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Hard Science

JASJAS Posts: 313 Crazy Baller
How much actual “hard science” concerning waterski design/function actually exists? Does actual hydrodynamic testing actually take place? Seems that the history of waterski design is one of reverse engineering, modification, and testing, testing, testing.


  • Razorskier1Razorskier1 Posts: 3,425 Mega Baller
    Science is all hard
    Jim Ross
  • DefectiveDaveDefectiveDave Posts: 479 Solid Baller
    Regarding software simulation with computational physics, there's no economically viable method to accurately model the functionality of a water ski in anything but the most trivial scenarios (example: acceleration of a ski with a fixed angle and load). The required feature resolutions, time-scales, and domain sizes are just mind-boggling for explicit codes, even for the trivial scenarios.

    Agreeing with @Than_Bogan, since most actions on a ski are highly dynamic and tightly coupled to what the skier does, I don't know that the results would be very meaningful.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,603 Administrator
    I have dreamed of telemetry or data acquisition for years. None of the hardware I have seen has been even close to working for skiing.

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  • DWDW Posts: 2,317 Mega Baller
    We looked at doing some CFD for skis (and boats), and as noted, it is an extremely complex set of parameters to model what is happening. Just one example of the complexity is the fact of operation in compressible and non compressible fluid mediums at all times.
  • AdamCordAdamCord Posts: 936 Open or Level 9 Skier
    @DefectiveDave and @DW are spot on. I've also looked into this and as far as computer modeling or flow testing, it really is close to impossible. When I become a billionaire I'll look into it again...

    That's not to mean that some of us aren't doing a fair bit of real science, though. The Scientific Method more accurately describes what we try to do: principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.

    I think every ski company has their own version of this, some being more "science-y" than others.
  • adamhcaldwelladamhcaldwell Posts: 766 Open or Level 9 Skier
    Wow, very kind words! Thank you @Ed_Johnson.
  • ToddFToddF Posts: 595 Solid Baller
    Why don't we steal from yacht racing, they have more money and have undoubtedly done more hydrodynamic testing.

  • Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 1,906 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    That’s one of the things I have always liked about skiing that I believe really sets it apart from other sports - the degree that everyone eagerly shares their knowledge with others. Adam and Adam are another great example.

    Yes ski design has always been, and largely still is, a black art, but new theories arise, get tested and confirmed (GUT), revised (almost every ski or idea out there) or trashed (coordinates and Leeskis). That’s how the sport evolves.
    I'm Ancient. WTH do I know?
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,977 Infinite Pandas
    @Bruce_Butterfield Any publicity is good!

    And actually, wakeboarding can be more challenging than a right and left turn...

  • DaveDDaveD Posts: 986 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Development of injection molding simulation software started over 30 years ago. There were a lot of really bad molds designed during that development. The injection molding process has a lot less variables than waterskiing. I can only imagine the pain and agony of developing that skiing model.

    I'm just happy the ski manufacturers have evolved to the point they are cutting tools from CAD models.
  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,628 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @DaveD but as skiers we're still trying to measure fins with the jaws of a caliper and share the settings. :s
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Chairman of the Board
    AWSA Southern Region EVP
  • DragoDrago Posts: 1,620 Mega Baller
    @klindy "measure"
    SR SL Judge & Driver (“a driver who is super late on the wheel and is out of sync”)
  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,628 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited December 2017
    exactly @Drago (pun seriously unintended!)
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Chairman of the Board
    AWSA Southern Region EVP
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