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boats, and kids' transition to full course


Need your advice and help. I've got 3 kids, all less than 80 pounds. 2 of the 3 run the mini course (turn ball to outside boat guides) at 30 mph and up to 38 off. We've tried, unsuccessfully, to transition them to the full course at longline and down to 20 mph. Best any can get is 3. Wake on my 07 196 is brutal at 24 and below, in my opinion. I'm content with my boat other than the low speed slalom capability for this transition.

Over the years I've had 98, 99, 05 responses (CB), 05 response lxi, and a 97 SN (TSC1 bubble back). Based on my past recollection, the 05 lxi and 97 SN had the best low speed wakes. I'm considering a second boat to assist this transition. I do not want to upgrade to a newer boat for a variety of reasons.

Based on your own personal experience (not internet lore):
1) what is the best (older) low speed slalom boat?
2) do you have any suggestions for making this transition to the full course when width is so inhibited by light weights and big wakes?



  • h2onhkh2onhk Posts: 294 Crazy Baller
    @buechsr , check out this recent thread. Lots of good discussion around the very same topic.

  • buechsrbuechsr Posts: 64 Baller
    I appreciate it. I was familiar with that conversation, but it seemed as if the discussion turned to what his options were for replacing his prostar with a comparable boat. I'm keeping my 196, just wanted the best cheap option for a second cheap "transition" boat for a couple years. Unfortunately with hydrogate, tinkering with the stern not an option either. But, I'll keep watching that other thread too, thanks.
  • Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 1,632 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    Start with this:

    The wake on your ‘07 196 is fine. Some of the options you mention may be marginally smaller, but the kids need to learn to deal with wakes of all sizes and you'll be surprised how quickly kids can adapt.

    If they are having trouble with the full course at slow speeds its likely due to very small skis. At that level they should be using either a wide shaped ski or 64-65” adult slalom. If one ski start at 15mph. Better yet, keep them on 2 and you can slow down to 10-12mph so they get the concepts down.

    For slow speed/ long line, forget about the gates and have them get WAAAY wide on 1 and turn tight off 1 ball and go from there. Only when they get all 6 starting wide on 1 should you worry about the gates. Even then its fine to cheat on the gates by 5-10 ft until they get consistent.
    I'm Ancient. WTH do I know?
  • buechsrbuechsr Posts: 64 Baller

    Thanks. Great thoughts. I'll put them on Mommy's old 65" siren this weekend. They skied in their first tournament last weekend and got the bug for full course, but got real frustrated last night.

    It does appear that TSC3, with the removal of the strakes for trickers, had a very adverse effect on the low speed wake though. It is actually really big. This weekend they had new PS, txi, and SN, and while I'm not suggesting thy need a new boat, the low speed wake difference between a TSC3 and most other direct drives over the years is amazing. I never really paid much attention but watching from the boat last night it really does make a monster. That said, I agree that kids are pretty adaptable, and I'll report back.

  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,127 Mega Baller
    @buechsr - might want to point out to your one kid that he's now a Level 7 rated skier in his age group and ranked in the top 20 for his division. and to the other that he's Level 8 rated and in the top 15....
  • BrennanKMNBrennanKMN Posts: 517 Crazy Baller
    edited September 2019
    Purely answering your question: TSC1 Ski Nautique.

    My personal opinion: Getting another boat to complement your TSC3 seems like a huge waste. I'd add some balls to your course to make a true mini course and get them on bigger skis so you can go slower. Slower speeds gives you more time to go slow over the wake (regardless of its size) and build confidence.
  • buechsrbuechsr Posts: 64 Baller

    Not mine, although do have one in the top 30! I'll take it! More importantly, it was all smiles this past weekend.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,127 Mega Baller
    Man name seemed real close
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,989 Mega Baller
    Take Bruce's advice it is very good and he has developed some very good junior skiers.

    At some point a light will flip on in their head and they will figure out that they need to work hard through both wakes. My son when he was 8 was struggling to get 2 or 3 buoys at 18 or 19 mph then one night it clicked for him and he ran passes where I increased the speed one mph each pass. It was amazing.

