Deep start advice

kirkbauerkirkbauer Posts: 59 Baller
I feel like some backstory would be helpful here. I grew up skiing -- never on a course, but lots of time on a slalom ski. Once I learned, I never had issues with deep starts. Then, over the past 20 years, I was only able to ski occasionally, and although I had some challenges with deep starts after not skiing for a while, I'd eventually figure it out.

Well, now, I'm finally living my dream. On a lake full time, with a proper ski boat, and great weather. And I'm having major issues with deep starts. There are definitely a lot of factors: I'm older, I'm more out of shape since Covid, I'm more overweight since Covid (at 210# about 30lb overweight), a brand new ski, a brand new boat, and a brand new driver.

My ski is a 71" "easy start" ski for skiers up to 250#, and as far I can tell that's as big as they get. I'm working hard at losing weight and getting back into shape, but that won't happen overnight. And, frankly, skiing regularly is part of my plan for that. Over the past month, I've made about 50 deep start attempts with no success (mostly being unable to hold onto the rope, but sometimes going over the front). I also tried out a Cape Reamol harness that puts half of the force onto my waist though a clever pully system -- not great for skiing but great for deep starts. I have got up quite a few times with that system -- a few times it has been really easy and I got right up, a few times it has been really hard and I struggled up thanks to the harness, but most of the time even with half of the force, I still don't make it up. Interesting case in point: one time I had my driver go to immediate full throttle and I leaned back and held on with the harness. The 450lb-breaking-force safety link snapped. So I don't think leaning back and holding on and letting the boat do all of the work is a feasible plan.

For now, if the water is nice, I get up on doubles and drop a ski. If the water isn't nice, I go out there and try deep starts. Just a few days ago, I finally got up without the harness on a deep start and it was a bit of a struggle and I made it up.

OK -- question time. I'm almost certain the issue is a combination of my technique and the driver/boat. Despite not being in shape and being overweight, I know I can get up on a deep start, so my strength, weight, and ski size is sufficient, even if it isn't ideal.

For the boat: I grew up a boat with a 110hp outboard, and now I have a Prostar with a 4.2L engine. When I was a kid, I leaned way forward and tucked into a ball and slowly was dragged up to the surface. But that doesn't work with this boat. In fact, if I lean forward at all, I go right over the front. But, if I lean back too much, I drag in the water and can't hold on.

For all of my near-successful attempts (and my one successful attempt), here is what I did: ski at about a 45 degree angle, back foot tucked up to my butt, arms straight, back straight but not leaning way back, and the driver does a gradual application of power over about 2 seconds (as opposed to flooring it). But even with what I think is a good technique and position, most of the time I'm either over the front, or dragging too much and can't hold on.

So, is there anything obvious I'm missing? Any tips out there for my driver (who has never driven a Prostar before)? I know a lot of skiers value the powerful motor, but at least at my current weight, it seems impossible to hold on for a deep start at full throttle.



  • buechsrbuechsr Posts: 202 Baller
    Last line is the giveaway. Wide open from a 6.2 is WAY too much gas. Before I even saw that line I was already thinking that your driver is gassing you too hard, and if he's coming even close to flooring it, that's way way too much, even if he's gradual for 2 seconds.
  • kirkbauerkirkbauer Posts: 59 Baller
    edited May 25
    OK, that's good to know -- curious, what's the point of having a 6.2 if you don't need that much power for a deep start?

