Preturn? What preturn?

Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 5,734 Mega Baller
edited June 2012 in Technique & Theory
Starting to get an ill-formed idea that I thought I'd share to see if we can shape it into something more useful. As always, a bit long-winded...

When skiing a longer line length (which in this context covers roughly -15 through -32), the phase right after the 2nd wake, often dubbed the "preturn," consists of making an actual turn. If you didn't begin to turn, you'd keep going and go well beyond the width of the course.

When the rope gets "very" short, and I'm especially thinking -38 and beyond, this aspect is a bit different. You don't really have to starting turning at that point, because if you just ride the arc of the rope, it pulls you right onto the path you want to be on.

You really don't "turn" until after the buoy.

I'm finding this an easier way to think about concepts like handle control and make them work better.

In the past, when I've stopped my "pull" phase at -35 or -38 near the centerline, as many pros suggest, I've felt I couldn't get enough width. I now believe this was because I unknowlingly transitioned into a traditional pre-turn. I'm on the "turning" edge, must be time to turn, right?

But, in fact, you want to continue to ski away from the boat even while on that "turning" edge. The natural geometry of the rope swinging out close to 90 degrees will give all the "turn" you could want, and if you keep skiing away from the boat it keeps the line tight while still achieving the desired width. It also prevents losing your "connection" too soon and then getting stuck "pushing against a string" when it's time to release the handle. Instead, you ski away from the handle with the line still tight.

In my mind, this basically feels like replacing the concept of a "preturn" with more of a "rideout" -- although I need a better name than that!

I realize this is nothing new -- but it's a different way of thinking about it. And it's always good to have more ways to convince your body to do the right thing!
Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan


  • DekeDeke Posts: 330 Baller
    @Than_Bogan I understand what you're saying here. How do you think it should apply at longer line? In other words, what should you do to get some of this swing, short of skiing a width or arc that is way beyond the course?
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,175 Mega Baller
    edited June 2012
    I understand that "wide and early" is ALL about how well you maintain a tight connection beyond the wake, and that the shorter the rope, the more energy there is to be harnessed for further acceleration after the wake. In fact your maximum speed is past the 2nd wake, not behind the boat. But I really like @Than_Bogan's description of riding the swing just a bit wider than the arc of the rope. If you buy into the notion that the more pull you feel in the handle after the wakes, the more you are being accelerated, then taken to the limit, ithe ideal "pre-turn" would have all of the "turning" done by a very tight rope while all the ski is doing is keeping your body off the water. The ski isn't so much "turning" as it's just matching the handle's arc dealing with gravity while all of the centrifugal force is harnessed through the connection. Bring on the Speeeeeed! ... because understanding is better than memorizing
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 5,734 Mega Baller
    @Deke Well, I kinda noticed this as something to do differently at extremely short lines. But one thing that I think applies at all lines is to maintain tension on the rope by not pre-turning too much or too soon. Don't pre-turn any more than you have to to stay on a good line.

    @SkiJay Agreed. Also glad somebody else noticed that max speed on short lines is typically after second wake due to geometry (rope swing and boat velocity vectors are partially aligned).
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,175 Mega Baller
    edited June 2012
    @Than_Bogan Another subtle piece of this taking the "turn" out of "pre-turn" puzzle was pointed out to me by Chet one afternoon as he coached a guy to his first ever -38. "Don't be in a big rush to cast your ski wide after the edge change." He was calling for a "half cast," a concept that definitely plays into this discussion.

    While it's obvious that casting wide right out of the edge change puts the ski on too much of a turning edge too early, the more subtle problem is it has the same effect as a figure skater slowing down a high speed spin by throwing his arms out wide; it dissipates energy. To maximize the acceleration during the post-wake connection, resist casting your ski wide right out of the edge change. Instead, "release" into the cast methodically and you'll harvest a bit more energy from the "staying connected" phase. Watch some Nate videos. Even at -41, he looks like he is almost upright from the prop wash until he drops into the extension and turn around the ball.

    In a nutshell: too much cast too early, sheds energy and speed, not good for wide and early. ... because understanding is better than memorizing
  • Steven HainesSteven Haines Posts: 914 Solid Baller
    Awesome explanation Marcus! Thanks!
  • 35 in the bag35 in the bag Posts: 76 Baller
    Turn - the - Handle.......

    Now for a suggestion on the how to.

    In the past I have read "keep the elbows pinned to the vest" in the pre-turn. This seemed difficult to "just do".......something wasn't quite right. That is until I stumbled on the following technique by observing on video what may top skiers seem to do almost naturally.

    Presuming a conventional handle grip (ie. holding it like a baseball a right handed batter if you are LFF), at the end of the pull phase, twist the handle into a vertical position while skiing toward your heal side turn (on side). Conversely, twist the handle into a horizontal position while skiing toward your toe side.

    For me this has the dramatic effect of forcing my inside elbow into a bent position near my vest keeping me connected as I ski outbound and upcourse to "advance on the boat". It seems easy to think about and I feel the results immediately when I do it. Try it right there at your desk and you will see what I mean. The body's geometry seems to naturally force the inside elbow into your rib cage when twisting the handle as I describe.

    Just something that is helping me.....thought it might help others as well.

    John M
    John M
    I used to think that ski tuning might be more complicated than Rocket Science.........
    Now I know it is..
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,175 Mega Baller
    edited June 2012
    @35_in_the_Bag Whatever is working for you can't be all bad, but for others considering this, there is a potential risk. I had a top coach stop me from doing this because it tends to twist your shoulders, hips and ski down-course at a time when you are trying to maximize your outbound direction. Just something to be aware of. ... because understanding is better than memorizing
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 5,734 Mega Baller
    @MarcusBrown Thanks for both the compliments and the very useful explanation!

    In a way, I think I wasn't "ready" for that information when I read it the first time. Reading it again now, it seems to make a TON of sense.

    Hopefully I can apply it! :)
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
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