The recently posted slow motion video of Terry Winter had many examples of great technique. However, there was one particular thing Terry does that I have not seen as pronounced in any other skier. We always talk about what good body position should be, but what limits most of us is “how” to achieve that position. This video gave me one of those “ahaahhhh” moments.
As he approaches and goes through the wakes, he pulls his trailing elbow back while simultaneously thrusting his knees/hips/ski forward. This is really hard to see at full speed, but in slo-mo it’s very distinct. The motion appears to be like pulling to start a lawnmower or chainsaw – that is pulling back, not in.
The mid point of this is that shortly after the second wake, his trailing (inside) elbow is at a full 90 degree angle coming into 1/3 and almost 90 degrees coming into 2/4. Handle control at its finest. This is apparent at all line lengths, but becomes less pronounced by 41.
Outside of the obvious difference of TW having his ski WAAAY out in front, the more important effect is in the rotation of the hips and upper body. While I think “counter-rotation” is widely misunderstood, it is easy to see the difference in how the shoulders are turned more clockwise between TW and the FOG*.
Digging a little deeper, the more important subtlety that I think this “pull back” motion really does is help to rotate the hips outbound – clockwise going into 1/3 (or more accurately resist the hips from being rotated into the turn). That’s where the counter rotation really happens – with the hips, not the shoulders.
Look at the difference in rotation of the hips and shoulders – and how can that be changed?
What it looks like to me is that this can be initiated by pulling the trailing hand/elbow back smoothly and firmly and simultaneously moving the inside hip forward. After trying this on land with just a handle section, the feeling is like corkscrewing the hips and keeping pressure on the outside shoulder through the motion. This is a motion that I think most skiers can physically do since the arm motion is not directly against the pull of the boat as opposed to thinking “hold the handle to the hips on the edge change” in direct opposition to the boat. Again, think of the motion of pull starting a lawnmower.
So no matter what position we have at the wakes, it can be improved by pulling back on the inside arm and pushing the inside hip toward shore.
This also ties in directly with handle control and keeping the upper body in a properly aligned position.http://www.ballofspray.com/home-v16/tech-articles-mainmenu/87-what-the-heck-is-handle-controlhttp://www.ballofspray.com/home-v16/tech-articles-mainmenu/785-staying-open
Too bad it will be March before I can try it.
*FOG – Friggin Old Guy
If it was easy, they would call it wakeboarding.