It Takes Balance

Skoot1123Skoot1123 Posts: 2,110 Mega Baller
Have we (or I in particular) underestimated or overlooked the importance of balance on your ski?
How well are you balanced on your ski? We have all heard the comments - “when standing on your ski going down the lake the water should break in front of your front binding.” This attribute is perhaps overlooked? In the “Fin Whispering” book Jay P. discusses adjusting your front boot location so you can find the perfect balance on your ski. The fin settings/location also contribute to your balance point on the ski. Having the proper balance on your ski allows you to use the fore-body of the ski which aides in turning, ski acceleration, and ski glide on your gate setup. This is a unique and individual setting that can really impact how well your ski works for you.
Example: I am on the lighter end of the mass spectrum for my ski (160 lb on a medium C75 Denali - think the weight range is 160 - 190 lbs). Thanks to GiveGo and some coaching by @colegiacopuzzi he noticed the water was not breaking in front of my front boot coming into my offside turns. Ultimately I was having a hard time getting the water to break in front of my front binding, moving my boots around on the ski (I don’t yet have the micro just) made me either too far forward or too far backward. I just wasn’t able to get the water to break in front of my front boot and have the ski perform the way I wanted/expected. I tried to compensate by contorting and forcing some changes to my skiing with limited results. Needless to say I was getting frustrated and falling into a rut. Another way to interpret what the coaches were telling me is this - I was not balanced well on my ski. A major issue I have been having is my offside turns - wheelies, slack, pulling the handle in super high instead of down low, seeking a tight line after the turn and just having slack. Whenever I fell, it was mostly the offside turns and was a result of something being not quite right during the turn (I found myself rocking toward the “back” of the ski rather than being centered). Yesterday I made a few changes to my fin settings and “bingo” - simply standing on the ski going straight down the lake the water was breaking in front of my front binding. What a difference this made!! Greater glide speed on my gate, smoother and greater acceleration into the wakes, and the best yet - this simple change kept the ski underneath me into and through the turn (much better though a little more work might be needed). It allowed me to complete a clean and sharp arcing turn (vs a snap turn), and when the turn was complete - have a tight line to accelerate into the first wake. What a world of difference this made. Perhaps a game changer (at least to me). No longer did I feel rushed on my offside turn or try to contort my body into doing something un-natural or forced. The best description I can think of is “flowy” that @Horton has used to describe a skis character.

Moral of the story - make sure you have balance on your ski before using precious time trying to dial your fin and wing in. It will help immensely and immediately. Happy swerving!


  • WindsurfnutWindsurfnut Posts: 218 Baller
    Can you elaborate on the changes? I'm having the EXACT same issue since skiing on a new ski. So badly frustrated I had a hissy and put the ski away for the season...
  • MDB1056MDB1056 Posts: 816 Crazy Baller
    @Windsurfnut - you put it away for the season? Most of us would chose rather to ski an extra 3 sets a day to work it out
  • Skoot1123Skoot1123 Posts: 2,110 Mega Baller
    @Windsurfnut - the biggest change on my fin was moving the DFT from .875 to 1.20. This is a very drastic change but came from a very reliable source for the Denali - @AdamCord. As soon as I got up out of the water and was on plane with my ski I could see the water breaking in front of my front boot.

    I was on the low end of the weight spectrum so I knew I had to make some change to get my balance back. The settings before that weren’t bad, I was just having issues with rocking back on the ski on the offside. See attached pictures.
    Before change:

    After change:

