Rear boot improvement?

I think we would agree that we're all trying to get weight forward on our offside turn and stay balanced on the ski at all times for that matter. It occured to me a couple of years ago that there is a significant handicap in the design of rear boots or toe plates that is quite literally making it much more difficult to accomplish the correct weight distribution than it should be. So I stood barefoot on my kitchen floor with my feet parallel. Naturally my hips were level. Then I put my right foot behind my left flat on the floor and noticed how much my right hip dropped below my left as I tilted back. The next thing I did was grab some magazines and stack them behind my left foot until I knew that placing my right foot behind the left maintained level hips. When I measured the stack of magazines it turned out to be slightly more than half an inch. I went looking for a solution and found a white board material (I forget what it is called) that was a quarter inch thick yet quite flexible so as not to affect the flex of the ski. Then I traced my back plate and cut that material to match, drilled holes, got longer screws and mounted it under my back plate. The last thing I did was buy two Dr. Scholl's heal lifts and put them into my back boot. Voila, I had raised my back foot a half inch so that my hips stayed level thoughout the pass even though my back foot was behind my front foot. Now I would expect that I am not the first person to come up with something so obvious. But I wonder why no boot or ski manufacturer has not considered this fix for the strange stance we must use to water ski? Comments please.
Orlando76skihart

Comments

  • HortonHorton Posts: 25,038 Administrator
    As with all discussions concerning heal lifts and different heights of bindings my expectation is that it makes a lot of sense on the dock but in practice it puts the skier at a disadvantage from the ball to the wakes.

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  • So_I_SkiSo_I_Ski Posts: 79 Baller
    Horton, can you elaborate please. I believe it has made a significant difference in my body position. And I have heard a number of skiers say that entering their offside turn in order to get more weight forward they literally lift their heal off the plate. But why would the skier be at a disadvantage by having his back hip level with his front hip. Or in what way is it an advantage to ski with the back hip lower than the front one?
  • Orlando76Orlando76 Posts: 623 Crazy Baller
    this has me intrigued because like most I'm battling getting my hips up and level. More input guys wether yay or nay.

    @solski it wasn't Starboard you used was it? That would seem to rigid.
    AkBob
  • wtrskiorwtrskior Posts: 704 Crazy Baller
    @Orlando76 doing this is not going to correct fundamental body position flaws
    Horton
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,323 Mega Baller
    I would think it would be a benefit if you have an ankle flexibility issue in your back leg. Otherwise it may be a crutch that might help short term but isn't a long term fix.
    Mark Shaffer
  • RazorRoss3RazorRoss3 Posts: 1,284 Mega Baller
    @orlando76, having your back foot higher will not get your hips up, if you are riding in the back seat of the ski with your hips back you need to do a lot of land practice and a lot of pulling drills. 2 big things for hips up are bending your front ankle and knee, and squeezing your shoulder blades back and down. The flex in your front knee and ankle will settle you forward on the ski and provide shock absorbers in your lower body while squeezing your shoulder blades down and back will help both bring your handle down and your hips forward. I would recommend doing a lot of pulling drills focusing on those two things.

    @solski, I have to agree with @chef23 that the augmented back boot may be a crutch for a body position issue, if anything I have a tendency to be too far forward on my off side, not back, and I find that focusing on better body position in the pull and better handle control off the second wake usually eliminates and issue with not being in the right place on the ski in the turn.
    bishop8950
  • GeriatricsGeriatrics Posts: 2 New Baller
    If this was the solution to poor body position everyone would already be doing it
  • HortonHorton Posts: 25,038 Administrator
    It is a pretty easy trap to fall into. Lots of stuff make a lot of sense on the dock and is totally useless in on the water.

    @soloski yes you want to get your hips forward going into Off Side and some of the best in the world do lift their heel. The reality is that they are pushing their hips forward and that pulls their heel up. If your hips are back, lifting your heel only makes you less stable.

