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What is the driver?

HortonHorton Posts: 25,508 Administrator
edited May 2007 in Other Stuff
What is the driver? boarditup After looking at WaterSki mag this past month, I formed a question that occasionally came to the surface, but should be discussed:



Is ski technology driving technique?



Is technique driving ski technology?



Is there any real connection between technique and ski technology?



The reason this question comes to mind is the comment that the latest skis carry speed much better and that the stop and go skiing of the 70's and 80's is no longer needed. West Coast, Old School, New School, Coordinates - would the latest evolution of these styles be possible on the old designs and construction. Are any of the latest skis designed and laid up to respond to the new styles of skiing?

 




Administrator

Posts: 86

3/17/06 6:43 am

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The driver Bruce Butterfield The answer to all of your questions is yes. Its an iterative thing between the skis and technique. However, the biggest independent driver is the evolution of the towboats, which has forced changes in both the technique and skis.



With the old 240 Hp, carbureted, 3 blade prop boats, a strong skier could win a tug of war with the boat. The strong skiers – LaPoints, Roberge, Kjellander, et.al. - had a significant inherent advantage and the stop and go style worked. With the 300+Hp, fuel injected, electronically speed controlled, 4 blade prop boats of today, the boat will win every time, so the skiers have had to change. Now the skiers have to be ‘efficient’. Look at Rossi, Marcus, Terry, etc. Then think about being efficient AND strong and you have one skier who stands out on his own.



Back to your question on the skis – the skiers who are pushing the envelope on technique are also intimately involved in the ski designs. As they learn more about how to ski ‘better’, they try to incorporate things into the ski that will compliment particular technique changes. At the same time, newer performance attributes of the skis allow evolution of the technique. And round and round it goes.


 




Unregistered User

3/17/06 9:40 am

138.126.205.194

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lunatic fringe influences eleeski Bruce hasn't seen my skis - evolution is for biologists!

Perhaps some of my crazy ideas will make it to the mainstream. Technology has allowed me to try my radical ideas.

Actually Bruce is right on except for one thing. The coaching has become much more sophisticated. Ideas can be passed around through boards like this and the quality coaches tailor the style to fit the skier. Coaching improvements are a major driver in the techniques used now.

Eric

 




Unregistered User

3/17/06 10:23 am

207.200.116.70

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Lunatics? Bruce Butterfield Ahhh, garage built skis…..living proof that there is an exception to every rule!



Yes, the quality and quantity of good coaching and information flow has improved a bunch, but that affects the number of skiers adopting new techniques much more than pushing the technique envelope, or impacting the ski design.


 




Unregistered User

3/17/06 11:10 am

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Re: Lunatics? John Taylor Horton garage built skis... proof of the missing link or Luddites?

 




ezOP

Posts: 515

3/17/06 12:03 pm

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ezSupporter




Re: What is the driver? John Taylor Horton From the ski side there is no question the composites technology has grown by leaps and bounds. Composite engineering is very expensive to do at an ultra precise level. As big money sports like golf spend the money for composite development that technology trickles down to the small sports like water skiing. A lot of credit needs to be given to Dave Goode the processes 4 the he brought to skis. The 9100 was way ahead of the water ski industry.



As an example of how tricky composites can be: High end computer software can not predict my fin materials flex parameters as well as trial and error. I believe that the composites used in sports require flex parameters that are beyond what aerospace requires. I really do not think an F16 pilot can feel the level of difference in his plane that I can in a fin. I measure fin flex to .001 of an inch. Skis are the same deal.



The skis from 20 years ago were pretty much state then of but are total crap by today’s standards. If you got into a Delorean (get up to 77 MPH) and gave Bob, Kris, Mike or any of those guys a Monza, 9700, Sixam or whatever from today I think it would take them a few rides to adjust and then you would see instant World Records.



Ok I do not know if I just went off on a silly rant or not. Back to work.


