6'3" 290 lbs, Need advice

BionaraqBionaraq Posts: 15 Baller
edited September 2021 in Skis Fins Bindings
Alright guys, I have done a ton of lurking here trying to find a solution/information so this is going to be long.
TL/DR fat guy wants to ski too, open water. Cant get up single. Looking for advice on a ski to get me up.
I'll also be posting for my wife as her ski is 20 years old and the fiberglass looks like it's about to crack in many places.

Every time I think i'm going to go Big Daddy, Or Butterknife, no Union, no Session. etc.. I doubt myself.

I ski'd combo as a kid but never really enjoyed it, compared to kneeboarding (36 now). Recently just moved closer to my Father in law and we go skiing every sunday. I love combo but dream of slalom.
BOAT: 1995 Ski Nautique Body Glove Edition.

He's got all the boat I should need to get up. And I can do fine on combo's and have a blast. But the moment I drop a ski (so far 7 or 8 times) I usually wipe out so hard that I do not feel like trying again for the day. My FIL learned by dropping a ski, as did my wife and his two son's. My dad never could (5'10") and just sucked it up behind our 1991 Supra until he could hold his breath long enough to get up. This caused him to pop a bicep and sprain an ankle before he gave up around 2003.

I'm sick of trying to drop a ski and wiping out. I'm doing all I can to lose weight and seeing progress, but my eye is on next season. Even best case i drop to 250 lbs. I'm out of the "range" most manufacturers provide.

We ski open water. Lake Wylie SC. We wait for one of the local ski groups to finish up their morning then use the cove so it's usually fairly flat still, before the surf boats arrive. My FIL has tried to pull me a slow start but that does not work, and if he tries a strong pull, the ski turns on me. (if I'm doing a slalom deep water start).

I see that Radar dropped the butterknife. I can find a 69" BK at PerfSki, though I am not sure it's big enough?
It appears that the Big Daddy does not get a ton of love here.
i've been unable to find a Hovercraft and I'm not sure it's the "ski" for me. Seems more play and less turn.

The new Radar series leads me to think of finding a 71" Session. maybe? I've honestly never heard of Radar until this board. We always ski'd Connelly. and my in laws are O'brien people (after Connelly). Wife is on an O'brien Maple ski.

side note: my dad dreams of getting back into the water and I think a Butterknife may be the key for him to not submarine for miles and get out. I have a 2015 AR240 Yamaha i can practice on off days behind and feel like the BK may work behind this boat as well. It is not critical though as ski'ing with the nautique is my main goal.



  • MastercrafterMastercrafter Posts: 388 Crazy Baller
    I have a friend's 71" Butterknife to get rid of. He's 280-ish and could get up relatively easy on it. Skiing was inhibiting his golf game, so it's not seeing use anymore. Has Radar size 10-14 double soft boots. Text me if interested, 248 798 1958
  • marknmarkn Posts: 529 Mega Baller
    Good for you for going after your passion. First, one reason you may be wiping out dropping a ski is you go to 1/2 the surface area more than likely at the combi speed. You will need to increase speed prior to dropping. Also, drop in the curl on the side you will be dropping the outside ski. Secondly, to aid in trying to get up on slalom, yep, a large ski will help, but also use a "get-it-up" handle. It will keep the ski going straight. Good luck at keep at it.
  • ReallyGottaSkiReallyGottaSki Posts: 316 Crazy Baller
    edited September 2021
    My witnessing suggests that long butterknife is the ticket but a VERY slow throttle is clutch.
    mash it and there is too much power with not enough time to rise up that much mass out of the water, so it all drags until sproing goes the handle
  • BionaraqBionaraq Posts: 15 Baller
    edited September 2021
    @markn can you clarify what a "get-it-up" handle is? We've just always used a Connelly Proline floating handle and line.