    It is a blast watching the kids learn to ski better the rate they improve is amazing. I miss those days.
    Mark Shaffer
  • escmanazeescmanaze Posts: 751 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Here is a 97 TSC1 SNOB. Not sure how it compares to your TSC3. I can't imagine buying a second boat just for this.

    If I had a little fatter ski, I would slow him down to the speeds where I had him at 2 skis. I don't, so we are at 18 for right now. We'll see what the future brings.

    My opinion, which will ruffle a lot of feathers out there is that for kids at these kind of speeds and ages / weights, they just need to get so comfy on a ski that they see the wake as a big jump that they aren't scared of hitting big because they are SO STABLE that the jump is just part of the journey that they are trying to make FAST. Until they get really good at getting across those wakes really fast, it's tough to get clear out to the orange balls in time.
  • escmanazeescmanaze Posts: 751 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    And I'll just pre-empt all the guys who are going to come and say that we have to teach them to cut through the wakes and not to jump them. Great. Go on. Blah blah blah.

    I'm pretty sure if there ever was a tiny skier able to do it right, this kid was it, and look at the air he is catching. Sorry, physics is still undefeated. When the wake is a certain size and the kid is a certain size, it just ain't happening.

  • MNshortlinerMNshortliner Posts: 128 Baller
    He has a really early handle release also. I have noticed this with my kid. Holding the handle to long means pulling to long. Telling him to do one handlers sooner is a huge improvement and he seems to get more of a glide to the buoy. Dropping the outside hand soon after the wake forces them to get tall on the ski, get on the inside edge early, and get ready for the turn.
  • Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 1,632 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    edited September 2019
    Here's a sample of 10mph on 2 skis. 6 yo and probably 40lbs soaking wet. Yes the wakes are huge ('97 Nautique)

    IMO this approach is far better than the minicourse at faster speeds.

    I'm Ancient. WTH do I know?
  • FatrollFatroll Posts: 233 Solid Baller
    If you can get a hold of a Boy/girls 1 or 2 rope, it can make a big difference, it takes the sag out of the rope especially with these light kids going slow at long line.
    2016 Ski Nautique 200 OB 2016 Radar Vapor 69.5"
    Wish they had a bonus buoy count for increased body fat index
  • WindsurfnutWindsurfnut Posts: 114 Baller
    edited September 2019
    @buechsr I have 4 kids (2 boys, 2 girls) ranging from age 11-15 and all around that weight. We have a 2002 SN 196, so pretty similar hull. They are all varying level of skiers, but my 12 yr old son skis 6 balls no problem 29-30mph @ 15 off, and 28mph 22' off in the full course. He loves to really turn his ski, and I think that makes all the difference in getting his angle and maintaining it through the wake.
    The others are less skilled but the wake does not impede their performance, its just them learning timing, pull and turning the ski. I have skied them as low as 24-26mph, but really the sweet spot for them all is around 28mph.

    While there may be boats with less wakes at that speed, I can't say that the 196 is holding any of my kids back.

  • buechsrbuechsr Posts: 64 Baller
    fatroll, I now have a B/G 1 rope.

    esc, Thanks for the videos. I had a bubble back that I sold last spring. In looking back now at old videos and pictures, it's very clear that my 196 low speed wake is much, much bigger than the bubble back. In fact, talked to someone very reputable who confirmed that when the "real" 196 came out (TSC 2) the shaft angle was changed to improve shorter lines at the expense of longer. Not to mention weight differences and my TSC3 had the strakes removed from TSC2. Both anecdotally and physically, the TSC 3 is not a good low speed boat.

    I don't mind getting a second boat. When I know what I want, I shop hard and have experience with cosmetic and mechanical improvement and have always made money when I buy older boats, which is often. I only listed the direct drives I've used and flipped. I've done that with even more Vdrives. It's really not that hard to find good deals, do some work, use them, and profit. So, bottom line, I'm willing to buy another boat for this purpose as I've never lost, and usually make money.