 


Edited by: John Taylor Horton at: 3/17/06 1:47 pm



ezOP

Posts: 517

3/17/06 1:46 pm

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ezSupporter




Technology DW We can thank our space program for many if not most of the materials developments and the trickle down in to the commercial sector. W/o that, we would still be on fiberglass ski's and the techniques would most likely be similar to what worked at that time. John is correct, modeling and the simulation of many of the attributes of a product and how it functions are a difficult and complex mathematical scenario. Those tools are still in their infancy and are trying to gain ground on the traditional tweak and test format.



Improvements in technology improve the sport thus allowing the athlete to perform at a higher level, but also require a tuning of the technique to optimize the results. Sometimes a technique breakthrough causes the product to change to keep pace.



Snow ski improvements are a good demonstration of the change in technology and technique. Parabolic skiis altered the technique a slalom skier uses and drove the hand and shin guards along with the flexible gates.

 




Member

Posts: 31

3/18/06 11:02 am

198.208.251.23

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Technology HO 410 Of course technology drives technique. Ten years ago there were not message boards like this. The internet, as a part of pop culture, was just starting to take off at this time. The only way to get these bleeding edge techniques was to go to the places they were being developed at: a local club with a soon to be pro, or an established school like the trophy lakes of today.



There was not this national, and world, dialogue. People talk at large gatherings like tournaments, but new ideas evolve at practice. Now you try something new, that works, and you go post it at skifly. Seven people say your nuts, two think it might work. The international sounding board just did not exist for a dialogue with the masses to take place.



I would, never the less, be curious to see the scores at a tournament where skier were forced to ski on an old Connely Hook




 




Unregistered User

3/18/06 2:59 pm

68.225.163.67

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ski test the old skis eleeski The Connelly HP circa 1983 might be the ultimate retro ski. Anyone have an old 66 to try?

My favorite oldie was the EP comp 1 (orange and blue from the mid 70s).

Or my old Voit Lapstrake. But I never tried it on the course.

If they work well I'll clone them with modern materials.

Eric

 




Unregistered User

3/19/06 12:52 pm

207.200.116.73

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Re: ski test the old skis John Taylor Horton Saying a HP is a great ski is like saying a Porsche 930 is a great sports car. In its day it was revolutionary but since then design wisdom and technology as creeped forward every year. Simply taking the HP shape and remaking it with new materials totally misses the intricacy of modern ski design. Personally I think the Mirage was a HP copy that was a better ski but only really worked in the 64”. I ran a hell of a lot of 35s in college on my 64”. When I got off that ski I had to learn to really jump because my slalom went to crap.



There are those who think the Extreme started as a copy of the HP. In the “copy process” flexes, rocker, thickness and bevels are redefined so the Extreme ended up not being very much like the HP. In time the parameters of the Extreme evolved so the last generation of that ski did not ski like the first generation. As these skis slowly evolve subtle lessons are learned by the designers and are incorporated into the next generation.



By the way a few years ago I pulled a MC Pulse off the shelf and could barely run a pass. I think it took a whole ride to get though 28 off. Great ski then... not so much today.


 




ezOP

Posts: 523

3/19/06 2:46 pm

24.152.144.71

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ezSupporter




Old skis - strength and skill - Perfect Pass boarditup Do you think that for a static pass - for example 35 off - that the old skis required more skill and/or strength? Does Perfect Pass and the more powerful, computer controled motors have an effect? Trying to isolate one thing in the muddy mix of the various factors it takes to make a slalom pass is difficult - but I think there is value in looking at the progression in ski/fin/binding technology to see what has changed.

 




Administrator

Posts: 87

3/20/06 7:13 am

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Re: Old skis - strength and skill - Perfect Pass John Taylor Horton Honestly I think everything has changed independently. I do not see that under different circumstances skis would have evolved very differently.



Cruise has changed the feel a bit but really it has just given a more consistent ride for all. It is a big deal for the sport but not for ski design.



Bigger boats like cruise has changed the feel and is a good for the sport but I do not see how it really changed the evolution of skis in a significant way.



As for the new styles I believe that they are just refinements of the same old fundamentals.



