Thinking about my deep water start

vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 917 Crazy Baller
I've been doing deep water starts for about 30 years and haven't changed much. About my only change is that I let myself get rolled over the ski a bit more instead of stupidly fighting the boat. Lately I've had two failed attempts that resulted in the handle popping into the ski. I've looked hard at the ski and it looks fine but now I'm worried the next will damage the ski.

This got me thinking, how could I improve my starts. One small thing I've noticed is that I put the rope in the right side though I'm right foot forward. Could this be a problem with the handle pop? Any other ideas are welcome.


  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,968 Mega Baller
    That's super weird about your rope to right RFF.

    I stopped fighting the boat when I figured out that I could push my hips up to the handle way earlier in the pull than you'd expect. Sort of the stack version if a deep water starting.
  • Ed_JohnsonEd_Johnson Posts: 2,297
    First, rope on the left side of the ski for RFF. Suggest telling the driver "IN GEAR", this will start a little drag that will straighten the ski out. Next tell the Driver "OK" or Hit It, take a deep breath, knees towards chest, and when the pull comes on push your right foot forward to resist the pull, which also places the fatter part of the ski in front of you and helps to pop you up out of the water.
    Ten run the course 6 times, get in the boat, and have a cold IPA !!!

    Special Thanks to Performance Ski and Surf and the Denali Adam's !!!
  • Stevie BoyStevie Boy Posts: 2,307 ★★★★Quad Panda Award Recipient ★★★★
    @BraceMaker I am also RFF and start with the rope on the right , the other side makes it difficult for me, the downside of putting the rope on the right is that it chews your hadle rope up.

    Addicted To Carbon Fibre

  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 3,399 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Here’s something to try: tighten your core as you come under load. It makes a both-feet-in deep water start on a trick ski much easier.
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
  • thagerthager Posts: 5,385 Mega Baller
    The kind of handle that you use can effect how hard a handle pop is going to be on your ski. Handles with obvious capping outside the rope attach point are tough on the ski as they have a distinct impact surface. Handles with soft plastic that runs around handle ends and down the sides to the yoke Y-point have less distinct impact points. Another option is Don't let go!
    Stir vigorously then leave!
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 917 Crazy Baller
    I didn't have a failed start once last year and am usually automatic. Maybe there's something I changed in the off season without knowing it.
  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 1,256 Mega Baller
    I say, if you're used to the handle on the right side then leave it. Biggest downside to that is you may chew up the rope a little with it dragging along the side of ski. If you're popping the handle, you either have the ski too vertical, or the driver is giving you too much gas. Pull ups are as much driver as skier. Try a little more gentle acceleration, and getting the ski flatter sooner.
  • JmoskiJmoski Posts: 408 Solid Baller
    I am always tuning my deep water starts to save my back. Here is my list of things to think about.

    1. Let the ski lean left if you are LFF, vice verse for RFF. Note, just the ski not your upper body.
    2. Knees together
    3. Put the handle down by bindings - this helps hold a tight ball position with your chest over your knees
    4. As the boat goes suck your rear foot under your butt and push on the front foot just enough to hold the ski at a 30 degree angle to the surface.
    5. Keep your butt down until the ski planes.
    6. +1 on @Ipskier’s strong core comment. Flex like the Incredible Hulk and hold!

    When I get these lined up my deep water starts with both feet in are effortless.
  • B_SB_S Posts: 286 Crazy Baller
    Do you have a new ski and/or vest? Non CG tournament vests in particular make you sit lower in the water, making things a bit more challenging.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,968 Mega Baller
    So @vtmecheng do you have trouble if the boat is facing away to the right vs left? My dad used to do the same rope across ski stuff and then it was always him telling you to adjust the direction of the boat. I personally like hard angle pull ups ie. Boat not going away from me because it prevents some of the initial hammer then accelerates really quick as you come behind the hull, but I don't think I could get a pull to the right if the rope was on the right side.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    If the handle isn’t s popping make sure you have the tail of the ski tucked up under you.

    We have a friend who is LFF and gets up with the rope on the left side of the ski. We have tried to change him but he can’t get up the regular way.

    I would focus on making sure the ski isn’t plowing through the water and tightening your core as @lpskier suggests.

    For me 1 foot in is much easier but obviously not an option with double boots.
    Mark Shaffer
  • OldboyIIOldboyII Posts: 697 Crazy Baller
    My 2c.
    If you look at the water - you swim with the fish.
    If you look at the boat - you ski with the boat.
    My start become as easy as a breath after I stopped overload myself with lot of details:
    I float in the water fully relaxed before rope gets straight.
    Then I say -go!
    And in the moment before driver reacts I pull knees to chest as hard as possible. Not before.
    For me the key thing is - Look In The Boat Mirror. This makes my body balanced and properly oriented.

