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Beginner Help

dhofertdhofert Posts: 215 Baller
Hello,
I have just started skiing at the end of last summer and into this summer. I can get up probably 75% of the time doing both feet in deep water starts, without training rope. Hopefully I can keep this semi short and cover all my questions I may have.

My biggest problem is cutting across the wake on my offside. I am LFF and just cant seem to cut hard from left to right.

I can usually get out of the water but once I pop the handle one time I really struggle. I went out this past weekend, it was colder, air in the 50s and fairly rough, I only made it out of the water 2 times and couldn't even get up with the training rope. Does a wetsuit cause that much more drag to make a beginner struggle?

Does our rope attaching just above the swim platform cause me more problems then I think?

I am skiing on a HO 67blast behind a 1984 4winns 190 with a chevy 350.

The really frustrating part for me is the very limited time spent on the water as my driver would rather do other things and the public lake is usually really busy.

So my final question, is there anyone in the Grand Rapids MI area that needs a ski buddy?

Thanks for the help and sorry my first post is so long.

Dustin

Comments

  • svxwilsonsvxwilson Posts: 42 Baller
    Wetsuits do make you weigh more and they make you float more changing your bouyancy and knee and feet positioning. I always dislike the way they feel. My recent purchase of a Camaro Blacktec suit is waaaayyyy better than the O'Neills I had always used just a tip.

    To help getting out of the water I would focus on keeping your knees as tight into your body as possible (max bend) and keeping your arms and shoulders relaxed(elbows straight the whole way out of the water), some people do better closing their eyes and letting their head and neck tuck forward with the shoulders at the same time as the launch.

    Individual coaching will get you further than anything. Get some vids or pics so we can give you accurate suggestions. Could be several things compounding the frustrations you are experiencing. The offside turn is the most difficult and will always be for most people.
  • david_quaildavid_quail Posts: 146 Baller
    I started last year as well - not able to get out of the water in august - but have skied a lot since - so am probably a bit ahead in the learning curve having just run the course at a modest 30 mph and 15 off. Regardless, I can relate.

    First off, I doubt the wet suit causes much of a difference at all. Nor the position of the attachment. That said, I can relate to your troubles with deep water starts. I would go 18 starts without a fail ... and then suddenly one day ... fail 4 in a row and be unable to get up. I think these streaks are natural as ones consistency evades them in the early going. What makes matters worse is after a few fails, fatigue sets in. Don't underestimate how fatigued you are ... and if you're like me ... you psych yourself out after a few fails and there's little hope for getting up again. I convinced myself to just "reset" after days like this and focus on the basics (head and shoulders out of water, knees to chest, straight arms, making sure ski tip stays out of the water etc etc) and not be too critical of myself. Easier said than done though. There's nothing more humiliating than failing a start - and until you're consistent, its hard to focus on the actual set when you're worried about not even getting up. Again ... I don't think what you're describing is all that uncommon. Just fight through it and one day things will click and you won't really think about starts again.

    As for the wake crossing, you'll hear a million and one different words of advice on here - all of them good. I'm sure you'll hear mostly about getting into a great stack, which is valid. That nothing else matters until you have a good stack position. Again - this is true. But for me, my offside turn was so bad that I felt like I was never in a reasonable position to actually get into a good stack. I finished the turn leaning forward, and at that point the only way to get into good position was to overpower a 1800lb boat. Wasn't going to happen.

    The last month my offside turn came a long long way. and what really did it for me was 2 things. Perhaps this will help.

    1. Really focus on "finishing" the turn. Allowing my outside hip to ski all the way to my right hand before I "reached" for the handle.
    2. I'm sure you've heard to really load the front foot. Especially for the offside. I heard this too ... and it always seemed a bit counter intuitive. I'd try ... but never really that much. Something in august clicked though, and I realized that on my offside, it's pretty much impossible for me to put TOO much weight on my front foot. I was always a bit worried about going over the front until then, but now that I really really really load the ski up, the ski just comes around on it's own. Once this happened, the ski came around and was pointed across course rather than down, the handle was at my hips, and I felt like a cannon ball being launched across the wakes. Oh, one other bit of advice wrt offside turn - or any turn for that matter. When you watch the pro's it always looks like they just snap the ski around. It happens so quickly. I'd always try to emulate this. And really force the turn. Instead of that, I just kind of let the ski arc around now. I can't force it to go any faster. It just needs to swing away from my core, following my hips back to the handle. One of those things that's hard to describe. But essentially I stopped thinking about forcing the ski to whip around, and thought of it more as following a path with my core as the pivot point. Oddly enough, when I stopped thinking of forcing a fast turn ... my turns became much smoother and faster.

