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Boat Driver Effects on Feel to Skier

bsmithbsmith Posts: 32 Baller
In this thread https://www.ballofspray.com/forum#/discussion/22042/do-you-prefer-the-new-optimized-slalom-rope about the new ML Optimized rope, @Horton mentioned that it took many years for him to be able to feel the difference between different boat driving styles. His point was that when you think that you are feeling the difference between ropes, you may also be feeling a difference in driving styles.

My question to @Horton is if we are talking about very competent drivers using modern ZO equipped boats, what are the subtle differences that it took many years for him to be able to detect?
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Comments

  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,622 Administrator
    The common mistake drivers make that I can pick out pretty easily is if they countersteer too late. Ideally a driver should ease the wheel away from the skier as the skier approaches Apex. when drivers wait until they feel the skier to then correct there is a distinctly harder pull in the rope between the ball and the first wake.

    Typically drivers who put both hands on the wheel also feel this way.

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    jercranedbaconaz
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 611 Crazy Baller
    As someone learning to drive, I am really interested in this topic.
    jercrane
  • Dacon62Dacon62 Posts: 689 Crazy Baller
    Ditto, some video lesson on this would be awesome. Describing and showing what to do and when.
    Want to give my friends the best chance to make the pass.
    jercranevtmecheng
  • h2onhkh2onhk Posts: 273 Solid Baller
    I like this thread. I am always looking for ways to improve my driving to help out the guys on the other end of the line. How does the driver know when to ease the wheel away from the skier? If the skier is very consistent I can get in a good rhythm with them, but if they are late or inconsistent on turns or pull too long I find it harder to compensate early and find myself being reactive instead of proactive.
  • JaredSmithJaredSmith Posts: 62 Baller
    Please explain more @Horton. When the skier is coming around lets say the one ball you are easing the wheel to the left away from the skier correct?
    dvskierHockdog
  • jpattigrjpattigr Posts: 147 Baller
    Great Subject! Teach us!
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,436 Mega Baller
    What I almost always feel from new shortline drivers is the mistake that I think @JaredSmith just suggested! :)

    They let me pull them toward 1 ball way too much and then they try to get back to the centerline as I am at the apex of the turn, yanking the rope away from me.

    Steering corrections should happen early and under the load of the skier. When the skier is up on the boat, drive straight (which may required UNdoing the corrective wheel position from when they were loading).

    P.S. If Chad Scott says anything different, do what he says and ignore me completely!
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
    mmosley899
  • marknmarkn Posts: 207 Solid Baller
    Think Jody is very insightful on his comments....tons of variables. Same driver in 3 different boats and all three will feel different. That said, starting at 35 and then 38 and 39, the amount the driver "gives" becomes increasingly evident. While working up to senior driver, my mentor always said it was a "dance". The back of the boat will move, but the pylon should remain centered. How much the back moves is the "give" of the driver. No give and the pull feels firm, too much give and it will feel sloppy and lose at the buoy. A hard pulling skier or one who pulls long into a buoy can take too much from the "give" of the driver unexpectedly. Then when the skier goes into the pre-turn, the driver corrects and "pulls the skier into the buoy" trying to get back to center too quickly. Starting out, drivers (myself included) sort of drive gate to gate. This method results in over-correction and more frequent corrections...sometimes unnecessary. If one looks far down course, the line is easier to drive and far fewer corrections are needed. Thus same principle applies to driving a care too. Look just over the hood while driving. It will feel faster and you will correct your path frequently. Look far down the road and is feels slower and far few correction inputs are needed.
    I do think one handed driving is better, but my wife drives with two hands, but low on the wheel, not 10 and 2. Have videoed her path at 38 and pretty damn good.
    dave2ball
  • bsmithbsmith Posts: 32 Baller
    @h2onhk I am a reactive driver myself right now, probably because I don't get to ski with many good skiers. If am ever able to drive well for a short line skier, I will need to start practice being proactive with any consistent skier that I come across. Right now, I am sure that I am a harsh, two handed reactive driver that tries to stay centered as best as possible.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,622 Administrator
    edited October 4
    @Than_Bogan I guess if you pull super long I can see how you get in that vicious circle.