    But we figured out full throttle didn't work fairly early on. So, for the vast majority of my attempts, my driver has been attempting a gradual application of throttle. Whether or not she is doing that consistently I'm not sure. I sure wish ZeroOff could record and replay an acceleration profile. Is there a technique to help the driver apply the throttle consistently for each start?
  • skiinxsskiinxs Posts: 718 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited May 25
    Easy rolling the throttle forward with WAY less total throttle. Have her keep using less on each start until you start getting up easily. A really big ski and too much throttle is a bad combination.
  • kirkbauerkirkbauer Posts: 59 Baller
    I have cruise control set to 33, so I told her to to just keep pushing the throttle forward at a steady rate. But should I have her stop at some point until I'm up and then push it forward more?
  • kirkbauerkirkbauer Posts: 59 Baller
    I started with a Radar Senate Graphite 69" ski but when I was having issues deep starting, I purchased the HO Fusion Freeride 71" hoping it would be the easier ski. Should I stick with that but with less throttle, or am I actually making it harder on myself with that bigger ski?
  • buechsrbuechsr Posts: 202 Baller
    edited May 25
    Bigger ski = easier starts with correct throttle application. Too much throttle and you're a link between 400 hp and 100 gallons of water. Secondly, there is no need to set zero off at 33 for now. At your weight and ski, 26 is fine for now, to at least master deepwater starts and having some fun. A beginner, with that ski, at your size, should be pulled out more like a wakeboarder than a slalom skier. Less is WAY more. This is 100% on the driver, not your ski. Getting up way too slow is still doable, too fast and its impossible at your stage.

    The point of the power is really the torque that frankly, you don't need. It's for jumpers, high level slalom, short set ups into a course, etc. There's nothing wrong with it, but your boat has more power than 99% of ski boats produced over the last 30 years and you should not come anywhere close to using it.
  • JmoskiJmoski Posts: 481 Crazy Baller
    edited May 25
    For your driver: make sure they have you lined up and the steering wheel centered, put it in gear for second and then throttle up gradually. Also, make sure they are being consistent on each try - some drivers will try to help you by changing it, but that will screw you up if your trying different things on your end of the rope!

    For you: you already have one key - the rear foot sucked up under your butt, but try keeping the ski on a 30% angle. I am assuming you start with both feet in the bindings?

    The goal as the boat takes off is to just hold that position until you feel support from the ski to allow you to stand up on it. I think about feathering my front foot like it’s on the gas pedal - when I feel support I know I can stand up. Also remember to keep your rear knee tucked in as if it flags out to side it will add a lot of drag. Finally, make sure your not wearing a bathing suit that acts like a parachute on take off which will also add unnecessary drag.

    Do you have a ski school near you or a friend that is an experienced driver? Might be best to eliminate the driver variable.
  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 1,388 Mega Baller
    That size ski need a nice SLOW start. Bigger the ski, the slower the start.
  • MitchellMMitchellM Posts: 156 Solid Baller
    Is your rear foot out? Getting up on that ski should be like a wakeboard. Have the driver tighten up and then slowly ease on the throttle until the ski planes. Then you should be able to slowly stand up. Too much power too soon and they pull you right over.

    Is your ski rotating? Which foot forward?
  • BugHunterBugHunter Posts: 33 Baller
    3 seconds from start to full throttle works for me, I'm same over-weightiness as you with smaller ski and have no problem with deepwater starts.
    Making a full pass is another story ;)
  • kirkbauerkirkbauer Posts: 59 Baller
    A few updates based on the comments and questions:

    1) I'm not a new skier, just having trouble with the starts. I am certainly a bit rusty, so I dialed back from 36 to 33mph, but anything slower feels ridiculous. For background, I've probably done a thousand successful deep starts in my life.

    2) I should have mentioned that I have never dragged a foot to get up, so I'm starting with both feet in the bindings.

    3) I have a very slick wetsuit (Stokes) and for the one successful start I did remove my life vest to see if it helped reduce drag (and it seems that it might have helped).

    I'm going to go back out and have my driver apply power slower and more smoothly.
  • BbrandauBbrandau Posts: 46 Baller
    edited May 25
    I have the best luck with really getting people to focus on their body position which translates to a good ski position for starts.

    The simplest way I've been able to explain it is to get your hands down to your toes. This gets you to have arms straight and reached forward with your knees in to your chest (creates a low center of gravity and leveraged position for when the ski begins to plane).

    The second key point is that your butt should be as close as possible to your rear binding. This pitches the ski more towards a plaining position.

    As you are being pulled up, focus on continuing to push that handle down towards your feet by engaging your lats.

