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Sudden progress!

I'm 55 and have been skiing the course for at least 20 years. Finally joined a ski lake a few years ago. I guess I must be a slow learner, as it has taken me until the least few weeks to finally run a comfortable 22 off at 34mph. About three weeks ago, a knowledgeable buddy watched me ski, gave me some tips on timing, and helped me adjust the fin on my D3 Z-7. By last week, I was getting far downcourse or running my 22 off fairly easily.

Well, I decided to try 28 just this last week. My first pass I got four balls, and my second got all six. Then for the heck of it I tried 32 off, and on my third try got four balls downcourse. I might have run it if I hadn't run over three-ball. 28 just flat-out feels easier and a lot less work than 22 off, and 32 doesn't seem that bad. My goal was to run 28 off this season, and now I think I might run 32 also.

Cliff's notes: after years on a plateau, my skiing has taken a quantum leap. Has anyone else had this happen? Is 28 off easier for some people? It seems to be for myself.


  • JordanJordan Posts: 1,194 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Congrats! That is huge progress. Keep it up !!!!!!
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,510 Mega Baller

    @OB nailed it. One the luckiest moments of my life was arriving right as @MikeT's ski partner decided to leave the sport. At that time, the best I could do was a full pass at 36/-15 on a really good day. Once under Mike's wing, I gained almost a pass a year for several years, and qualified for Nationals 5 years into my apprenticeship.

    As far as -28 and -32 feeling easier, there's a tiny bit of truth to that IF your leverage position is good. The pull zone is shorter so there's less time that you have to be holding that tension. But it's a two-edged sword: the pull zone being shorter means harhsly penalizing a poor leverage position and no time to make up for mistakes.

    Twice during my career I had HUGE tournament bests (7 buoys and 9 buoys respectively), but that was more because I had improved a ton in practice but hadn't yet been able to translate it to a tournament. The second one was the crazy one: In practice I had been running 36/-32 here and there, but in a tournament I had never managed to finish off a -28, with a best of 5. The first time I finally got through that -28, I turned right around and ran my first-ever touranment attempt at -32, followed by 2 @ -35 to half-qualify for my first Nationals!!

    It's too bad that I will never again have a full pass personal best, and indeed it is far from assured I'll ever have another one at all, thanks to the "outlier" -38 I ran in 2011. I miss that part of the learning curve, but I think I may be having more fun in the sport now than ever before: the tiniest little lightbulb is very exciting these days!
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • MenzelskierMenzelskier Posts: 3 Baller
    edited August 2014
    Thanks for the feedback. Being 55, I am acquainted with several National competitors who have likely seen their best passes. One fellow in particular has won nationals in 3-event in his age category more than once, including a 38-off pass that he will always be proud of. He still enjoys competing, but another forte of his is coaching.

    The flip side is although I'm still improving, I probably won't ever run a 38 off like he did, so it is a two-edged sword. What a fun sport either way!
  • JASJAS Posts: 263 Solid Baller
    Curious what your ah moment was? Congrats on moving to the other side!
  • wawaskrwawaskr Posts: 236 Solid Baller
    Does your buddy say "I've been doing this a long time"?
  • MenzelskierMenzelskier Posts: 3 Baller
    edited August 2014
    JAS -- A couple of them. One was establishing my stacked position and holding it about 5-10 feet past the wake. It's easy to do, but I would often get narrow waiting to turn in to make the gates. My friend told me to forget about the gates for awhile. He said get wide, settle, and turn in with width. I got to where I could consistently come in with great angle and, being LFF, really come out of one ball with great angle as well. Since I prioritized my body position, I would at times ski before the gates and end up turning before the ball with quite a bit of width out from the ball. Sometimes I would run an entire pass turning wide of and in front of every ball.

    Starting to sound like a book here.

    Coming into two ball I was edge-changing too late. I get such great velocity with my onside pull that I was overshooting two and ending up pointed right at 3-ball. My friend adjusted my fin for tip and steepened my wing angle, but especially told me to edge change at the second wake. All of a sudden I'm carrying out to #2 and settling into good position for 3. It worked right away!

    So very soon I'm running 22 off the dock, and it's easier. When I went out at 28, I got as wide as I could on my pullout (still well past the 2-4-6 line) and simply applied the same principles. Only this time I'm hardly working at all. The ski comes around easily and quickly -- it feels like I'm just lightly skipping from side-to-side. My buddy tells me my ski is finally in its element, where it was designed to work.

    It really came down to prioritizing form over buoys, and now that the form is fairly solid I'm running the buoys most of the time, and getting the gates more. But If I'm ready to turn in and wait for my perfect gate shot I'll get pulled narrow and be lucky to get halfway downcourse.

    WAWASKR -- Yes, he's been doing it for a long time. He'd run 35-off regularly in his younger days. Right now he needs a knee replacement, and has turned to coaching and tuning skis as a hobby.
  • drewski32drewski32 Posts: 218 Baller
    I've had a bit of a breakthrough myself this year. I went from struggling with -28 In June to running it comfortably and struggling to get past 1 or 2 ball at -32. Then I figured out the gates at -32, as well as how to get the ski to cast out better. I got [email protected] -35 the other day and I should have run it... Just got excited and pulled longer than I had to
  • RazorRoss3RazorRoss3 Posts: 1,344 Mega Baller
    -28 is easier than -22 when you are skiing right. Same thing every time you shorten or speed up because the boat does more work. The flip side is a mistake becomes more severely punished as far as a smaller error can keep you from making the next buoy.
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