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
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.
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.