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Will this work?

I'm thinking about sinking one of our portable courses permanently and just installing the buoys for use rather than installing/removing the whole thing. It sits in about 8-10 feet of pretty consistent depth water. The bottom is pretty hard. By the end of the summer there are some weeds, but not weeds to the surface or anything. I know there have been some other threads about this in the past. Please provide info about how this might work, problems we'll run into, and tips you might have to make it work. Thanks.


  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,805 Mega Baller
    You mentioned the bottom is hard, so the issue of it becoming covered with muck and submerged into the bottom might be handled. I did sink my portable to the bottom (6-8 feet, hard bottom, no weeds) for a week or so once. There was no issue with it getting stuck, but disassembling it later was a problem. The sand made it difficult to retract the telescoping arms. I had to bring some to shore, disassemble them completely, and wash them. Needed some dish soap to free a jammed arm that I had forcibly retracted with sand permeating it. Once I cleaned the arms of the sand, the course was as good as new.

    If you have no plans to ever remove that portable, you should be OK.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • h2onhkh2onhk Posts: 302 Crazy Baller
    +1 for what @MISkier stated above. Had the same issues with ours after a week or so.

    Is your portable course a rope main or cable main? That would be something else to consider.
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,339 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    We sink two courses in mucky bottom for the winter each year n pull 'em up in the spring.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • Razorskier1Razorskier1 Posts: 3,425 Mega Baller
    Do it.
    Jim Ross
  • jayskijayski Posts: 899 Mega Baller
    10 plus years I sink the two courses in our lake and find it every spring, one is in a weedier fairly hard bottom the other a muckier bottom... no issues in anyway...
  • WBLskierWBLskier Posts: 469 Baller
    Would it help to cap the exposed pvc ends and drill some holes throughout the let it fill with water to keep the sand from filling it?

    Has anyone used capped pvc segments for middle pipe floatation that won't take on water over time?
  • skier2788skier2788 Posts: 765 Crazy Baller
    @WBLskier we just installed a floating permanent course with the cable mainline and heavy duty arms made from schedule 40 two inch pvc. They recommended we make 4 foot pipes that we capped and put directly in the middle of the arms for floatation.
    Travis Torley
  • skier2788skier2788 Posts: 765 Crazy Baller
    They just zip tie in place.
    Travis Torley
  • WBLskierWBLskier Posts: 469 Baller
    Thanks skier2788. What diamter pvc did you use for the 4' floats? Did you bolt the pvc sections together or use the spring clips? What do you use to anchor it on each end given that it is more permanent than typical use? Thanks.
  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,410 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    We had a course for years on a public lake in Michigan where we go into the habit of removing at least the turn balls every weekend. The same course - cable Accu-float with 2" PVC arms - stayed in the lake year round. Inevitably the boat guides or gate buoys also got lost occasionally. The bottom was knee deep mud mostly with one end dropping off to about 15' deep.

    We make a "hook" out of 3/8" (or 1/2" I can't recall) stainless steel rod. It had a triangular handle on one end and about a 4-5" rounded hook on the other. Worked famously to grab the cable or the pipe and pull it to the surface to hook on a new buoy. Even if you couldn't see the course you knew approximately where it was and you could "drag" the hook perpendicular to the cable or pipe until you felt it. Think we dropped the hook into the lake only once and we were able to go down and grab it.

    Anyhow, if I had something like that to grab the cable or pipe - remember if you find one you basically found them all if you follow the cable - I wouldn't hesitate to leave it submerged.

    One challenge we consistently ran into was fisherman who like to troll. We'd frequently found hooks and lures where they snagged the cable or something and broke off their line. Be careful with the fingers. Also, the one end was in pretty shallow water and about once every couple years we'd find the cable cut likely by one of the big battleship sized boats on the lake ploughing water getting up on plane. Without buoys no one knew it was there.
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Vice President
    AWSA Southern Region EVP
  • skier2788skier2788 Posts: 765 Crazy Baller
    @WBLskier we have a really big permanent anchor on one end with about 500 feet of poly rope running to the cable course. On the other end we sank a big anchor with a pulley on it and then ran poly to shore where we use a ratchet system to tension. Since we went permanent they recommend you take 2 in. couplers and drill then bolt them in place. The 4 foot float section were also made out of the 2 in. pvc.
    Travis Torley
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,805 Mega Baller
    @WBLskier, I don't think capping the ends of the arms will prevent the sand problem entirely. The sand seemed to infiltrate where the telescoping sections overlapped. Also, any holes that let water into the pipe will also let the sand in.

    I do like the idea of the 4 foot capped sections of PVC for mid-arm floatation and the idea of the permanent arm with the 2 inch pipe and bolted couplers for connection that @skier2788 mentioned.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • mwetskiermwetskier Posts: 1,337 Mega Baller
    i bet @Edbrazil could offer some insight.
  • skier2788skier2788 Posts: 765 Crazy Baller
    Our course was an ezslalom permanent course. They sell course kits and just the instruction manual for a DIY setup.
    Travis Torley
  • wtrskiorwtrskior Posts: 704 Crazy Baller
    My suggestion is to do it for the main line boat guide but don't use pvc arms. Individually anchor the 6 turn balls.

