some where that Warp was going out of business.
  • thagerthager Posts: 4,437 Mega Baller
    I rode the Elite in February at Drews. Have to agree on Skidawgs comments above. It is the fastest ski I have ever been on period and turns were symetrical and effortless. Coming off a Sixam it was an instant and effortless transition.  I am not a rough water skier but I ran 28 off in 9 inch chop without a lot of effort. I told Drew that it felt like a Sixam with afterburner. If I had a spare 2K I would definately be on one!!!!!
    Stir vigorously then leave!
  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,186 Administrator
    <p>
    Matt,
    </p>
    <p>
    Heard that too but does not mean it is true
    </p>

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  • BoneHeadBoneHead Posts: 6,028
    <p>
    Mine just arrived. Thank, JTH! You must be the # 1 in Elite sales by now! lol Even the box is awesome. That alone impressed me. Can't wait to try it out!
    </p>
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • skidawgskidawg Posts: 3,260 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    Start w/ 29.5 bindings, 6.837, 2.511 or 12, .785 -.782  (dft mucho importanto)
    Mr. Mom is Horton's favorite movie!
  • BoneHeadBoneHead Posts: 6,028
    That's pretty close to where I set mine up, within .001. I'm not sure I'm digging the new fin clamp. I gotta try a few fin adjustments. Just not used to not having set screws. Although even with the 3 screws full loose, there seems to be enough drag inside the slot to keep the fin from moving all over. We'll see. 
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • MrJonesMrJones Posts: 1,763 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    <p>
    One thing that seems nice about the Elite is that all the numbers I am hearing from people are pretty consistant. That goes for the 67" and the 65.5".
    </p>
    <p>
    The factory recommended binding location seems to be pretty well on the money.
    </p>
    <p>
     Depth seems universally around 2.510-2.515
    </p>
    <p>
    Length is typically 6.840-.845
    </p>
    <p>
    DFT is the variable with the 67" being about 0.780 and the 65.5" feeling better to me at 0.765.
    </p>
    <p>
    Of course if you are a little big or a little small for the size ski you might need to adjust. That might be why the smaller ski felt better to me farther back. Still, these are all very close which gives you some confidence that you are not just wandering in the wilderness with your caliper in hand.
    </p>
    <p>
    sj
    </p>
    <p>
    ps. Maybe we should move this to the Elite thread?
    </p>
  • Old MS AccoutOld MS Accout Posts: 2,114 Baller
    edited July 2009
    <p>
    First rides on the elite last night were OK.
    </p>
    <p>
    I was at 29.25 with my front boot and will go to 29.5 tonight.
    </p>
    <p>
    6.840
    </p>
    <p>
    2.512
    </p>
    <p>
    .785
    </p>
    <p>
    I will post the review after I tinker for a few days.
    </p>
    <p>
    The one thing I can comment on is the fin box. I dont like it.
    </p>
  • BoneHeadBoneHead Posts: 6,028
    Yeah, I'm not sure on the fin box either.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • MrJonesMrJones Posts: 1,763 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    <p>
    If you are coming from using set screws anything without them will seem like a pain. My Prophecy did not have set screws either and I can say for sure that the Obrien is much less difficult to deal with than the Connelly was.
    </p>
    <p>
     The Obrien clamps look cool, but I would opt for the screws over cool...
    </p>
    <p>
    sj
    </p>
  • skibugskibug Posts: 2,027
    All that $$$ for a ski, all that engineering, I can't beleive that the fin box is such a pain.  My buddy has an elite and adjusting it just right can be a little tough.
    Bob Grizzi
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,892 Mega Baller
    My guess is the Elite fin box is about keeping it light vs ease of adjustment.  The fin box is still probably the heaviest thing on the ski and it looks lighter than most fin boxes.
    Mark Shaffer
  • BoneHeadBoneHead Posts: 6,028
    I didn't have too much of a problem getting it adjusted. It's just different when you're used to set screws. There's enough drag on the fin inside the slot even with the screws full loose that mine doesn't move around without being tapped on.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,186 Administrator
    You guys should know that the designer of that fin box reads BallOfSpray and is crying in his beer as he reads this.

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  • AdamCordAdamCord Posts: 703 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    Haha no trust me I don't take offense to the fin box comments. The truth is that I would love to do set screws but legally I can't because of this patent: http://www.google.com/patents?id=ygglAAAAEBAJ&printsec=abstract&zoom=4

    I figured as long as I can't use set screws I might as well at least make it as light as possible, which I think we did a pretty good job of!
  • skibugskibug Posts: 2,027
    <p>
    Adam,
    </p>
    <p>
    Maybe O'Brien should use some type of cam screws instead of set screws.  That way you differentiate the design.  Just a thought from one engineer to another.
    </p>
    Bob Grizzi
  • BoneHeadBoneHead Posts: 6,028
    <p>
    I just changed my fin settings. The fin box isn't as bad as I first thought. Just different.
    </p>
    <p>
    First set tonight. I'm quite impressed. It's easily the smoothest, softest feeling ski I've been on. Gonna need some sets to figure out where to ride it, but it's got promise.
    </p>
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • D WoltersD Wolters Posts: 139 Baller
    <p>
    Adam,
    </p>
    <p>
    I've thought of that very thing for several years. Not only could you push the fin to a desired setting you could pull it back if overshot.
    </p>
    <p>
    Also would allow for easier lenght and depth setup.
    </p>
    <p>
     
    </p>
  • FAFA Posts: 66 Baller
    edited July 2009
    <p>
    THE FIN BOX IS WORLDS ABOVE THE OLD LINE LOCK, LIGHT AND ADJUSTABLE. 
    </p>
    <p>
    NATE SMITH ((M1) 39.5OFF SKIER FROM INDIANA) WAS UP AT OUR LAKE TWO WEEKS AGO. BOTH OF US ON THE ELITE. BOTH HIM AND I ARE RUNNING 11 DEGREES ON OUR WING. I AM ON A 68.5" HE IS ON A 67". I RAN THE STOCK NUMBERS GIVEN (68"):  BOOT: 30 1/8"   LENGTH  6.870 (tips)   DEPTH  2.515   TAIL     .820                AND COULD NOT MAKE THE SKI TURN AT ALL. GOT HIS NUMBERS (67") AND MOVED THE BOOTS TO  29 3/4     AND FIN TO:         TAIL .781     DEPTH 2.52     LENGTH 6.833 AND THE SKI HAS COME ALIVE. IT IS AMAZING. I AM JUST WAITING FOR THE BUOYS AT 22 AND 28   36MPH. I JUST SIT BACK AND LETTHE SKI CREATE ITS ANGLE AND IT IS AMAZING. THE FACT THAT ALL THE NUMBERS ARE SUPER CONSISTANT IS AMAZING AS WELL.
    </p>
    <p>
     
    </p>
    <p>
     
    </p>
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