    Most of us are not in a perfect position at the wakes. If your back binding is higher the result will be your back knee will be bent more and you will tend to fall even farther back.

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  • So_I_SkiSo_I_Ski Posts: 79 Baller
    With all due respect to Geriatrics, that is an age old response that in itself has no merit. Maintaining the status quo and resistance to something different is human nature and when skiing on one ski was originally conceived it was likely a number of years before anyone even thought of course skiing and many more before the intricacies of correct form were developed to permit short line skiing. By then anyone with a new idea probably met with the same comment that you just made. If man had assumed that the status quo is the best solution, we'd still be carrying fire and hunting with spears. Here is one thing that cannot be denied in response to Razor. Having your back foot higher definitely levels your hips because without a lift your back hip is logically lower than your right and if you do what I did with magazines you can measure it to the 16th of an inch. That is fact. The real crutch is to do nothing to rectify the current boot setups. And yes, better skiers have learned to overcome that crutch by bending the front ankle and knee more than should be required by doing the drills he is suggesting and by increasing rear ankle flex. The question that no one has answered is what possible advantage is there in having the back hip lower than the front to begin with other than you are already accustomed to that position and have learned to overcome it? Why wouldn't someone do what I did and simply raise the back foot and see what happens? As for that material I used I don't know what it is or where I bought it because I did it three years ago but if not that, then use the same hard rubber pad material that is currently in use for your foot bed to try it. And the next nay sayer should really not trash this idea unless they have a valid reason for having the back hip lower than the front. State specifically how and where this position enhances your ability to make a pass.
  • RazorRoss3RazorRoss3 Posts: 1,284 Mega Baller
    Not having seen your modification or more importantly seen it in use (some photos/video if you have it would be cool) I would not intend to bash it, that would be unfair. I would go on to say that I don't believe having one hip lower than the other is good or that having one hip farther back on the ski than the other is good. I personally attempt to keep my hips square to the direction of my ski which eliminates both of those problems in my own skiing. In order to do that it requires that I stay fairly loose, hip flexer, quad, hamstring, and calve mobility are important in achieving that position on the ski. Before we go any farther in this though, as said above, I would be very interested in seeing your modification and if video exists to see you ski on it since you've had it for a few years and are used to it.
    Than_Bogan
  • ChetChet Posts: 40 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    Hey solski I tried this quite a bit and agree it has some really cool benefits. I think some people really get advantage from some elevation. With others it created some balance instability for various different reasons. I applaud your ingenuity and action to put it into practice. Keep on keeping on.
    ozskiThan_Bogan
  • ozskiozski Posts: 1,537
    I messed about with heel lifts last summer and my results were not great so I gave the idea away. As @Chet said for me it created some stability issues. I also think if getting forward is such a big issue then your probably starting from too far back in the first place.
    'Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.'' Boat 2005 Nautique 196 6L ZO - Ski: KD Platinum

    Horton
  • So_I_SkiSo_I_Ski Posts: 79 Baller
    I started my original post by stating two things which I believed were goals of all skiers, weight forward on the offside and a balanced stance at all times. I did not state that I was necessarily having a problem with either and subsequently looking for a solution. The question that no one seems to want to attempt to answer is what benefit there is to starting with what is essentially an unbalanced or compromised position with your back hip lower than the front hip when it can be so easily addressed. Where is the advantage to this position other than familiarity? And that can quickly be overcome like any other position just by trying it for awhile. In response to Razor I left for the weekend and will send pics when I get back on Monday. No video this year but my skiing van be frighteningly inconsistent. I have the attention span of a gnat and that is truly insulting to the gnat. I fix one thing and two passes later move onto something else which means I never fix anything.
    Than_Bogan
  • teammalibuteammalibu Posts: 647 Crazy Baller
    If you want a setup that works why not look at what the pros and high end amatuer skiers are using! that might also work in the technique department!
    Mike Erb Cedar Ridge Canton Miss.
    Horton is my hero
    Ralph Lee
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