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Is Cold Water slower and what should wing angle be as water warms up?

cruznskicruznski Posts: 72 Baller
So there was a recent post on slalom misconceptions. I looked about a bit in the forum, and yet to this day I think there is not any agreement (and maybe there does not need to be- maybe wing angle is the least thing of concern) as to what to do with wing angle as the water warms up. Bringing this up as we had a real warm up here over the past week. A friend surprised me with a photo from the temp in their boat gauge at a man made lake, water temp was 72 deg last week while we are skiing 12 deg less than that water temp.
Is cold water slower? So, warmer water= add wing angle as in 0.5 deg? Or set the wing in cold and let that be it (I think I saw that last fall something about some guy who skis in Indiana or the like).
Or perhaps take the wing off and set the fin correctly? Just threw that in. There may be a place in the forum that covers this already. Yet I do think it is an area of misconception.


  • GloersenGloersen Posts: 1,000 Mega Baller
    edited April 2018
    More wing angle with > temp is common, but opinions vary.

    Cold water recommendations
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,975 Infinite Pandas
    In cold water, the ski rides higher and the water feels harder making you carry more speed into the buoy. Wings used to be called brakes. More angle equals more brake? Add more wing angle when the water gets cold.

    There's a limit to how much wing angle you can have before cavitation occurs. I like the wing near the cavitation limit so I don't have much adjustment left.

    "Slow" or "fast" water means different things to different people. To me, cold water feels like I'm being pulled at a faster speed. I have to drop my speed to get the same buoy count. So I call cold water "fast". And I hate cold water - brrr.

    Alberto Soaresjcampmmosley899Killer
  • bkreisbkreis Posts: 304 Baller
    in most cases, I have found it's our bodies being stiff/tight in colder conditions that make the difference...some skis are sensitive to cold and may need "something". for me, I warm up longer when it's chilly.....had a nice conversation with @twhisper about this topic.
  • T_CT_C Posts: 145 Baller
    I think a conversation with @twhisper would be something like "shut up and ski".
  • nleuthnleuth Posts: 46 Baller
    @scotchipman I messed around with several different cold water settings this last fall. I also found that the ski performed better as a decreased wing angle in colder water. That is for my Connelly GT.
  • EricKelleyEricKelley Posts: 296 Crazy Baller
    I think that there is only more drag in cooler water for those parts of the ski which are submerged.
    There will be less drag on the ski itself(not fin and wing)because it will ride higher on the water(all performance boats are several mph faster in salt and cooler water.....for sure!)
    I believe that increased lift of the tail and corresponding increase of wet area of the tip of the ski is the most significant factor in the way our skis feel.
    For me decrease in wing angle, moving fin forward, decreasing depth help.
    I just try to survive with a good attitude til warmer temps arrive. Fun to play with these things though.
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,426 Mega Baller
    As a guy who's oversized for his ski, I find skiing in cold water much easier in terms of getting on the front of the ski and having it ride and turn how I see the smaller guys doing it in the warmer water. The higher ride height is great for me. Though that combined with the less "smear" can lead to some wild OTFs if not careful. :)
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,975 Infinite Pandas
    Surface tension of cold water is higher (note how a drop of water in a pan spreads out as it heats up). Does this surface tension make the ski ride higher? Maybe the extra viscosity? It sure feels like the ski rides higher in cold water.

    Less ski in the water, less area for drag. I have to work harder to slow the ski down when it's cold. And it's harder to roll the ski over to get the ski to perform. Just like as if I sped up.

    Wing settings have so many effects which vary from ski to ski and skier to skier that a strict rule of adjustment for temperature won't always work.

    On snow, ice is denser, more viscous, colder and way faster than powder.

    Cold water is faster.

  • ozskiozski Posts: 1,678
    @bkreis As if Miami water actually gets cold.....
    'Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.'' Boat 2005 Nautique 196 6L ZO - Ski - KD Platinum

  • JmoskiJmoski Posts: 327 Solid Baller
    edited April 2018
    +1 on cold water = fast water

    My guess is the increase in surface tension is far more impactful on the skiers ability to accelerate than the negative acceleration influence of additional drag due to increased viscosity.

    Surface tension is what is pushing back on your ski as you press it against the water, the higher the tension - the harder you can push, the faster you go.

    We would have to rig a ski with a bunch of strain gauges and pressure transducers to know for sure.
  • cruznskicruznski Posts: 72 Baller
    This is fascinating to me. @scotchipman as you point out, water is slightly denser as it gets colder for example it is 0.99922 g/cm3 at 57 degF vs 0.99583 g/cm3 @85 degF- temp swings we might see. That is only 1/4 of 1% difference in density. Saltwater is MUCH denser by comparison- 1.025 g/cm3, (basically 2.5% denser) and yes boats go faster in salt, got that. @nleuth I know you have COLD water to deal with, and knowing how you ski believe you on better performance with less wing in real cold. That's what I have found although I would discount my data somewhat. And @SkiJay thanks for that informative post. Somewhere too I recall that adjusting fin and wing when water is denser (colder) it is more easy to feel/see the differences so it's a good time to be trying these things out.
  • GloersenGloersen Posts: 1,000 Mega Baller
    what @Horton stated is spot on and summarizes "perceptions" vs reality.

    However, our perceptions reign supreme, so what ever ski tuning is chosen in varying conditions, if it yields better results (preferably real in addition to perceived); go for it.

    This perennial topic epitomizes the counter-intuitive nature of this intriguing sport!
  • cruznskicruznski Posts: 72 Baller
    @scotchipman low 40s that is rigorous. Thinking about this- in the cold, real wide and early is rare to see for a lot of us as you both mention. So it seems fast. Edge changes are more stuck, the ski is not out in front as much perhaps.
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,975 Infinite Pandas
    The best scores at 34 are close to a full pass lower than at 36. Speed helps at very deep shortline. Some styles imitate deep shortline and will benefit from cold water or excess speed. Cold water and its associated speed will give this skier more time wide - and thus feel slower.

    My style, no way is the speed helpful.

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