Success Stories for those stuck at 15off

gregygregy Posts: 2,425 Mega Baller
edited November 2016 in Technique & Theory
Have you ever dropped at the end of a pass and said to yourself "I'm a better skier than this". I was.

This is my success story of how I went from 15off to 32off in 1 year. Not bragging, more so people wanting to improve can know what's possible. After not skiing for over 15 years I started missing it. Well as fate would have it I happen to sit next to someone in a restaurant that was wearing a University of Texas Waterski team t-shirt on and introduced myself right away. It was @ToddL, not sure if he remembers it, he told me about a ski school he ran locally. This got me really thinking. So when summer came I dug my old ski up and headed to ski school. I was nervous I wouldn't get out of the water, but I did and made some attempts at 15off 30mph. In another twist of fate turns out one of my co-workers had a MasterCraft and did a lot of free skiing. That was about about 6 years ago. We started skiing together and blindly set our goals to run 28off. We thought it would take a year or so, but 5 years later I was struggling to run 15off 32mph and my buddy had pretty much given up on the sport. On top of that I had some non ski related injuries that had set back my training.

Over those 5 years I think I can say I built a good base and improved my understanding of Slalom theory. I got some coaching from pros when they came to my area, Seth Stisher, Andy Mapple, Wade Cox. Its hard to learn a lot in just a couple of sets though, but I picked up a little from each. I ordered all the videos I could find. Spent countless hours on BOS reading and youtube watching videos. For those thinking that I'm some super athlete, I usually was one of the last kids chosen for teams as a youngster. My family had a lake house though and I had a knack for water skiing early on. I only wish I had known about ski schools as a kid.

So 2014 was almost a bust due to injuries and life. Summer 2015 wasn't going well either. That is until I met @parkerc2112 and his girlfriend. We had similar work schedules and we able ski 2 to 3 days a week and ended up only missing a few weeks all winter. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Summer 2015 is done, I am sitting in the water after just struggle through a 15off 32mph pass thinking, I'm better than this, what's it going to take to improve. First thing I did was start videoing every pass and studying it. Next thing was sending some videos for coaching to Chris Parrish (who I pick specifically because he was LFF like me). CP gave me a few pointers mostly on gates. Gates was the key. Before long I was running 22off 34mph occasionally and one or two at 28off. Summer 2016 I started running 28off some. I ended up getting around 4 ball on a slow 32off as my best. @RazorRoss3 gave a pointer on the gates that added some more consistent. Ended up getting 3 @ 28off at BOS tournament, I was running it, went inside 4 ball.

Fin Whisper Book was probably one of the single biggest thing that improved my skiing I was one of first to get one and it was worth every penny. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to improve and be ready to experiment.

I also keep notes on setups and what I worked on for techniques, what worked and doesn't work. Sometimes I would go out with specific plans for correcting a problem. I might identify a problem and have three things I want to try to solve it. I use a RainWriter waterproof notebook but more and more I just use my smartphone.

Same day I did coaching with Mapple I was able to try a 2014 Vapor with the Wilson brothers. I skied better the first set, I was sold. I ended up getting a 2015 Vapor which I was running 22off on. I later got a 2016 Vapor which is what I started running 28off on. Definitely have to give @brooks some credit for success with setups and being available for a demo day. @Chris Rossi also helped with setup info as well. I was more of a set it to stock skier before, but I found a properly setup ski can really help with developing technique and the setup my need to evolve with your technique.

So to sum it up what worked for me:

1. Skiing partner that is dedicated as I am.
2. Video tape passes and study them.
3. Video coaching. @CParrish43 thanks.
4. Skiing 2 to 3 times a weeks through the winter, usually 2 sets each time.
5. Some tips and discussions from other skiers.
6. Reading BOS specially @jhughes thread about what the heck is so hard about 28off. Wouldn't of happened without BOS.
7. Get some professional coaching when you can.
8. @SkiJay Fin Whisper book, This was absolutely one of the most important things.
9. A properly setup ski. I almost gave up on the 2016 Vapor, so it makes a difference.
10. Take notes. Track setups. Note what works and doesn't for technique etc.

Each of the above was a part of my success. Remove any one of them and I'd still probably be at 15off. No special advantages, just a commitment to improve.

