Does Prop Wash Pattern Matter? Tournament Pull vs. Practice Pull?

We, my ski partners and I, debate a lot about whether prop wash = center line boat (pylon) path or deviation; and, what constitutes a practice pull vs. a tournament pull. I pull skiers into or through 39 off just about every day I ski (because I have really good skiers as partners). I would consider my driving technique as pro-active; meaning I try to stay ahead of the skier. I tend to move (point) the boat when the skier is right behind the boat or right off the release, then block or progressively resist on the hook up out of the ball. I will hold that resistance until the skier is center line (or a little past) or just starting to release pressure going to the next ball. Sometimes I will give a little more if I feel the skier is scrambling or a little late. In this case certainly the prop wash looks more pronounced; but, I believe I still get the boat back to center with a slightly more aggressive move. Is this considered helping the skier too much? I captured two images from the same set of skiing (this is not my driving) one at 32 the other at 39. I would way my prop wash is similar to this; but, maybe not as pronounced. I am curious what the tournament drivers have to say about this. Would you say that the prop wash visual changes dramatically as the line gets shorter; or, should it be relatively the same, visually, no matter the line length?

32 off

39 off

Bob Grizzi


  • MattPMattP Posts: 5,973 Mega Baller
    Put a camera on the end of the lake and video your pylon movement. Prop wash is a good indicator but not always accurate.
  • liquid dliquid d Posts: 1,004 Crazy Baller
    The pull is more directly from the side at shorter line length, so there will be a slightly more pronounced change in the wash. If you're pulling people through 39 every day, you're probably doing a pretty good job. A camera at the end will certainly help everyone's driving.
  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,259 Crazy Baller
    edited August 2017
    Like @MattP said, ECV is the only way to tell for sure. If I were to go by prop wash only in your pic I would say that's not a very good path. ECV might tell a different story. Also what @liquid d says, you must be doing pretty good or guys wouldn't be running 39 behind you! Not many skiers can run 39 with poor driving.
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
  • lcarneslcarnes Posts: 112 Solid Baller
    I've had the same questions, also driving 39/41 almost every day (and 28 mph 15 off). It absolutely makes a difference to the skier. There is a lot of subtlety involved. Want to give a "great driver" tournament-like pull without hindering too much or doing something that won't be done in a tournament.
  • DWDW Posts: 1,863 Mega Baller
    @skibug : Consider the math problem behind your question: side force on the pylon, distance between pylon / tracking fins to rudder / prop will help define the required boat yaw angle required to maintain as straight a pylon path as needed. So, yes one would expect the sinusoidal curve of the prop wash to have more amplitude for short line (more side force) v. longer lines. Always fun to mix math/science with a favorite hobby & maybe a hook to get inquisitive school kids in to skiing.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 25,801 Administrator
    As the rope gets shorter or the skier requires more correction the prop wash means less and less. Or to restate - the more the driver has to counter steer the less the prop wash reflects where they pylon is.

    Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

    Babes / Connelly / D3 / DBSkis / Goode / Hobe Lake / HO Syndicate / KD Skis  

    MasterCraft / Masterline / MOB / O'Brien / Performance Ski and Surf / Reflex / Radar / Stokes

    Jack KinneJordanReggieOMattP
  • DragoDrago Posts: 1,258 Mega Baller
    @skibug hard to say with still shots. Looks excessive, but if the skier gets deep at the ball it might be tight on. Grab a camera with a zoom and film it .
    If your ski buddies can't run 39 in a tournament, maybe you're too kind
    SR SL Judge & Driver (“a driver who is super late on the wheel and is out of sync”)
  • GloersenGloersen Posts: 823 Crazy Baller
    edited August 2017
    Ditto on the ECV.

    Coincidentally, we’ve just started to implement ECV here at Victory this week during practice to improve driving skills. Also we’ll make use of it with our “C”’s to add credibility and archive for review. It’s a work in progress.

    Just using a Panasonic WiFi capable camcorder, AC inverter battery power source, 1200mbs router, a tablet (mounted to the windshield on the far right) with the Panasonic WiFi control app. This allows the driver to start and stop the recording. Additionally the recorded clips can be streamed to the driver’s tablet for immediate review (e.g., tended to be ROC in the 196).

    Clearly, there is lots of room for driving technique improvement. IMO it’s very difficult to improve one’s driving without ECV.
Sign In or Register to comment.