    Finally, the only other bit of advice that I have is ... that you'll hear a lot of advice on hear ... like what I've just shared. Most of it good. But ... what it really takes is just time on the water. If you're like me ... you'll take a step forward ... 2 back .... 3 forward ... 1 back ... etc etc. It's frustrating as heck. But there is really no substitute than just getting comfortable skiing and spending as many hours as humanly possible to help any element of your skiing - from start to wake crossing. So find that ski buddy!
    HShawThan_Bogan
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,583 Mega Baller
    edited October 2016
    Welcome to Ball of Spray and to water skiing. Hopefully you can find ski buddy's. How much do you weigh? As a beginner you might need a little bigger ski.
  • OldboyIIOldboyII Posts: 586 Solid Baller
    edited October 2016
    @dhofert If you figured out what helps you for sucsessful start, put this few important points on the waterproof sticker on the tip of your ski. It sounds funny but amazingly helped to my beginner colleague when I did that sticker with three short phrases: 1- knee to chest! 2- shoulders and arms straght to boat! 3- wait!
    He always was very hectic before start and these simple reminders helped him to relax and concentrate on basics.
    I agree with @svxwilson that cold dence water and thick suit changes our flotation but if you always do same basic things it will not affect your start.
    Good luck & have fun!



  • Orlando76Orlando76 Posts: 1,073 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Wait, wait, wait. I used to always get impatient when learning deep water starts and stood up too soon. I've learned you can never stand up too late.

    As mentioned before a wetsuit adds buoyancy which should help but also causes lots of drag. I have trouble (well not trouble but have to remind myself and wait) for that one day a year I wear a wetsuit. I even have trouble getting up when I wear a low quality bathing suit vs a better quality Oneil. There's quite a difference in drag between the two.
  • A_BA_B Posts: 4,148 Mega Baller
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,606 Mega Baller
    @dhofert, I previously belonged the the West Shore Water Ski Club in Grand Rapids. I know most of the skiing scene over there.

    Regarding your issues cutting across the wake, the HO Blast (if I recall correctly ) is a combo pair with a squared-off tail. I think your ability to cut across the wake may be limited by that ski. The wake of the 4 Winns may be another factor.

    Send me a PM with some specifics on your location and which lakes are close to you. Also, it would be good to know your height, weight, and approximate age group.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • pacopaco Posts: 96 Baller
    Really sounds like you have everything against you. Hopefully @MISkier can get you hooked up with a ski group. A pull from an inboard is night and day different from the I/o all the way from getting out of the water to the size of the wake to the pull the boat gives you to cross the wake. I also think he's right about the ski, I recommend something with some good bindings. Doesn't have to be a new ski, but sounds like a radar senate, ho freeride or tx would be better suited for you. Whatever bindings you decide, just make sure they release easy to avoid injury while learning.

    As for getting up, a wetsuit will cause more drag. Also both feet in causes a little more drag. I use a rtp and assume you have one on your ski. Try dragging a foot during a start, you can prop your chest on your knee. Keep it bent up against your body tight and lean forward. A lot less pressure on your lower back also!
  • Ski_DadSki_Dad Posts: 396 Baller
    kinda in the same place as you - just got my deep water start worked out at the end of this season (without trainer handle) and I've been slaloming longer - so way to go! I'm LFF too and still feel awkward turning right.

    I can vouch that the Radar P6 is an easy ski to get up on but can still turn. Got mine at perfski.com and I think they still have some of those. Also the vector binding is nice - i fell once this year and came right out.
  • m_pagsm_pags Posts: 77 Baller
    I had 03' Four Winns 190 (V8) and it had a monster wake, especially at slower speeds. If you are sking long line you may want to shorten to 15 off as the wake improves slightly there.
    Ski_Dad
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,822 Mega Baller
    "you can never stand up too late" - @Orlando76 well said.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • dhofertdhofert Posts: 215 Baller
    Oh wow, so much information to take in. I wish I had found this site last spring. Well for those asking weight I'm usually between 175-185lbs.

    1. @david_quail "Don't underestimate how fatigued you are ... and if you're like me ... you psych yourself out after a few fails and there's little hope for getting up again." Absolutely correct! If I don't make it up after a few tries I might as well load up and go home. As for being fatigued, this past time where I was having trouble my forearms hurt so much I couldn't grip anything until today with much force. I will go until I can't, which I think might make me my own worst enemy.

    2. @OldboyII "put this few important points on the waterproof sticker on the tip of your ski." That just might be a good idea! Just something to keep my head in the game.

