Ever ski one of these? I have. Did one today. It is just one of those passes where everything is just... right. Yeah. It feels amazing. So, as I set there in the water afterwards waiting for the return pass, I was thinking: "Why? What was so different about that one and any number of the others?" I'm sure the answer varies for each of us. It is likely the last thing we are working on, finally coming together. Maybe it was perfect load control as per the recent thread.
Today's pass was about enjoying the ride out to the buoy. One of the things I have been focused on is what I do from center-line to buoy-line. Today, I was thinking about a video of a recent "perfect" 39.5 off pass by Nate Smith performed at my site. I had noticed that from center line to buoy line he is simply getting taller and moving over his front foot. So what!?! Well, his ski is down in the water, but he is still on the handle. He is riding the boat out to the buoy line while building "drag" by keeping the whole sweet spot of the ski wet. The water is breaking well above his front foot the whole way out to the buoy line. His COM is up and forward as early as possible. This means that his ski is being fueled by the boat but no longer accelerating. He is decelerating in a controlled way such that when he releases and starts his extension, he has slowed to a perfect spend where he is "free" but not slacked. He makes his turn and the rope and handle are there, no slack, and he is ready to ride the boat's energy to the other side.
So, as I sit in the water, I realize that my COM was up and forward more early off the center line than before. I was riding this longer wetted ski surface with minimal load all the way out to the buoy line. When I got there, all was calm. There was no sense of overspeed/late/narrow/whatever. It was just... sweet. So, that's my focus this year - the ride out to the buoy line. When that is right, everything else just feels - perfect!
(old pic, but best shot showing what I mean...)
-- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.