This is my first draft review of the OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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.
From my first ride on the Elite, I was impressed with a number of itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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.Ã‚Â With a .010Ã¢â‚¬Â forward adjustment in DFT, the personality of the ski totally changed for the better. Width is no longer an issue.
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.
If you have been reading my reviews for a while you know that I do not like the term Ã¢â‚¬Å“SpeedÃ¢â‚¬Â because I think it can be deceptive.Ã‚Â 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 Ã¢â‚¬Å“fast skiÃ¢â‚¬Â 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.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â
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.
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.Ã‚Â 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.Ã‚Â
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.
The Elite is relatively free in terms of roll stability. This means that I have to be careful to not Ã¢â‚¬Å“fall into the boatÃ¢â‚¬Â 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.
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.Ã‚Â 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.
As a rule I do not Ã¢â‚¬Å“EndorseÃ¢â‚¬Â any ski. If you asked if I am enthusiastic about the performance of the Elite, the answer is Ã¢â‚¬Å“Hell Yea!Ã¢â‚¬Â. 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.
Back on the ski as of 8/1 and looking for many balls