  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,619 Crazy Baller
    This is very telling as to my abilities, but does any one else face this problem? The problem being that I can make ski adjustments (bindings or fin) and see improvements such as above. Then within a few sets the problems ( or similar) arise again. It's just that inevitably I will fall back into the area that my body was become accustom to. Very frustrating. Again embarrassing to admit.
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
  • Skoot1123Skoot1123 Posts: 2,110 Mega Baller
    @LeonL - here is the way I look at it. If you can feel the changes to the ski when you make an adjustment, that is a good thing. You can use the adjustments as tools to help your skiing and as you progress you will inevitably need to make some additional adjustments. When I find myself not skiing the way I want (bad form, lazy turns, overturning, pulling too long) then I have to go to the basics. Drop down to a pass you rarely miss and focus on clean passes (ie: good body position through the wake, eyes down course at the turn, keeping the handle down low). Slowing down your thought process can also “give” you more time. You have more time than you think you do - that is a hard thing for me to put into practice as well. Coaching sessions also help big time!
  • SethroSethro Posts: 343 Crazy Baller
    edited September 9
    I was just messing with binding placement last weekend. I ended up moving one hole forward in a quest to do exactly what you're talking about. Didn't really help though, water still doesn't break in front of the front binding even when I over exaggerate and ski straight behind the boat trying to do it. Even taking my rear foot out of the RTP and skiing entirely on my front foot didn't yield water breaking in front of my front foot. I'll have to try a similar fin change. I'm just not a fin tuning type of guy. I set it to stock settings nearly 6 years ago and haven't change it since. I've verified a few times it hasn't moved least.
  • Skoot1123Skoot1123 Posts: 2,110 Mega Baller
    @sethro - where are you in relation to the weight range on the ski: lower or higher? Double check the measurement from the back of your front binding to the tail of your ski. What is the wing angle on your fin? That also has an impact on where the water breaks on your ski too. If your front boot is stock then I would move the fin forward (increase DFT) and maybe decrease the length and fin depth a little. You might see a dramatic improvement - and I’ll be the first to admit that I still need to work on my form/technique quite a bit!
  • SethroSethro Posts: 343 Crazy Baller
    edited September 9
    I’m maxed out for the weight range. About 230lbs or so. This is a typical stance for me I’d say. I’ve always concluded it’s my technique and not my fin that’s the problem. But of course that’s without trying different fin settings.

  • VONMANVONMAN Posts: 260 Crazy Baller
    @Skoot1123 This is from a discussion about balance......When setting up a new ski, always start with stock numbers. Your next move is front boot forward or back. Typically/historically for me the move has been forward. A fin change may change the boot placement but its rare for me. But one the things I look for in the final setup if things are not feeling right, where is the rear side profile rocker break in relation to my boots. On my ski's I will mark it with a marker. To far back, tip bite. To far forward, tail riding. For me that mark falls between my front boot and rear toe plate. Just something I've found over the years. Centered over you ski like a balance board on pipe.

    Keep in mind that onside turns are called heel side and offside turns are called toe side. So you have to engage the tip of the ski to turn on the offside by reaching and having your body mass centered or slightly forward. Think excelerator pedal with your front foot. You paid for the whole ski and now is the time to use it. Hope it helps.
    Ernie Schlager

    A Good One Ball Gives You Six
  • Vernon ReeveVernon Reeve Posts: 80 Baller
    @Sethro maybe you could try increasing the angle of your front ankle bend, so your front knee is more bent, which should put more weight over the front of your ski. From this picture it looks like your front knee is fairly straight and your back knee is bent. I think @Horton had a video/post about straightening the back leg to get more weight over the front.
  • swbcaswbca Posts: 408 Baller
    edited September 12
    Some skis won't break the water in front of the front binding . . . unless they are on an edge.

    Andy Mapple's setup for each pass always has the tip in the air; it doesn't break water ahead of the binding until he starts his turn to the first gate.

    My D3 EVO I have has a lot of rocker behind the front binding. Even when I am forward on the ski, its not inclined to ride -tip-down- until its on an edge.

    But its not just the ski . . unlike most of the top skiers today, Andy isn't moving forward when he's riding flat before starting his turn to the gate.

    Making no comparison except for the tip-up attitude of the skis. In both images, the skier could be further forward, but my 67" D3 EVO at 32mph tends to be tip up unless on edge.
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