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Short/deep vs long/shallow

scotchipmanscotchipman Posts: 3,989 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
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: 1,741 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: 853 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: 363 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: 1,223 Mega 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: 1,834 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: 1,842
    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 !!!
  • ToddFToddF Posts: 486 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.


  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,621 Mega Baller
    Very interesting. No wonder I suck at knowing what to do with my fin.
    Mark Shaffer
  • B_SB_S Posts: 205 Solid Baller
    Yeah, I need to re-read that BEFORE an after work cocktail!
  • ToddFToddF Posts: 486 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: 486 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: 1,230 Mega 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: 2,208 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. ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent
  • DekeDeke Posts: 363 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: 2,208 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. ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent
  • sfriissfriis Posts: 69 Baller
    @SkiJay wow do you realy mean that increase in FD by 0.06 leads to decrease in FL by 0.138 ?
    That is very very different from you book where 0.06 increased FL => - 0.04 in FL and + 0.02 in DFT

    As I understand the “new formula” you leave DFT unchanged and LE will probably be a bit different, but the Finn area and “Center of pressure ” should pretty much be intact.

    I want to experiment a bit with shallow/long vs deep/long and I will try your “new formula”(+0.06 -0.138) instead of your suggestion p 135 in the book (+0.085 -0.060 + 0.030)
  • Ed_JohnsonEd_Johnson Posts: 1,842
    For me, I have found that it is SKI specific. For years I was always a short/ deep skier. That worked great for me on Goode's and the Mapple. This year I switched to the NRG and that setup felt extremely slow. When I went to long/shallow, it became a different ski. Also using differential fin depth of .030, totally improved my onside turn, which made that side even shallower.
    Loving the Reflex Supershell with R Style Rear !!!
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,208 Mega Baller
    Yup, @sfriis, no typos in that conversion formula. The seemingly huge effect FD changes have on FL was shocking to me too as the pattern emerged.

    One reason for this is that as the fin gets deeper, it makes the ski resist getting rolled up onto as steep of an edge; and the less the ski rolls, the more effective fin area there is.

    The other aspect is that FD has a far greater effect on how easily the ski's tip can be yawned into the water than I understood earlier on. This means the fin's leading edge location (LE) has to be moved back significantly more than I first thought to restore normal tip engagement. ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent
  • sfriissfriis Posts: 69 Baller
    great thanks skijay
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