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Shallow Water

Justin_CJustin_C Posts: 226 Baller
I did a search and didn't see much of the sort come up but I apologize if there's already a thread on this but we just put a new course in on a river system that is affected by roughly 18" of tide. At low tide a couple of my turn buoys can get as low as 4.5 feet. Just wondering what people consider too shallow? I know some man made lakes are pretty close to this depth but what are people's thoughts on the matter? Also, how would a ski react differently in shallow water as opposed to deep water? The depth here can go from 4.5 feet at 2 ball to >8 feet at 3 ball.


  • shansen345shansen345 Posts: 181 Baller
    I'm no expert (only really spent time at 2 different ski lakes), but 4.5 sounds slightly shallow. Not insanely shallow, but shallow. Although, I have seen videos of people wiping out and standing up after with half their body out of the water...
  • B_SB_S Posts: 229 Crazy Baller
    I wouldn't worry about 4.5'. 3' and less is where I get nervous.
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,608 Mega Baller
    4.5 is OK. I wouldn't like it under 4 feet.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • IlivetoskiIlivetoski Posts: 1,185 Crazy Baller
    Our lake has plenty of spots under 4 feet and no issues
    [Deleted User]
  • keithh2oskierkeithh2oskier Posts: 528 Crazy Baller
    4.5' is plenty deep at the buoy. Just make sure your shore is far enough that in case you fall with outbound trajectory you don't hit shore.
  • Justin_CJustin_C Posts: 226 Baller
    Soft mucky bottom. Holy crap, 18"?!
  • Justin_CJustin_C Posts: 226 Baller
    Well I guess I'll keep skiing in my 4.5 feet!
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,208 Mega Baller
    anything above 3.8 feet on the depth gauge is good enough for a holeshot for me. Less than that and I start to worry about prop strikes on holeshot. We have shorelines we run that range anywhere from 20' to 2.5' deep. If you crash in the 2.5' spot, you have to let the boat drag you about 200 feet to a depth more suitable for holeshot. Fortunately, we rarely crash and rarely use that shore.
  • mwetskiermwetskier Posts: 1,329 Mega Baller
    one of the first man-made tournament lakes in this country was a catfish farm that some had turn balls you could change out while standing on the bottom in waist deep water. i know because i did it.
  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,349 Crazy Baller
    Depth at a turn buoy can affect the ski. There is "rebound" from the bottom, if you will, or compression. Many skiers will say that shallow water can contribute to tail blow out.
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,208 Mega Baller
    Watch the guys in ultra shortline at 1 ball headed south at the Malibu Open. It's the shallowest ball of the course and can be a struggle with skis chattering, porpoising, etc.
  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,349 Crazy Baller
    @Mark_Matis that's what I intended, you just worded it much better.
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,897 Infinite Pandas
    My favorite course was about 4 feet behind the boat and 5 feet at the buoy. Bottom effect gave great acceleration in the pull and the slight extra depth gave good ski grip in the turn. One of my tougher courses was just the opposite. All fairly shallow but the feel was noticeable.

    Deep water (over 10 feet) all feels the same. With the modern boats, trick wakes are bigger (better) in deep water. So deep water slalom wakes should be bigger as well?

    I've skied in some ridiculously shallow water. Gotten muddy but never hurt.

    We used to do tricks in the low tide mud flats (whipped out in the turn). Never fell. Fortunately.

  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,208 Mega Baller
    Public water course about an hour from here can be as little as 3 feet deep muddy bottom. That course combined with the '03-'06 Malibu Response LXi hull was literally the finest 15 and 22 off setup I've ever experienced in my life. Like there wasn't even a wake, just a bit of turbulence.
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