Was at my super secret test skier brother's house for a party last night and somehow my bindings found a Denali. It then hid comfortably in my ski bag until this morning when I got to ride it. The buoys were a blow-out so ran open water.
Skier stats: 5'11'', 185-190 lbs, 43 yrs old, 3 times rebuilt spine, right foot forward, D3 leverage and toe plate currently on a Razor A68, tourney PB [email protected]
, have not seen buoys yet this year have free skied 5 times. My onside looks consistently like my profile pic...cool but more often than not detrimental. Grew up a hack using way too much power and not nearly enough technique but putting up scores the hard way. The Denali was a 66'' prototype...and I typically do not fare well on a new stick initially feeling quite uncomfortable. I was up too late and perhaps slightly over-served last night.
Stand up and riding outside the wash felt very familiar...close my eyes could have been my own ski in terms of my comfort level. Rides flatter than my Razor so either nose lower or tail higher however one wants to think about it. It felt "normal" so gave the usual pull out and I got high with ease. Was comfortable enough to just go for my normal turn-in. Found it stepped in behind the boat very smoothly and was also very stable for a 66 thru the wakes. Offside turn was really smooth, tight radius and I don't know how to say it other than the finish is very buttery and it felt like I had already owned the ski for a long time...we knew each other somehow. Normally I'd ride a new ski back for fear of OTF, but felt confident and was able to just go at it.
Over to the onside ski carries out effortlessly and here comes my big turn. Oops for just a moment I think I blew it and am going to just fall over into the water without rope support. Nope...ski arrives under me, line is tight, there is zero tip rise and I'm through the wake in a blink. Laughing audibly I carry out into another tight offside with buttery finish. To the onside I once again lose very little speed make the turn, think I blew it and I'm saved again. To the other side now and people on shore could probably see my pearly whites.
Coming back headwind I pull a little less hard (I'm so comfortable on it I can already start toying with technique and timing), keep my down arm pressure, carry out fast thinking too fast but the ski just carves. After 3 onside turns I no longer had the momentary "Shoot gonna fall" sense was able to just go over and rip on-siders without the load penalty or tip rise at the finish. Jim says wow you look good and there is zero tip rise.
Feels as fast but more controlled than my Razor. The Razor is stiff...when I over-turn the energy has to go somewhere and as the ski sticks I tend to rear up on load and then go, costing me time. I make it up being a big puller and the Razor is fast so it works for me but I know I'm losing time and have tried hard to fix it. I got zero tip rise out of the Denali even on smoking hot onside turns and the hook up wasn't punishing but smooth. Makes a very tight radius turn. It feels like it has consistent radius rather than turning then quick hook to finish. Rides high on the boat and drops back with little effort and with a tight line. Some more time on this thing and a shot at a few orange balls has me very intrigued.
This was just a down and back twice run in head/tail in open water at 28 off...but for a first try I was mentally prepared to be uncomfortable and ski poorly on an unfamiliar stick...I was terribly impressed and had a lot of fun. It turns tight radius like a smaller ski but seems to have the speed of a longer ski and really carries outbound. The finish of the turn is also just fantastic; I'm not sure if it's flex or just the right amount of smear but the end result is very cool. I've never felt quite so comfortable or familiar on a first attempt with an unfamiliar stick...it just wasn't unfamiliar.