    @Mastercrafter I'm going to text you later today.
  • S1PittsS1Pitts Posts: 392 Crazy Baller
    Years back I had a guy get back to skiing with me. He was 6ft 6in and a bit over 300lbs. He bought a 70 + inch HO Triumph and with proper throttle management he was popping out of the water in no time. I used my barefoot boom to give him some on the water time so once he was up it was familiar. Initially I also used a10 ft pole pylon extension to give a higher pull to help with the deep water starts until he was consistently nailing them.
    Hope you have a successful 2022 season.
  • ClydesdaleClydesdale Posts: 309 Crazy Baller
    @Bionaraq agree with @markn suggestion of get up handle. You ski actually goes into the handle bridle as you’re getting up and keeps the ski straight. I’ll see if I can find a link. Some of today’s wide combos absolutely suck for slalom. My son tried for a year and kept tipping over. Then put him on a traditional set of combos and he got it first try. Throttle management also key. For a big guy on a big ski you’d think you need to really nail it, but actually the opposite. With that much surface area the boat will yank the rope right out of your hands.
  • JayG80JayG80 Posts: 197 Baller
    https://www.perfski.com/ho-15-elite-deep-v-handle.html Is the style handle

    Buy a used big daddy https://www.ebay.com/itm/CONNELLY-69-BIG-DADDY-SLALOM-WATER-SKI-EXCELLENT-SHAPE-ESCAPE-SERIES-/384403495897?mkcid=16&mkevt=1&_trksid=p2349624.m46890.l49286&mkrid=711-127632-2357-0

    You will be slalom skiing quicker than you expect. Once you master deep water starts you can buy a narrower ski and give your dad the wide ride.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 5,134 Mega Baller
    I love our HO Hovercraft but it is not a rip through the wakes ski, it is a tool around outside the wakes ski or behind jetskis, jetboats, pontoon boats, cable park etc.

    You will get up on it and I now do not try people on combos I just put them on the hovercraft, I am shopping for the 65" now so if anyone has one for sale - message me.
  • ski6jonesski6jones Posts: 1,318 Mega Baller
    Keep after your weight loss goals. Every pound you lose will translate directly to more fun on the water and less likelihood of injury. Several years ago I dropped 20 pounds and the difference was night and day.
    Carl Addington, Cedar Ridge, MS
  • BionaraqBionaraq Posts: 15 Baller
    I find it odd that there is not a quote button.

    @Clydesdale The combo's I'm on are from the 90's.; EP brand :smiley: I'm also skiing one of them and then a 68" Connelly (I forget the model etc) Trying to drop the combo to go to the slalom. (rather than purely the combo set).
  • mike_mapplemike_mapple Posts: 272 Water Ski Industry Professional
    The session would be a great option.

    Advice from a fellow big guy at 6'8 300

    I have tried all the "big guy" skis in my life.

    Hovercraft is by far the easiest ski to get up on, but with that width is the lack of turning speed compared to a traditional shape.
    [email protected]
    [email protected]

    If you have a blister, pop it, pour some lemon juice on it, and then add salt. -Andy Mapple
  • marknmarkn Posts: 529 Mega Baller
    @Bionaraq my apologies! We jokingly call the handle @Clydesdale and @JayG80 referred to as a "get-it-up" handle. We have used this type of handle for years teaching people to slalom. Another expensive but effective training device is a boom. When teaching people to slalom, we start by letting them "lift" or unweigh the ski they will drop...just learning to balance on one ski. Unweigh, back to equal weight, unweigh and so on. You can do this long line or better yet, on the boom. Then we put the ez-up handle on the boom and practice getting up with just the handle section. After more practice, use the ez-up handle at long line. Keep at it! You will succeed! Good luck.
  • DHskiDHski Posts: 25 Baller
    Keep it up with the weight loss.

    In my experience, common errors/misconceptions causing failed deep water starts:

    - driver hitting throttle way too hard. You want a very slow gradual pull, probably slower than you can imagine. I always see skiers having this problem thinking they need a faster/harder pull but then having much greater success getting up with a slower softer pull.
    - vertical ski / weight on the back foot. This will result in a deadlift tug of war battle with the boat which you will not win. You want your body curled up into a tight ball, knees to your chest, and your back heel pulling up toward your butt to remove the weight from your back foot, putting ski at roughly 45 degree forward angle so that as the load from the boat increases you start going forward and upward.
    - bent elbows trying to pull handle toward you. Keep your arms out straight!