Anyone wants to tell there story feel free.
Than_BoganRazorRoss3parkerc2112MuskokaKySkiJaybajaskiboynyaupatkingbdoughertychris55DekeBill22galejanrodeconBulldogart90notchtjmrockdoglukewrightescmanazeMattPJayproDavidNsunvalleylawskihartJJVDMZNlundbergscorban2One_SkiChunkydmarkchilcuttz_skierballsohardbf`JordanskigirlKeith Menard6ballsbmacj2nhskialexConorRob

Comments

  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,702 Mega Baller
    I do remember that, @gregy! :smiley:
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
    sunvalleylaw
  • Funny my story is similar and using a Vapor too! Private water, better coaching, more skiing and the ***-19*** loop got me into -22 in a few months.

    I have never been in the presence of 'pros' but my buddies telling me to get up on the boat more and 'keep back arm pressure' ect is really helpful and allowed me to have the best summer skiing to date!
    Vapor pro 2017
    Bill22sunvalleylaw
  • KRoundyKRoundy Posts: 146 Baller
    This is awesome. Thank you for posting it. I am just getting back to skiing now and just had a very humbling weekend at a private ski lake. But I am improving and this note really gives me the motivation to keep working at it. Thanks!!!

    Just for my information - how do you video your sets? I know that this is something I should be doing. GoPro? iPhone? Other device? I'd like to know what works, without having to spend stupid amounts of money. Thanks!

    Kevin
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,425 Mega Baller
    @KRoundy a lot of people use Wakeye which is on the advertiser list at the top of the page as a tracking device. There's some other options. Wakeye has options for phone holders. I think the newer GoPros or ok but the older GoPros didn't have much zoom and had the fish eye effect. I have an older video camera I got off of craigslist. There is threads here on video cameras etc if you do some searches.
  • sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,217 Mega Baller
    edited September 2017
    This story is right in my wheelhouse. Thanks for posting it!! Going to use it for my own planning.

    The skiing year around part will be hard to pull off in the central mountains of Idaho, at least waterskiing. But you never know. Could always schedule a trip.
    cragginshred
  • JayproJaypro Posts: 168 Baller
    skiing year round would be tough here in Vermont! Congrats, I hope to make similar progress, thanks for posting.
    Keith Menard
  • sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,217 Mega Baller
    @gregy Thanks for this. You asked for others to tell their story. I will not repeat boring details here. I am a long time freeskier that decided to really learn the course and discovered that wasn't so easy. I am now making progress and increasing speeds at 15 off. I hope, just for fun and the sake of progress to ski my max speed of 34 at 15 off this year. And play with 22 off at slower speeds. Maybe try 28 off just to feel it and get a sense what is necessary this year too, even if I am nowhere near making it. With a reduced speed from 34 of course. I definitely have a goal to reach 28 off as soon as I can.

    I found the @jhughes 28 off thread and will link it here for reference. http://aqasports.squarespace.com/new-blog-1/2016/3/21/rax60e347tpeg2wyvbei4lixaxhptf

    I also found what looks like a good suggested progression to consider at this website Arturo Nelson:
    http://aqasports.squarespace.com/new-blog-1/2016/3/21/rax60e347tpeg2wyvbei4lixaxhptf

    Basically, it suggests shortening the line more first before increasing speed too much. I may mix it up a little and not take this as gospel. But it gives me an idea of a progression. If anyone has some thoughts on progression, please let me know.

    Thanks again for the thread!
  • sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,217 Mega Baller
    Hey, did you use a rope with the in between practice loops to help the jumps between lengths? Did it work for you?
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,425 Mega Baller
    I didn't use the between practice loops, but I just ordered one to see if can help me get through 32off. I ran 32off 32mph twice last time out, 34mph still alludes me.
    sunvalleylaw
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 4,792 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited September 2017
    Practice loop rope is a lot of fun. It's one of those things I don't understand why more don't have/use one. I think skiers want that next legit length so bad they don't want to do anything in between. Sometimes their attempts at that next loop look horrible, however, they are just practicing a mad scramble--that's no good.
    Why not have the options in your rope? You don't have to use 'em but they are there...if you want to have some fun and change it up sometimes it's worth it.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
    dchristmansunvalleylawALPJr
  • Dacon62Dacon62 Posts: 476 Crazy Baller
    Getting one for next season. Could see that it would be a big help to move up the line. When your scrabbling at a shorter line length form goes out the window and it's hard to work on correct mechanics to make the pass consistently.
    herkyjerky
  • JoepruncJoeprunc Posts: 236 Baller
    @sunvalleylaw - I broke out of -22 earlier year. Now running 95% of my -22 passes, and consistently getting 3-4 at -28. (Beginning of the year my opener was -15 @32, working to -22 @34.)