    If you get these 2 correct, your driver should be able to maintain tension on the rope and get you moving a bit through the water before pulling you up. And as everyone wrote above, a smooth consistent push of the throttle is what is needed.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 3,009 Mega Baller
    What @Bbrandau said. I know you are not a new skier. However, I teach beginners to slalom quite frequently. A few more pointers that have helped them include:
    1) What ^ he said
    2) Be patient. Come out of the water squatting. (only begin to stand up once you feel air on your arms)
    3) Stay behind the ski at the start. If you did #1 staying behind the ski will ensure no more "over the front" falls getting up.
    4) Follow the ski. If the ski starts to head off to the left or right, go with it. (See #3) Many skiers come out of the water at a slight angle and move in that direction as they come up.
    5) However, focus on being centered on the pylon. My this, I mean your ski, your rope, your sternum are all centered together with the point of connection to the boat.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • BKistlerBKistler Posts: 90 Baller
    I agree with all suggestions given except that I recommend dragging the free foot at an angle. The shin not only acts as a rudder to help steer but also provides a slight bit of extra planing surface. Try it.
  • DWDW Posts: 2,526 Mega Baller
    @kirkbauer - congrats on livin' the dream. As for deep water starts, I have seen success moving people to clincher style gloves, so may be worth a try. Success with heavier folks and lighter skier with limited grip capability. As for throttle ups I was recently on a Prostar and the driver struggled with providing a slow throttle up due to the sensitivity of the throttle itself. It was difficult for the driver to slowly modulate the throttle as it has a short throw and a long dwell of travel prior to actual throttle plate opening. No idea if yours is similar or if others are the same, just an observation of this particular boat. Good luck.
  • riplashriplash Posts: 31 Baller
    If the water is warm enough that you don't need the wetsuit, I would try it without the wetsuit. I miss more deepwater starts when I use any wetsuit because I can't get tucked as tight at the beginning of the pull.

  • m_pagsm_pags Posts: 103 Baller
    I would consider using a 2 command start. 1st - "In gear" this allows a novice driver to get the boat straight and the line tight. Drag until you're comfortable and the boat is straight then say "Go". I use this method when my wife drives for me. I can see her manipulate the wheel until it's straight and I always know the line will be tight.
  • Ski2000Ski2000 Posts: 91 Baller
    Although I would never say GO, because the driver might here NO. I’ll like to say (yep) or (whenever) or something clever like ready Freddy.
  • teammalibuteammalibu Posts: 1,225 Mega Baller
    Use the tach! Try 2500 to 3000 rpm to start
    Mike Erb Cedar Ridge Canton Miss.
    Horton is my hero
  • ScarletArrowScarletArrow Posts: 882 Crazy Baller
    From the driver’s perspective, with new or struggling skiers the start should feel painfully slow.

    I use thumb and forefinger to push the throttle and watch the skier in the mirror.

    The 6.2 is not for deep water starts - it’s for maintaining speed.

    Your grip strength and weight ratio doesn’t allow for WOT on starts.

    Ditch the wetsuit. It will help.
    Anthony Warren
  • Ski_DadSki_Dad Posts: 521 Baller
    I get up both feet in. I agree with above, you want less throttle - I've over 200 as well and I had a heck of a time on a certain wider ski.

    I concentrate on just 1 thing... I tilt the ski to the left (like 10:30, I'm left foot forward) that allows me to get my knees closer to my chest. Ask your wife for a 5 second pull out.
  • jjackkrashjjackkrash Posts: 1,185 Mega Baller
    edited May 26
    With two feet in the bindings make sure there is no space between your knees; get the knees up to your chest; and get that back knee as high or higher than your front knee so the ski wants to plane and not plow. Getting the ski on top of the water without digging a hole is the key, IMO.

    And cut out all carbs and salt for a week, that will cut 10 lbs. of water (at least) which will also help as much as cutting fat. Every single pound counts when you are too heavy. I know from experience.
  • chrislandychrislandy Posts: 373 Crazy Baller
    Having recently transitioned to a newer DBW prostar after driving a cable throttle for 25+ years, I can attest to to the throttle sensitivity, and that's just the 5.7 let alone a 6.2.