    After that it's an act of balancing on your front foot while curled into a ball until you gain enough speed to stand up. Good luck!
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,899 Mega Baller
    I'm 6'5" and have been as much as 260 lbs. 245 now, but agree with above. I've had drivers think I need to get hammered out of the hole. I actually prefer a nice gradual roll up of the throttle.

    Something like a Session, Hovercraft, Butterknife, etc would be great to help you progress to getting up and carving a bit. If you do lose a little weight and really commit to skiing, I think you'll find those skis a little boring after a while. I'm actually selling a 71" 2019 Senate Lithium if you have aspirations of getting a bit more aggressive. It won't be quite as easy to get up on as a Hovercraft, but it's the easiest ski I've owned in a long time for holeshots. PM me if you're interested.
    boats are like girlfriends you love them however there is another one around the corner - bananaron, July 21, 2020
  • RednucleusRednucleus Posts: 819 Mega Baller
    A boom is a great learning tool and greatly lessens those wonderful wipe outs associated with dropping a ski. Another benefit is spotter in boat can talk to you and give advise on the boom.
  • A_BA_B Posts: 4,422 Mega Baller
    edited September 2021
    @Bionaraq one of the problems that I have seen people trying to drop is they want to immediately put their foot in the rear toe plate. This upsets their balance and down they go. I have them drop the ski and actually keep their barefoot off to the side of the single ski for a while and you will easily keep your balance and can gradually transfer to the slalom. Most of your weight will stay on the ski, but the foot out to the side just helps balance. Also, there is really not a need to stuff it into the toe plate, and you can just put it on top the toe plate with toes in front or behind it, and if you feel like you are losing your balance, just put that barefoot out to the side and you will see how it immediately balances you out. Once you feel totally in control, then stuff the toes in the RTP.

    I would also stress that the posture should be good and handle kept low at waist level with arms straight.

    And on the slalom start, I think I qualify as a bigger guy, having skied at 285 and currently 260, the key is to push your toes on the front foot down so you don't have a 90 degree bend in your front ankle. A wider ski will push a bigger wall of water if you do not get the tip held down in this position. A firm rolling down of the throttle is better than just dropping the hammer. Too little is not good either, as you will not get lift and will run out of air!

    Good luck with your addiction..
  • jjackkrashjjackkrash Posts: 1,129 Mega Baller
    I'll defer on the hovercraft vs. big daddy, but if you cut a bit for next season I would think a 71" Radar Union or preferably a Senate would be the ticket. I've been very heavy before, so I know cutting weight is hard, but @ 250 to 260/65 I think you could be pretty comfortable on a 71" higher end ski like a Senate. 25 to 40 lbs. is hard but doable during an offseason.
  • SethroSethro Posts: 358 Crazy Baller
    A couple of weeks ago, I skied a 67” Radar Union at 6’5” and currently about 235. Compared to my 69.5” Vapor, I was pleasantly surprised. So much so I’d love to try a 69” with my own bindings. I think I’d choose the Union, as you’ll be able to progress faster in my opinion. Those huge shaped skis are good for getting up and going straight. Worst case scenario use a drop ski till your back in the swing of things.
  • JDskiNECAJDskiNECA Posts: 37 Baller
    The ski, handle, and driver have been talked about and some touched on another issue but did not elaborate, strength. After I have spent the last 15 years as a runner I returned to the gym wit a focus on strength for skiing water and snow. The exercises I like are squats, dead lift, and shoulder shrugs (shoulders to ears). I do the dead lift and shrugs slowly as if I am getting up from a deep water start or making a cut and hold until I am making the next turn (6-8) seconds.