    I was banging my head against the inconsistency of -15. By the time I was getting to -22 I was too tired or my head wasn't in it. One day a ski buddy told me to start with a soft -22 at like 33.5 mph. I found this was easier to run than the -15, haven't put the red line on since. My opener is -22 at 33.8 now and then second pass at 34.2. I will never get paid to ski, but having a softer speed has made skiing much more fun for me, and helped me get to the next level! I'm right around the corner of getting -28 also ;)

    I can attribute this jump to very similar things as @gregy
    1) I have not open water skied, only stuck to the course this year. In the past I had a few friends that always and only open water skied, they are injured this year so I haven't been on the boat with them. Last year I was dabbling at -22 and noticed that open water skiing was messing with my course skiing. My season started late (July)
    2) Skiing with better skiers and with GOOD drivers. Make sure the driver knows you want him to give you a good pull, not coach you.
    3) Focus on one piece of advice at a time. Everyone has numerous flaws in their technique, work only on one at a time.
    4) Bought my GF a new ski and she is now hooked and wants to ski more.
    akale156ballssunvalleylawj2nh
  • akale15akale15 Posts: 141 Baller
    edited August 7
    @joeprunc my story is almost identical this year.

    Started the season off with an opener of [email protected] and was regularly working my way into [email protected] After most of April, May, and June I was fed up, had to do some traveling for work and was off the water for about 2 weeks. I came back open minded and focused on correcting the bad habits that kept me from dropping the -15 line length before. After about a week of running 95% of my [email protected] passes and getting a few at -22 my ski partner @bbrannan suggested dropping -15 entirely.

    I now open with two passes at [email protected] before jumping to 36. Since making the change first of July I can honestly say I haven't missed but just a few passes at -22 and getting 3 at -28 quite regularly.

    Since I was starting to get into -28 I also decided I was going to reward myself and ditch my 8+ year old ski for a D3 ARC and have been extremely happy with the decision. Although I haven't ran -28 yet I know with some more coaching and water time it'll happen soon.
  • akale15akale15 Posts: 141 Baller
    @Joeprunc I have gone through a very similar progression as you this season. Started the season with an opner of [email protected] After running a lot into [email protected] but not having much success with the -22 pass it was suggested to me on dropping the -15 and work at [email protected] I now open practice with two passes at [email protected] then to 36 and have missed just a few passes at [email protected] since making the transition (a little over a month now). Currently stuck at 3 to 4 buoys at -28 but its just a matter of time...
    Keith MenardbbrannanJoeprunc
  • sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,217 Mega Baller
    edited August 7
    This is a great thread. Thank all of you for sharing your progress and what has worked for you. The common thread seems to be quality course time after/during fixing fundamental form issues. I think some open water to work on the form, and being aware of my body position, arms straight, etc. is good for me, complemented with plenty of time to get used to it in the course and carry it into the course. I fear that only beating my head against the wall in the course may hamper progress for me. In his analysis of my video, TW suggested that until I can really change my break at the hips off the wakes heading into the ball, I will have a hard time progressing. So that has to happen first. All paths are slightly different.

    PS, Apparently, I am now a mega-baller. Yay! Now, if I can just break out of 15! :-)
  • Keith MenardKeith Menard Posts: 323 Crazy Baller
    I really do think this is a great thread...for years I always thought of this forum as the playground of 36 and short line :)
  • z_skierz_skier Posts: 7 Baller
    Awesome thread. I myself am still in those early stages of this wonderful sport and its sick to be able to see and relate to the same process.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,350 Mega Baller
    This thread https://ballofspray.com/forum#/discussion/20130/whats-first-faster-or-shorter has some good thoughts on how to break through 15 off. Even though it is focused on 36 mph I think it applies equally for 34 mph. When my son was working on 36 we spent some time skiing slower shorter then wound up dropping 15 off starting him at 32 22 working into 36 28.

