Short/deep vs long/shallow

In general what type of skiers prefer short/deep fin settings compared to long/shallow?

I have heard that technical skiers that are not as strong usually prefer long/shallow with short/deep settings working better for stronger skiers that may be more scrappy...

@SkiJay what are your thoughts?
- President of the Utah Water Ski Club
- Owner at Still Water Lake Estates


  • MrJonesMrJones Posts: 1,685 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    In a conversation with a very well known ski coach last season this topic came up. He mentioned a number of great skiers who always wanted as much depth as possible. (Andy and Chuck are two that I remember)

    His comment was that if the ski is stable and tracking through the wakes it will give you confidence into the edge change and the turn will pretty much take care of itself.

    From personal experience I agree. If the ski is moved out on edge at the right time it cures a lot ills in the turn. Chasing the perfect turn with the fin has always seemed to be a frustration.
  • bigskieridahobigskieridaho Posts: 738 Crazy Baller
    @scotchipman Yep strong and scrappy that is me.... however my form is making line lengths easier. My fin is pretty deep at 2.520. That is way beyond what most ski but it works for me at 6'2" and 190 lbs aggressive skier.
  • DekeDeke Posts: 330 Baller
    @scotchipman I would like to know more about this too. In my case, as a perpetual novice, I do not change from stock but my newest ski is setup as long/shallow. It is different. The question in my mind becomes, "Is there something about the style of skiing with these settings that I should be aspiring to? And, should I just adapt and learn?" Or, at longer lines and lower speeds, is one better than the other? I don't feel like I have the awareness or skill to know the difference, much less the quality water time and conditions to figure it out.

    Intellectually, @SkiJay 's book explains a lot. I just don't feel that I am in a position where I could choose one set of settings over the other due to my own limitations.
  • jimbrakejimbrake Posts: 1,182 Crazy Baller
    I'm not certain why, but for several years, regardless of which ski I'm on, long+shallow seems to work better in cooler (<80) water and shorter+deeper seems to work better in warmer (>85) water for me.
    "...all of the basic fun banter"
  • DWDW Posts: 1,671 Crazy Baller
    My tuning evolution has migrated to a long / shallow setup, agree with @jimbrake that long / shallow is well suited to colder water, at least for me.
  • Ed_JohnsonEd_Johnson Posts: 1,686
    edited September 2017
    @SkiJay ... What do you feel are the differences in DFT with long/shallow vs. short/deep ??
    Personally, short/deep has always worked well for me.
    Andy told me years a go to go as deep as you can, as long as it doesn't hurt your turn.

    Loving the Reflex Supershell with R Style Rear !!!
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,175 Mega Baller
    edited September 2017
    With the formula listed above, DFT doesn't have to change at all when converting back and forth between long/shallow and short/deep setups. That said, with some skis and/or some skiers, a minor DFT change may help to super-fine tune tip sensitivity, but DFT is not a key ingredient here.

    Some skiers have it in their minds that the further back the fin is the better. This is only true if the other fin variables support (or conspire to require) the short DFT. But I've moved completely away from this premise since researching fin dynamics with my buddy at the top of the engineering food chain at Toyota NASCAR. DFT is largely the sacrificial variable used to get the fin area and fin position where they need to be, with LE and FD being the prime variables.

    And to Andy's comment, FD can be made as deep as physically possible without it hurting your turn so long as fin area and location compensations are made. ... because understanding is better than memorizing
  • ToddFToddF Posts: 453 Baller
    DFT is largely the sacrificial variable used to get the fin area and fin position where they need to be, with LE and FD being the prime variables.

    @skijay do you have an example of this you can share? Or elaborate more? I am now intrigued.


  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,175 Mega Baller

    Fin depth (FD) is a messy adjustment in that when it gets moved, it affects tip sensitivity, smear and roll. So unless you have a good understanding of how much each of these three behaviors will change, and you indeed want all of these changes, it's best to set FD first, then to tune the rest of the ski around that.

    So let's say we're leaving FD where it is, but we want more smear at medium roll angles (smear at max roll angles around the ball is controlled primarily by binding location). This means we need to reduce fin area (FA) or increase the fin's distance from tail (DFT) for more smear.

    Let's also say that we like the amount of tip engagement we're getting into and around the ball. This means the fin's leading edge location (LE) has to stay where it is. And since LE=FL+DFT, we can't use DFT to increase smear because it will move LE forward. In order to maintain both FD and LE, we have to decrease FA by shortening FL without moving LE, i.e. by increasing DFT.

    DFT was the sacrificial variable, going wherever it had to go in order to achieve the target FA without moving LE.

    Glad you asked?! ... because understanding is better than memorizing
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,031 Mega Baller
    Very interesting. No wonder I suck at knowing what to do with my fin.
    Mark Shaffer
  • B_SB_S Posts: 168 Solid Baller
    Yeah, I need to re-read that BEFORE an after work cocktail!
  • ToddFToddF Posts: 453 Baller
    @skijay, thanks, I completely forgot about leading edge. Now it makes sense. DFT is a by-product of the other three measurements.
  • ToddFToddF Posts: 453 Baller
    @6balls I have the book and @skijay just gave me some new insight or a different way of thinking about fin therory I didn't have or think of before. So Jay,Thank you again for being a willing and valuable resource to the skiing masses and I look forward to volume II
  • sunvalleylawsunvalleylaw Posts: 1,131 Crazy Baller
    edited September 2017
    Just ordered my book yesterday, after re-measuring everything with my pretty new measuring gear, on both my and my son's skis to see they were stock. Mostly to understand. Not so much to start tweaking a whole bunch right away. I like learning about this stuff so I can begin to know more about my gear. Good thread.
  • JskiJski Posts: 11 Baller
    Once you read & reread & reread this "Bible" you will toss everything else you've read on our sport in the trash as our club has.
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,175 Mega Baller
    Thanks for the book-support guys, and for the all out plug, @6balls ;) I have to say it's a LOT easier having these discussions with people who've read the book.

    @ToddF's point is a good one. A lot of this stuff is pretty abstract, so the more angles we cover it from, the better the picture will come into focus. I work on setups virtually every day with novices through the world's best skiers. So both my understanding, and my ability to explain it, is still evolving too. And while there's no plan for a second book, I am keeping notes just in case someday I forget how much work the first book was. In the meantime, I'm happy to share here. ... because understanding is better than memorizing
  • DekeDeke Posts: 330 Baller
    @SkiJay thanks. What I'd like to know is when you work with novices, how do you approach long/shallow vs. short/deep? In other words, is one better for a novice if a company offers 2 sets of stock numbers? Should a novice be aspiring to a style that is promoted by one or the other?
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,175 Mega Baller
    @Deke Like everything in ski setup, there's a trade-off, and in this case the trade-off is very subtle. I currently believe that short/deep requires a bit more work side to side, but delivers a slightly more consistent turn around the ball, and vice versa. So if a novice is powerful behind the boat, there may be a SLIGHT edge to short/deep. If they turn well but lack power behind the boat, perhaps long/shallow may help.

    But these differences are so small, I tend to focus on whichever the skier believes is their favorite, and tune from there. In fact, I'd put "belief" and "confidence inspiring" above the actual differences in these two setup extremes when it comes to getting good results.

    The odds of any factory specs, even good ones, being perfectly optimized for your personal skiing style are low. And they're even lower that both the long/shallow and short/deep factory specs will both be optimized for you personally. So I'd recommend you try both and pick the one that suits you best. The one that works best for you will help you make the quickest progress with technique. And that will be more due to one of the setups being closer to what you need personally than having anything to do with it being deep or shallow. ... because understanding is better than memorizing
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