    These exercises are not only great for the legs and low back but they build hand strength also. These exercise have made it much easier for me to get out of the water even at 57 years old and multiple tendon transfers in my left arm. Then add cardio so you can hold your breath long enough so the spray is no longer in your face and you can take a breath. Putting together all of the above mentioned information from the other Ballers plus specific strength exercises and weight loss you will be successful.
  • BionaraqBionaraq Posts: 15 Baller
    edited September 2021
    @JDskiNECA Thanks for the post. I avoided talking about it since my post had gone long enough already. I've worked out the last three years strength wise. To the point where if I do let go of the rope the handle is going over the driver's head. Currently I do lat pull downs, Rear dealt swings, hammer twist curl (for tendon strength), LIGHT bicep curls, light tricep extensions, and cable chest pulls (mimic rope pull), etc mostly for upper back strength. ( I have a full rack in my office with cable machine.) (and sit ups)

    I"m also running at least 3 miles to 5 miles x three times a week. I know I need to add squats and deadlift back in but currently running out of time for the week. I have "tennis elbow" in my left arm that just will not quit. It's been nearly 6 months since it started while doing HIIT workouts (Burn Boot Camp). I miss burn but cold not deal with the near constant flare ups of the tendonitis. So I'm trying to concentrate on exercises that do not flare the tendon but strengthen the muscles around it.

    Several years ago i struggled to get up on combo's even, and realized a lot of it had to do with body strength. I've been working out ever since with varied success.

    Dad actually got into skiing after reading an article circa 1990 about skiing helping with back pain. A doctor had told him he'd never be able to pick up my sister or me in the 80's again due to disc damage. Skiing strengthened his back enough to do all the things he wanted to again.

    I just want to say thank you to everyone for your advice. Forum's can be so hit or miss nowadays. Seems like this is one of the good ones where advice is freely given. And it looks like minimal arguing over what the advice needs to be as well. Thanks.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 7,054 Mega Baller
    I've never seen a ski boat take more than 5 seconds to bring *anyone* to a full upright position, so I'm wondering if the comments related to holding breath are hinting at something else being wrong?
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • JayG80JayG80 Posts: 197 Baller
  • BionaraqBionaraq Posts: 15 Baller
    edited September 2021
    @Than_Bogan Dad used to disappear completely below the water surface for 100' before the boat got him fast enough to ride up on the water. In his words "50% of my run was just getting the damn boots on, 25% of it was getting up, then 25% of the effort left for the run." Granted this was a 1991 supra, not a more modern FI boat. (the ski nautique pulls considerably harder in my opinion.)
  • BionaraqBionaraq Posts: 15 Baller
    @JayG80 I literally imediately bought the tool that he shows. I've tried several different excersizes so i'm ready for anything if it might help.
  • Skoot1123Skoot1123 Posts: 2,171 Mega Baller
    For your golfers elbow - get a bigger diameter handle. The more you try to squeeze that handle the more you will be stressing those tendons. The bigger diameter definitely helped me with golfers elbow.
  • KRoundyKRoundy Posts: 618 Crazy Baller
    edited September 2021
    A couple of thoughts:
    1. If you have access to a boom you should try it. It adds stability so that you can feel the right balance you need to stay up on a single ski. Just a one or two sessions should be plenty. Once that muscle memory is there you can move to a short 5' rope off the boom and then try behind the boat. You'll be amazed at how quickly the boom can help you progress.
    2. Keep at it. I've not been as big as you but not far off. I've probably skied at around 260-265 at my heaviest and I was able to get up, both feet in double boots, on a 71" Radar Senate. I've lost enough that I'm on a 69" Senate now, but just keep at it. Lose weight, keep exercising and keep skiing. It is worth it.
    3. On getting up - if you are using a rear kicker keep your rear leg out when getting up. It is a lot easier this way. Arms straight, front knee between your arms. Let that front knee compress all the way to your chest between your arms and use the back leg like a rudder.
    4. Get a pair a clincher-style gloves, the ones with the strap that helps you hang onto the rope. MasterLine, HO and Radar all make them (I prefer the MasterLines, but they all work). This will really help save your forearms and help your fingers get through the load that is required to get you up and out of the water.
  • swbcaswbca Posts: 737 Crazy Baller
    edited September 2021
    Even though I had skied in competition for decades with regional records and national titles, I went through the same struggles last year after a 15 year gap since my last ski. Also was 75 years old. I had regained my strength with land training but my muscle memory for skiing was 90% gone.