    Last night I started working with one of the guys I ski with on this strategy. He has run 34/15 a few times but he is far from consistent at it. Hopefully this will help. Given that the new scoring doesn’t penalize this strategy anymore I think it makes sense for tournaments as well.
    Mark Shaffer
  • Dacon62Dacon62 Posts: 476 Crazy Baller
    Progressor rope with loops between the regular loops was a great tool to success in shortening the line this season.
  • kingshreddkingshredd Posts: 155 Baller
    This is a great thread for me as well. I conistantly get -15 @ 30 but struggle at 32mph, and I know for me this is edge change and keeping outward direction after 2nd wake. I am curious also to hear what level Ski people in this thread are on. I am on a HO VTR 68. Am I over my head with this ski? I ski the course twice a week from April through October on average.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 5,908 Mega Baller
    @kindshredd
    "edge change and keeping outward direction after 2nd wake"

    I would be quite surprised if either of those is a key thing holding you back from running 32 mph. Use better leverage to build better speed through the wakes and you won't need to think about anything between 2nd wake and buoy until you get to -28.

    Good luck and have fun!!
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
    rogerw
  • ALPJrALPJr Posts: 1,565 Crazy Baller
    edited August 10
    @kingshredd I'm on a 68" VTR. 6'2" 170lbs skiing at 32 mph. Works well for me. -15 through -32 (on my best days). It took me about 20 sets to get it dialed in for my style and now I feel really confident on it.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,350 Mega Baller
    @kingshredd I agree with @Than_Bogan if you are struggling at 32 mph and 15 off I think you need more angle and speed behind the boat. Without video I would guess you may be hunting the buoy somewhat probably particularly on your offside. Pretend the buoy is 20 feet before where it is and 20 feet wider and target getting toward that. If you do that you will build more speed and angle.
    Mark Shaffer
    Than_Bogan
  • ShererSkierShererSkier Posts: 111 Baller
    Just found this thread and it’s a lot like what happened to my brother @PacMan and I. We had been skiing all our lives and suddenly decided we wanted to try the course. One of the camps here puts a course up in the summer so we pulled the boat out and went early one morning in 2015 to give it a go. We were both pretty confident in our abilities and decided to just start at 15 off 34mph. Both of us took a couple tries before we had the timing down but then we started making probably 50% of our passes. After we went on the course one more time that year we decided to buy a portable course the next year.

    The entire 2016 summer was spent at 15 off and a few ragged passes into 4 ball 22 off. I think my bro made 2 or 3 at 28 off. Both of us spent the end of the summer analyzing the video we had taken and reading BoS to find tips or advice. The entire winter we read BoS almost daily to better understand the slalom theory. Then we bought fin whisperer and learned a lot from that.

    The beginning of last summer we decided to slow down to 32 mph to get a better feel for the timing and get a better stack and form through the course. It worked great with both of us and started running into 32 off fairly quickly and regularly. Unfortunately we didn’t have a chance to get on the course the last couple months of the summer but we were enthused and determined for this year. Now we are both getting into 32 off back at 34 mph and still learning and improving. It helps that both of us are really good at understanding theory and are able to apply it when one of us critiques the other. This is probably the first sport we’ve not fought about who is better haha.

    Having a ski partner that is always watching for ways for you to improve is awesome. This website has also been the best teaching tool for us and there are way to many to list but thanks to all the slalom gurus on this site! Can’t wait to ski the course tomorrow!
    sunvalleylawrogerwgregy
  • kingshreddkingshredd Posts: 155 Baller
    Thanks for the input guys. I am heading to the lake tomorrow and i will take your advice with me. If i can get some video then i will try to get it posted up.
  • hemlockhemlock Posts: 104 Baller
    edited August 12
    I would like to give a shout out to Trent Finlayson.
    This was maybe 8-10 years ago. At the time, I could get into mid 28 off.
    But never run it.
    He was nice enough to come to our lake as our local club brought him up.
    All I remember from the session is that he said to maintain the stack always.

    And he meant from get out of the water, and when you exit the gates back to the dock... stay stacked.
    Always something I will never forget and has gotten me to eventually run shorter line lengths. :smile:


    sunvalleylawThan_Bogan
  • sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,217 Mega Baller
    edited August 12
    @hemlock , that is really what it is all about, isn't it? I know how to do it on the snow, and kinda on the water, but not completely. I need to complete my learning on how to stay stacked no matter what, while resisting the boat, keeping hips and center of mass connected to the line, rather than moving with gravity. Then hopefully, I can remain stacked at all times.
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