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Detrick’s Article in the Waterskier

Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 1,905 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
I assume most of you are like me….when “The Water Skier” arrives in the mail, it either gets a quick glance or a 10 second flip through before getting tossed on the coffee table where it sits for a few months before finally getting thrown in the trash. I had some time yesterday where I actually went through the May/June copy and read it for a change.

I was pleasantly surprised to find 3 very good articles – one of which discussed a key, but often overlooked point of view on the driver/skier relationship. A great driver can give very useful feedback simply by being aware of what the skier is doing on the other end of the rope (not to mention being a much more consistent driver). The vast majority of drivers, even the good ones, lack the keen sense of awareness that is critical to being a great driver.

I became aware of this years ago when I received some of my best coaching from my favorite driver when he never looked in the mirror, all in a similar manor to what Brian described. It was uncanny the level of feedback he provided – all by paying attention to when and how the skier loaded the boat. Unfortunately, this a rare skill and the majority of drivers are largely oblivious to what’s going on outside of reacting to keep the boat somewhat straight.

Anyway, it is a great perspective on the driver/skier relationship that is usually overlooked. Well worth taking the time to read and apply. May/June 2015 p. 42

Great job Brian!
I'm Ancient. WTH do I know?


  • sunperchsunperch Posts: 278 Crazy Baller
    Agreed! We have noticed that with the addition of ZO, the driver can really tell what the skier is doing based on the surging of the motor. When skiing correctly, a small, rhythmic increase in engine noise when the skier is directly behind the boat. When my husband is on the wrong setting or skiing in poor form, the engine is revving with huge fluctuations. Add that to feel of the pull (never feeling the skier get free from the boat, hooking up too early right at the ball, no rhythm, hard yank, etc...), we are able to help each other out. The other day, my husband tried another (wrong) setting, and the engine RPMs fluctuated so drastically I thought something was wrong with the engine.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    I got some coaching from Jack Travers a couple of years ago when he was driving. I have no idea if he was looking in the mirror but it had to do with when I was loading the rope at the gates so he could defintely have felt it without looking. It was a huge help and helped me run my first 35 off.
    Mark Shaffer
  • Razorskier1Razorskier1 Posts: 3,425 Mega Baller
    This thread made me reflect on driving. There are mechanical aspects of good course driving that we teach when people are new. That helps, and gets them to give us a good pull. However, the real magic comes when someone has enough hours in the seat that they can feel the skier and know what's happening without looking. @sunperch my wife is my primary driver and has been for 20 years. Just today she said to me after a pass, "you're running ahead of the boat and yanking me". She was right. It is nice to have a regular driver who knows what right feels like, and can give you instant feedback when you aren't doing it!
    Jim Ross
  • CaleBurdickCaleBurdick Posts: 60 Baller
    Sound of the boat surging, sound of the ski carving, feel and timing of the load, and my personal favorite....the smacking of the rope on the engine box means it's getting serious back there!
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