    After you get your new slalom ski, I recommend that you ski with a second ski a few times. Lift the extra ski for short intervals and practice shifting left and right without crossing the wake. (be careful not to drop the tip of the extra ski ) Do this until you are very comfortable with your weight on the slalom ski. Then drop the extra ski. As someone else suggested just rest your free foot behind your front foot without trying to kick it into the toe piece initially. After you are sure of your balance, then kick into the toe piece.

    Its debatable whether it easier to get up with 1 or both feet in bindings, but its a certainty that both feet-in requires much more strength-to-weight and makes the throttle-rate much more important. You may find its easier with 1 foot in. Bend your knee to your chest and extend your free leg behind. Regarding both feet in, even at 165 pounds, it was all I could do to hold onto the rope with both feet in for a couple of weeks and throttle rate was critical. In my case it was hard to get the driver to throttle up fast enough to get past the point where the drag is the greatest. People say to keep your weight forward but its easier said than done.

    That's why 1 foot in might be the better choice initially.

    Its all worth it . . have fun !
    Home of the world's first submersible slalom course
  • JoepruncJoeprunc Posts: 315 Baller
    Love the commitment. We have a skier in our group that had troubles getting up on a traditional ski. He now skis on a Connelly Big Easy and has no issue with getting up.

    x100 on driver not hammering the throttle. I've also helped folks getup skiing by having them sit of 2 or 3 orange life vests, this helps keep the bum and rest of the body closer to the surface of the water.
  • escmanazeescmanaze Posts: 944 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    One thing I've noticed about slalom: No one size fits all. There are a bunch of different methods and tons is personal preference. Some, however, is basic physics and is not disputable.

    For the items of preference, I recommend you give a pretty significant amount of tries to different methods to find out which one you like better. The first and foremost example is whether to go easy on the gas or whether to hit it hard. My background in wakeboarding has led me to the conclusion that in todays world of modern wide skis and direct drive boats with lots of bottom end torque, way too many people are sitting here dragging in the water for 20 feet FOR NOTHING!! When you have this much ski surface area and this much engine power, it really is possible to "simply stand up" and not spend any time at all dragging through the water. Simply feel the pull of the rope, use it to pull your body up on the ski, and by the time you're up, the ski is on top of the water and you're skiing. I'm not saying it will work for everybody, but when you get the hang of it, it is the most ridiculously easy on your body thing in the world. Yes I understand, I am way outvoted on this one, but again, it's a personal preference, so I'm not necessarily wrong.

    Another item of preference is getting up with your back foot in or out. Give lots of tries to both ways to see which way your body prefers.

    Another preference is just how curled up in a ball you get. I find this to be proportional with how much gas you are going to give it. If you are going to hammer the gas, then don't curl up as much. If you are going easy on the gas, then get curled up more.

    Amount of pressure on front vs. back foot I also find to be a preference thing. Lots of tries both ways.

    V rope is a no-brainer as mentioned above. Get one.

    Get a hovercraft. Don't worry about how it skis once you are up. Worry about the fact that you actually got up!! Keep the horse in front of the cart. Getting up is job 1. After a year or 2 of practice getting up on it, then maybe you keep going to skinnier and skinnier skis. Skis hold their value pretty well, so don't be too afraid of buying and selling often.

    If you can get behind a boom, it is definitely the easiest way to learn.

    Second easiest is if you can get a tall pole or tower. The physics of the upward pull from the higher tow point help a lot.

    Here's a crazy final thought. One thing I love about drysuit weather is that the way my BARE Ultra Dry drysuit works, tons of air gets trapped in it, and I'm already halfway out of the water getting up. If desperate times call for desperate measures, this is one more tool in your belt.

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