    I really appreciate BRuce's suggestion on 2 skis first. I'll have a tough time selling that but I'll try. I would still appreciate some more opinions on first hand experience with the best low speed, however. TSC1 has some votes which I appreciate. early 90s MC? response? While an outboard is an idea, I have no experience with them and would like to stay in my comfort zone (not to mention have another option for me and my friends to use).
  • buechsrbuechsr Posts: 64 Baller
    wind, thx. My kids are 7, 9, and 11. The girls at 7 and 9 cannot help but get air with any significant cut at slow speeds, resulting in crashes and tears. I'm going to experiment with some different skis and try Bruce's double method, but my 196 wake is brutal getting below 26. Sure, 2 years from now could they handle it, be heavier and stronger, yes, but I'm just looking to make this transition as easily and quickly as possible since they've got some motivation right now.
  • WindsurfnutWindsurfnut Posts: 114 Baller
    Interesting comment about the TSC 1/2/3 hull transition. This is is our second year on the 02 196, coming off a 88 Prostar 190. We made alot of changes over the last 2 seasons including changing skis in the radar line from Alloy to Graphite and Lithium. I always thought the ski construction was amplifying the wake, but thinking back it may have been the transition from the Prostar to the 196. I was getting air off the 196 wake at 28mph-30mph at 15'off and found it quite hard. I was actually quite disappointed that the 196 didn't blow my mind with so many positive reviews of the boat. Funny thing I had a big summer of progression making my way from that to 32mph and up the line to 28'off. I don't even feel the wake anymore... More speed? Shorter line? Better technique?? Likely all 3. But I can't feel that bump anymore, or get launched when not on edge. No more then some really great boats I also ski behind (2017 Prostar).

    My 13yr old has a 2015 Radar TRA, my 11yr old the 2017 Radar TRA. There is a noticeable weight difference between the 2, with the 2015 being heavier. If my 13 yr old jumps on the 2017 (lighter ski) he is bounced through the wake quite a bit more.. Maybe the heavier ski is an advantage to the kids in wake crossings?

    The other kids, who are much less agressive I see struggle more with getting on edge, or pulling after the wake to try to make it to the buoy. If they can learn to get in position and pull early through the wake, they don't get bounced and make the buoys (or at least much closer to them)
  • CentCent Posts: 177 Baller
    Here is a response to your 90s MC wake question at lower speeds. This is based on using, selling, and teaching new skiers with MCs in the 80s and 90s. Perhaps this will help you.

    1986 MC is very good. Wakes on 87,88, 89, 90 are larger.

    91,92,93,94 MC are quite good.

    All these previous boats have spray at shoreline.
    95,96,97 have less spray but not better wakes at lower speeds and 15 off as 91-94.

    If I had your goal I would look for an 86 or maybe a 94 as the 94 had fuel injection.

  • h2onhkh2onhk Posts: 294 Crazy Baller
    @buechsr maybe I missed it but does you 07' TSC3 have the hydro-gate feature? I bought by 07 TSC3 used from a dealer and had them install the hydro-gate. Makes a huge difference at 36mph and slower in slalom position and cleans up the trick table when in trick position. has the complete kit for under $900.
  • buechsrbuechsr Posts: 64 Baller
    yes I have hydrogate.
  • TDLTDL Posts: 19 Baller
    I taught my four kids to ski the course behind a '98 Malibu Response. Probably the best slow speed wake in our neighborhood other than the recent Mastercrafts.
  • chrislandychrislandy Posts: 94 Baller
    To me it sounds like you just need to take your kids for some proper one to one pro tuition for a few tows. They'll nail the technique and gain confidence without getting any bad habits.

    much cheaper than buying another boat!!
  • buechsrbuechsr Posts: 64 Baller
    edited September 2019
    TDL, I agree. I used to have a 98 and its low speed wake seemed very small and clean, though never used for "this" purpose.

    chris, good idea. I'm not saying their form is perfect, but it's hard for anyone to work on form when you're getting significant air! Maybe I'll shut down the wakeboarding sets until legs become better shock absorbers?! as for boat expense, older boats are free if you buy them right!
  • buechsrbuechsr Posts: 64 Baller
    Bruce, my wife has a 65" butterknife. Think that's a good ski for kids at extreme low speeds until they can get back into their Radar TRA? Brooks or Chris?
  • Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 1,632 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    The only issue with using your wifes ski will be the need to put a small enough binding on it. Probably need an XS wiley and rtp
    I'm Ancient. WTH do I know?
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