    3. @m_pags "you may want to shorten to 15 off as the wake improves slightly there." I have read that and plan on buying a rope this winter to be able to do that.

    4. @Orlando76 "you can never stand up too late." I will keep that in mind.

    I do plan on trying some skis next summer through a rental type deal where each rental goes toward a purchase. I now have some ideas of where to start. As for bindings I was leaning towards a double boot or at least a partial boot in the rear because I don't like when my heel slides in the RTP.

    I do not want to put all the blame on the driver but I know some of it can be attributed to him as we are learning this together with me doing all the research. He just wants to drive the boat around and he would be happy. Also, our lack of a spotter limits our time and makes it difficult for him to watch me and in front while starting. Hopefully I can find a course to at least try sometime next year so I have something to work towards.

    Thanks again for all the input, now I just need to find the time to get out there a few more times.






  • Keith MenardKeith Menard Posts: 560 Crazy Baller
    I am not sure if I can add anything more useful here...but I went seasons without being able to get up on one ski after being a very fast learner. It was a very frustrating experience. At the end of the day I found I was putting too much pressure on my back foot...like...enough that I would slow down the 1800hp boat I was skiing behind...and no, that isn't a typo.

    For me it was about getting into a tighter position in the water (focusing on getting knees to chest) and then trying to flex my back foot to the point that I was on the tips of my toes. Once I got the hang of that, I could stand up almost as fast as I could say hit it.

    As for the off side cut, it is my achilles as well. This season I have tried to focus on being more aggressive on that side and forcing the ski into an angle I wasn't necessarily comfortable with after the turn.

    My son said his advice is...never give up.
  • scorban2scorban2 Posts: 92 Baller
    As a relative beginner myself, I made quite a bit of progress on wake crossings by spending some time forgetting quick turns, and just focusing on the wake crossings. There's a set of YouTube videos that I believe came from a Gordon Rathbun video that break it down into drills that add an additional step with each one. Here's the link to one that focuses on the wake crossings. Rathbun Drills

    Also, having a set of HO blasts as a combo for new folks to learn on, I'd highly recommend finding a different ski. A friend that learned to slalom on the blast said using my old HO freeride felt like a sports car in comparison.
    BrennanKMNwtrskiorpumpinpete
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,822 Mega Baller
    Radar P6 - most highly recommended starter ski for driven slalom skiers. It can be stable for a chilled ride or aggressive and chase buoys. It has just a bit more width under the front foot making deep water starts a little easier.

    Regarding Deep water starts -
    • Keep knees bent a lot
    • Keep grip strong and arms relaxed as an extension of the rope
    • Rope/handle on the same side as your rear foot
    • It is OK to hold the ski slightly tilted to the other side as in 1 or 11 o-clock
    • Focus on keeping about 8 inches of the ski out of the water
    • make sure the rope is tight, then indicate for the boat to go
    • wait until you feel the pull of the boat and build momentum through the water
    • Focus on having your knuckles near the toes of the front binding while moving through the water
    • Focus on the front foot until you start to feel supported by the ski, which is typically a few seconds
    • Then start pushing with both feet to slowly rise up.
    • At the same time, start to rise your shoulders upright and over your hips.
    • Push up, vs. pull up.
    For wake crossings -
    • Start tall (no bend in waist) and easy (ride the ski vs dig and drive)
    • Think about pointing the ski and the front knee in the desired direction of travel
    • As the boat's force increases, add more counter force by leaning away from the boat's direction of travel
    • Also push to extend your legs to stay tall as you lean away.
    • The above will result in a progressive acceleration and leverage that is controlled
    • As you approach the wake, use your ankles to absorb it. (Your knees will follow the ankles, but you hips can stay up.) The goal is to always have your hips up and under your shoulders, using your ankles and knees for shock absorbers for the wakes.
    • Hold this position as still as possible from start through both wakes.
    • As you are crossing the second wake, start to let off slowly on your lean until the ski changes edges.
    If you cannot maintain this good position, then ensure that:
    • you start in good position
    • you stay confident into the wake, and not give it up in fear/preparation of the wake bump
    • you start easy, avoid cranking too hard, too early as the boat will pull you out of position

    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 851 Crazy Baller
    All good stuff....

    Regarding wake crossing.....I think I would add, and maybe say is the #1 thing is keeping the handle low, at the hip. That is probably the #1 thing I keep coming back to. When I start thinking other things I realize I'm starting to let the handle come up.

    I have more issues with my offside turns when I don't slow down enough to make the turn, part of that comes from pulling too long on the onside cross.
    pumpinpete
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