The mile stones that changed the course of ski design where the wing, the adjustable fin, better composites, better cores, and more meticulous manufacturing methods.



Better boats and cruise did give a more consistent result from experiments but I really believe that if we were still hand driving the skis would have progressed nearly as far.


 




ezOP

Posts: 533

3/21/06 2:45 pm

146.27.122.21

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ezSupporter




old skis, etc. Bruce Butterfield For any given pass, I think the old skis provide much less margin for error. That is, with the newer skis, you can make more mistakes and not be as strong and still make that pass a higher percentage of the time. The way that I like to think of the 'best' ski is that it improves the skier's consistency. For example a particular skier may run 35 off 50% of the time on a Connelly HP, but run it 80% of the time on a more modern ski. His PB of say, 2 @ 38 will be the same on either ski (in the short term).



If we were still skiing behind the 1980's boats, I agree that the ski progression would be as far, but it would be in a different direction.

 




Unregistered User

3/21/06 6:59 pm

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Re: old skis, etc. John Taylor Horton Bruce,



I totally agree with the first bit about the skis but how do you think skis would be differnt if we were all still using a 1983 MC? (as I write this I imagine a 83 MC and wonder)

 




ezOP

Posts: 534

3/21/06 10:27 pm

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ezSupporter




Driver DW I would think that bindings have made a significant improvement on the skiing. I think the added support of the newer bindings improves the consistency of the skier, so you are looking at a package of improvements, not just one element. Therefore, it becomes harder to compare and truly track just the effect of a ski improvment.



The effect of the adjustable fin box or the wing is pretty easy to track the effect. The steady improvement of the binding, in my mind, is a little harder to track as to how much it helps. I guess you could put a set of old bindings on and give it a go and see what happens, especially for the double hardboot skiers.

 




Member

Posts: 32

3/22/06 8:50 am

198.208.159.19

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Re: Driver John Taylor Horton The wiley design has got to date back to early 80s and really is as good as anything out there. The wiley is the old Kidder Pro or trick wrap. The Pro Wrap is really is a copy of the Maha "Mr. M" from the late 70s (maybe).



The modern ones may be stiffer but I am not sure. I can tell you that the jump bindings that I used in the early 90s were more or less the same as the ones you buy today.



Don't get me wrong we have all used some crap bindings in all those years. All the brands stunk it up at one time or another.



On the other hand most of the new stuff is pretty darn good.

 




ezOP

Posts: 535

3/22/06 10:42 am

146.27.122.21

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ezSupporter




the driver Bruce Butterfield With the old boats you had

1) around 240 Hp, so a strong skier pull the rpm down significantly

2) 3 blade props, so there was less resistance for the skier to pull against

3) carbuerated engines that had relatively slow response if the driver did attempt to throttle



What that boils down to is that the actual boat speed could easily vary +/- 1mph or more. A strong skier could put the boat where he wanted it and would almost never get pulled out the front.



Now we have

1) 300+ Hp (and higher torque) so a strong skier can't pull the rpm down anywhere near as much

2) 4 blade props with significantly more resistance

3) fuel injection for nearly instant throttle response

4) speed control that attempts to keep the rpm dead on



The result is that the speed variation is much less - probably +/- 0.25mph or so. Even if you take out speed control, the boats are a heck of a lot stronger. So now, even a strong skier isn't going to overpower the boat. All that said, if we were skiing behind the old boats today, the skis would have evolved differently. In what way, I'm not exactly sure, but I bet at least some would support the 'win the tug of war with the boat' style.



Ahhh, the trick wrap! My bindings of choice for many years were my own version that I made with overlays that were 50% thicker and about an inch higher. No factory binding had anywhere near the support I got out of those.


 




Unregistered User

3/22/06 7:33 pm

12.65.198.243

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Wileys MS Parish and Lucky both on wileys. Lucky adds some support like what Bruce had done.



I like the Lucky interview this month. He and Chris want to run 41 at the same tourny, with Chance sking also.




 




Unregistered User

3/23/06 7:07 am

12.40.178.65

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