  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 917 Crazy Baller
    edited July 2018
    Grabbed an old ski this morning and gave things a try, after a ride of course. Four tries with the rope to the left and no dice. Ski keeps dancing around like I have no control. Flipped to the right again and popped up. I did try to look at the rope when it is on the right and, while the ski maybe touches it a couple times on the way up, the ski doesn't rest against the rope. Guess it's just how my body does things. I think the failures were due to me not rolling up onto the ski, instead plowing like a few of you said. Thinking more about it, the failures were always either a couple days into a week long skication or during the last run or two in a second set. I'm getting lazy when tired and need to work out more.
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 917 Crazy Baller
    To be honest, it was my wife that pointed out my less than spry state during the failures. I'm not always good at admitting or remembering my physical limitations.
  • bajabaja Posts: 250 Baller
    A change in your swim suit can screw you up if the legs are scooping water and the suit has no stretch. Hurley Phantom and other brands with stretch make it easier on low your low back. By the way... thinking about it rarely helps after 30 years.
  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 1,256 Mega Baller
    One thing that catches me occasionally, if I let my right knee (right back foot) open up, that will create drag that makes it hard to hold on. Make sure to keep that rear foot knee in toward the front leg.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    For long time skiers this topic does somewhat mystify me. It may be because I get up with one foot in which is easier on you body. I don’t have to think about techniques. About 10 years ago when we started skiing tournaments I got up about 5 times with both feet in and I definitely had to think about it and it was a struggle. I think I missed my 6th and went back to getting up with one foot.
    Mark Shaffer
  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 1,256 Mega Baller
    @Chef23 I learned with both feet in. I have considered learning to drag a foot, but we ski enough tight setups where you are pulling out as soon as you're time to work that rear foot in.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    @ScottScott we have a couple of very short setups also but you would be surprised how quickly you can get your foot in. I kick in well before the boat is up to speed.

    If I had always gotten up with both feet in I wouldn’t change though.
    Mark Shaffer
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 917 Crazy Baller
    edited August 2019
    A year later and my deep water start has come back to bite me. I'm still getting up with the rope to the right, RFF. Yesterday I noticed that my ski has delaminated over a 2" long section near the tip. At first I thought it may have been a handle pop but it really looks like something rubbed hard enough against the side to pull things apart. It's totally fixable with some marine JB weld, sitting with the clamps curing now, but something has to change.

    When you teach someone to deep water start and they have issues keeping the ski from wobbling all over, what do you tell them to do? I have no issues with the rope to the right so I'm thinking it's a stance or foot pressure thing. Any advice is much appreciated.
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 917 Crazy Baller
    And maybe a good starting question. Is it even possible to delaminate a ski just by it rubbing against the rope during the start?
  • Fam-manFam-man Posts: 215 Solid Baller
    edited August 2019
    When working with someone new I typically
    1) Have them think about what their steps are to be successful. Positive mindset
    2) Relaxed position until the boat starts to pull them in idle
    3) Driver pulls skier at idle until skier says to go. This give the skier more time to get set into a stable position before power is applied. If the skier is wobbly at this point the ski is likely too vertical and pushing too much water. Back foot tucked close to bum, front foot slightly ahead to give ski some climb angle. Skier force should be applied mostly through ball of front foot
    4) When skier says to go they take a big breath and tighten their core. On go driver pauses for 1 second then gradually applies power.
  • 2Valve2Valve Posts: 428 Crazy Baller
    My starts are easy and consistent once I started:
    1. Be totally relaxed with the rope getting tight
    2. When I tell the driver to go, I bring my knees tight into my chest
    3. As I start to move, I let my chest fall forward. I try and let it happen naturally
    4. I start pressing down with my legs, as I come out of the water
  • A_BA_B Posts: 4,346 Mega Baller
    Handle pops on starts will do some damage on these new lighter skis. (I nearly snapped the first 6' of a ski off and cracked another at the tip).

    Do as @Ed_Johnson says and put the handle on your instep of forward foot.
    Rolls to the left are death, so lean a little to the right or have right arm pressure over left. Both palms facing down. Hold the handle low in the water and tense up your core and push on the front foot to "flatten" the ski so it doesn't form a huge wall of water in front of you.

    I follow Ed and say in gear, get a light drag and then go, probably within 2 seconds of gear. You can't wait too long or the ski will dodge left and right as you are pushing water in front of you, which could bring on the death roll left.

    Also, make sure the driver just doesn't "HIT IT". The driver needs to ease into the power gradually versus just dropping the hammer. Eventually you will workout how much is too slow and too fast.

  • OldboyIIOldboyII Posts: 697 Crazy Baller
    edited August 2019
    I never had a luxury to negotiate with driver the best way how to start - always ski with different drivers/boats.
    Therefore needed to go deeper into physics of forces and hydrodynamics which appear during the start. Once understood this, starts became the same no matter of speed, boat and driver.
    In fact when you understand interaction between water and the ski start becomes as easy as a breath.
  • S1PittsS1Pitts Posts: 339 Crazy Baller
    @baja Is definitely on to something. With the mornings getting cooler @ 8am I put on an old shorty suit that was a bit loose on the legs and missed 6 tries in a row!
    43yrs of skiing dbl boots I have not missed a deep start in so many yrs I cannot remember that last time. Tossed the suit and ta da back on track.
    +1 on what you wear can affect starts.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,968 Mega Baller
    I'm with @OldboyII - I have a way that gets me up no matter how firm and if I get a really soft one I just have to make sure I hold the handle.
  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 1,256 Mega Baller
    I was struggling a little when I changed boots last year, having never had issues before. I went through many different things to think about, now I'm having the most success just thinking about getting weight on the left edge of the ski, being LFF, as soon as boat starts. If I focus on that nothing else really matters.
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 917 Crazy Baller
    I haven't had a handle pop on start since the original post a year ago. Now I'm more worried about the rope damaging the ski on successful starts. Going to work on getting up with the rope on the left side tomorrow.
  • elrelr Posts: 354 Mega Baller
    Keep the ski in front of you. . .
    Ed Rink - LSF Texas
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