    Alternatively pull the arms off for the winter per @MISkier issues.
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,805 Mega Baller
    The sand issues were mainly a problem if you want to remove that course and retract the telescoping arms at some point. I had the impression you were going to just leave the course installed indefinitely. If I weren't removing mine at all, I would have no problem just sinking the arms and attaching buoys when I wanted to ski. If I had a course that I didn't care about using anywhere else, I would have done that.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • WBLskierWBLskier Posts: 469 Baller
    Has anyone tried a sub-float midway up each buoy line in this application so that the buoy line floats maybe 3 feet under water and can just be grabbed with a boat hook instead of bringing up the entire course section to the surface? Or am I overthinking this?
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,805 Mega Baller
    @WBLskier, I think any solution that is trying to keep the course off the bottom without buoys attached is going to be complicated to maintain and prone to being snagged more often by others. WallySinker does partially submerge the entire course (with the buoys still attached), but you need more depth than you have. And, they have issues with maintaining the air lines, as they get snagged and damaged.

    If you are planning to reattach buoys anyway, why don't you go to individual anchors and sub buoys (4 feet below the surface) for everything? You were already considering this for turn buoys. Use your current course as the template for anchor placement. When I get the time, that is what I plan to do on the lake where we vacation.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,805 Mega Baller
    @OB1 posted while I was typing.

    I say your options are:

    1. Go to individual anchors.
    2. Sink your portable, leave it in all the time, attach buoys when you ski, and write that portable off as unusable for anything else without some effort to disassemble and recondition it.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • TallSkinnyGuyTallSkinnyGuy Posts: 543 Crazy Baller
    Is sinking the course really going to save time? I have an EZ-slalom compact course and it takes us about 25 minutes to set up in an area of our public lake that is 90 feet deep. We had to add extra anchor line to account for the depth and that makes the process take longer. It should only take 20 minutes to put the course in if depth is 10 feet and maybe 15-20 to take it out. Seems like it would take that long to fish it off the bottom and connect all the boat guides, gates and turn balls.
  • WBLskierWBLskier Posts: 469 Baller
    We have several portables. Once this one becomes "permanent" I won't need it back. I didn't mean to float the structure above the surface but instead just the buoy lines. Part of the reason we want to do this is not that it takes a huge amount of time to move and reinstall the course but it is beyond messy when we pull it up. We have to use a different boat because it would destroy the ski boat. The weeds we have to pull off as we pull it out add to the time as well. My thought was that with each buoy line 4 or so feet under we could hook it with a boat hook, pull the pvc off the bottom only with the buoy line and attach the buoy. Nothing ever goes as smoothly as I think it should though, so maybe subfloats are not worth the hassle.

    Final question--has anyone used a 3' or 4' earth anchor screwed into the bottom to secure one end instead of an anchor? I could install that pretty easily but 26 of them would be more difficult.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,225 Mega Baller
    It does save quite a lot of time - particularly if you have a small aluminum boat/canoe or similar - since multiple people can work it at once

    We don't do this often since we rarely have calm water by our dock but over long weekends we launch the course and drop it when we are done skiing. We have a canoe and row boat. Snag the middle of the course and we can hang all the balls in less than 10 minutes. Largely because you can pull a small boat down the mainline fast.
  • EdbrazilEdbrazil Posts: 1,396 Historical Baller
    Just to clarify: you want to turn your floater cablecourse to an individual-anchored one?

    If it is a steel cable centerline, then it is probably reasonably accurate in the longitudinal
    direction. You could use the existing floater as a "template" to drop 26 individual anchors
    offset a bit, such as 6 ft. longitudinally. That will minimize any additional adjusting.

    Once all the new stuff is in place, recruit a Technical Controller to figure out all the
    adjustments, and supervise that taking place. You could work with a local surveying
    company, but unless they are your good buddies, that will be $$$.

    You could also do the in-water measuring with measuring lines and 3 people in the
    water. An Olde Days method that will get you close, but needs 3 people with skills.

    You can go to the USA Waterski website to look up officials in your area:
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,805 Mega Baller
    My previous ski club used the screw/earth anchors for each end of our floating course. Installing them seems to be the tough part and required dive tanks. I was not involved. It helped that the lake bottom was soft in that particular situation. A hard lake bottom could be a challenge.

    I believe we also used screw anchors with subs for individually anchored buoys during years when we did not use a floating course.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • FLeboeufFLeboeuf Posts: 70 Baller
    I installed an insta slalom and stuck it to the bottom of the lake. The pvc pipes are held by a couple of concrete rods bent in U shape as narrow as I could bend them, about 2 feet long, stuck in the bottom that is mostly muddy so its easy to stick them in. There are a couple of 50 lbs concrete blocks holding the pipes too. Its been there 6 years and it hasnt moved an inch. I just take the buoys out in the fall and let the ropes sink. Finding it in the spring is a bit of a hassle but I dont mind. I have to put a warm wet suit, walk in the water ( theres about 4 to 6 feet) and find the main line with my feet and from there I can easily find the rest of the course. I used to attach plastic cans where the buoys were and fill them up with water so they sink thinking it would be easier to find in the spring but I have so much weeds that the cans would get burried so that wasnt worth the trouble.
    I say do it but fix the pipes solidly to the bottom so nothing moves.
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