    Less is more and early is better than late. The wheel should move a tiny bit away from the skier before apex and be back to center when the skier is at first wake. The hard part is to do this enough but to not move the pylon. The back of the boat moves toward the skier but the pylon stays in the middle.

    I "tried" to drive @Rico with a boat I had never driven before on Wednesday. I was so lost that after a few passes I defaulted to moving the wheel almost not at all and just trying to be in the middle. Point is, when in doubt don't try to crab the boat & again less is more.

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    bishop8950
  • iceboatingiceboating Posts: 29 Baller
    Watching a few of the streamed tournaments this season I really thought it was cool when they had a camera on the driver. It might not be fair to the driver to have the added pressure of a camera pointed at them but to see their technique is helpful to a novice like myself. One thing that jumped out at me was how the pull up set the tone for the pass.
    rockdog
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,179 Mega Baller
    edited October 4
    Wish it was a longer clip, but here's a cool shot from the TXi promo vid of Chad pulling TGas.

    Link to specific time didn't work for some reason. It's 30 seconds in.

    BradydbaconazZmanjercrane
  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,622 Administrator
    forget whatever I said and listen to @Chad_Scott

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    Than_BoganZmanJordanThe_MS
  • JaredSmithJaredSmith Posts: 62 Baller
    edited October 4
    @Horton and/or @Chad_Scott are you attempting to have the back of the boat pointed towards the skier as they hook up at the finish of their turn?
  • HortonHorton Posts: 27,622 Administrator
    yes just a bit

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  • JaredSmithJaredSmith Posts: 62 Baller
    Thanks, keeping the pylon in the middle and pointing the back of the boat slightly towards the skier as they hook up at the finish of their turn would give the skier a tight line and good acceleration towards the next ball.
    Horton
  • marknmarkn Posts: 207 Solid Baller
    I agree. Listen to Chad!
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 611 Crazy Baller
    @Chad_Scott thank you for all this information, your explanations are really easy to visualize. I can't wait to practice this.
  • LLUSALLUSA Posts: 274 Crazy Baller
    Look at end course video when available
    LLUSA, Sr Driver, AWSA Board of Directors, Towboat Committee,Lake Owner
    Hortonski6jones
  • skiinxsskiinxs Posts: 549 Crazy Baller
    Super advice from the best, listen to Chad! Also, make sure the boat is not leaning. Leaning causes them to slide more on one side and react to the pull differently side to side, messing up the rhythm, and causing different corrections side to side.
  • skibugskibug Posts: 2,034
    A LOT of drivers do NOT place enough importance on weighting the boat and this doesn't mean level while in neutral; it means level while at skiing speed. IMHO it makes a huge difference on how well you drive the boat. As mentioned above; the movements can be subtle and should be precisely timed. If you boat is weighted incorrectly, it will not handle correctly, taking you further away from being able to drive correctly.
    Bob Grizzi
    Jody_SealDaveDThe_MS
  • JaredSmithJaredSmith Posts: 62 Baller
    Thanks @Chad_Scott, great information for many but likely hard for the average driver to do.
  • WoodySkierWoodySkier Posts: 98 Baller
    Some boats will handle totally different with weight to balance it out especially if you just have a driver and no spotter. The new prostar drives like a completely different boat with weight on the observer side. The 200 does drive a little different but not as dramatic as the prop spins the opposite way.
  • a_baxa_bax Posts: 5 New Baller
    Thank you for all the insights! Question: I use the line of the wakes behind me to judge how centered I am but I have heard that your wake should be slightly off center and that the direction depends on the direction of the prop rotation. Is this significant?
  • Chad_ScottChad_Scott Posts: 457 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    That is correct. If your prop wash is centered chances are that you are not
    a_bax
  • a_baxa_bax Posts: 5 New Baller
    Thanks @Chad_Scott. It makes sense. How far off center should the prop wash be? Which side of center would be correct when driving a Nautique versus Malibu/Mastercraft? Thank you
  • LLUSALLUSA Posts: 274 Crazy Baller
    Take every opportunity you get to pull the Chad Scott’s of the world. I honestly believe that helped my driving more than anything
    LLUSA, Sr Driver, AWSA Board of Directors, Towboat Committee,Lake Owner
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