    I've found if not officially using a 2 step start, sticking in gear for 2s (so there's no jerk on the line an you're composed and sure the gearbox is engaged), using a full wrap around grip on the throttle (thumb over top of knob, index directly under and other three wrapped around the throttle arm), more gently than you can possibly imagine put the throttle on.

    as for position, pretty much everything is covered above apart from I find (personally) I tell myself to "roll shoulders back" just before shouting hit it and it helps me brace my upper body for the pull but lets my knees compress into me
  • buechsrbuechsr Posts: 202 Baller
    Lots of good input here about positions, thoughts, etc. But, above you kind of insisted that 33 was a reasonable speed reduction from 36. You're a self-admitted "rusty" 210# on a wide 71" ski. 33 is too fast. As your driver is clearly in a panic to get you to speed, do yourself (and she) a favor and set zero off to 26. Let her feel how slow that is. It will allow zero off to grab the speed earlier thus taking the pressure mentally and physically of rushing to get you up to 33 which novice drivers can do. There's nothing wrong with going 26 for now, anyway. I'd strongly suggest you get these start challenges worked out, ski much slower for a bit, get your driver comfortable, get in shape, and then transition to your 69" senate and speed up to your liking. May I ask how old you are?
  • OldboyIIOldboyII Posts: 732 Crazy Baller
    edited May 26
    @kirkbauer many thanks for your info about harness. My ski friend who is on rehab afrer spine problem is keen to get it!
    About your topic - try to ask every one around offline for advise. From three dozen of answers you will get one which works for you )
    My modest input - "Chest to the knees" and "Knees to the chest" are "two big differences" ))
    For some folks who are lighter weight first is good, for some who are heavier second does work.
    For me - "knee to the chest" means easy start, whereas "chest to the knees" - is always a failure.
    Also do not get to tired. After several fails it is better to go to the boat for a break.
    May be it helps
    Vernon Reeve
  • jjackkrashjjackkrash Posts: 1,185 Mega Baller
    210? Ok I misread that. I read 250 at first and though that was your weight but that was the ski rating. You should have plenty of ski.

    Also maybe try an easy up handle to get back in the groove.
  • jpwhitjpwhit Posts: 236 Solid Baller
    A lot of good info here already. So only thing I'll add is if you have any access to an experienced direct drive boat driver for even one session. It would help both you and your wife to experience the optimum pull up process with an experienced driver. There's nothing better than being able to feel what the correct pull-up rate feels like.

    In a situation like yours, I've had a lot of success with the 2-step start if you're able to keep the ski reasonably straight while being towed in gear. Even if you can't keep the ski straight being towed in gear, that helps so much it's worth practicing it some to see if you can get the hang of it. I do it for a different reason, which is to save my back, but I can be towed in gear indefinitely without any issue until I say hit it. Having that little bit of momentum in the water makes the physical stress of getting up at least 2x less. I helped a lot of people that were having similar issues getting up by having them learn to be comfortable with being towed at idle.

    It's worth trying the rear foot out at least a couple of times, but I have found that for people like you that have a background getting up with rear foot in, more often than not it doesn't work out that well. But for some, it's like magic. I would say if you try it 2-3 times, and it doesn't help, don't keep going down that path.
  • elrelr Posts: 355 Mega Baller
    Yep - slow start. Thought that helps me the most is “keep the ski in front of you.”
    Ed Rink - LSF Texas
  • B_SB_S Posts: 348 Crazy Baller
    Besides the slower throttle, are you sure you're not putting pressure on back foot? Pretty much all weight should be on front foot, keeping that back heel up near you're butt. And teah, wetsuit will restrict body flexibility and can make things more difficult as we, ahem, mature.
  • swbcaswbca Posts: 802 Crazy Baller
    What @Bbrandau said can be the single biggest factor . . After a 30 year layoff it took me a few tries to remember to start with my knees at my chest and arms straight forward. Then the next thing is to try to keep an equal amount of pressure on front and back foot. If you get too far back, the ski drags and your leg wants to collapse at the knee.

    Curious about single foot starts. Doing starts by jumping off of diving boards and everything else when I was a kid I am not sure if I can get up without both feet in at this point.
    Home of the world's first submersible slalom course.
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