How To Turn a Slalom Ski

FlowPointMethodFlowPointMethod Posts: 8 Water Ski Industry Professional

Here’s an answer to those who asked about yesterday’s post on instagram, regarding how to best turn a water ski. ***Keep In Mind, this concept is a higher level concept because at rope lengths shorter than 35 off, it begins to be a crucial part of consistency. HOWEVER, it is backward compatible: meaning, it will work at 30mph 15 off, but it’s definitely not a requirement.


  • ralral Posts: 2,019 Mega Baller
    This sounds interesting. So where and how should you do it?
    Rodrigo Andai
  • escmanazeescmanaze Posts: 950 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★

    Isn't this literally the opposite of what we have always been taught?
  • skihartskihart Posts: 549 Solid Baller
    @FlowPointMethod i am just waiting for @Horton to come along and give you a panda. Lol.
    I saw your Instagram post and was very curious about this.
  • scokescoke Posts: 807 Crazy Baller

    Great video but you would have reached troll level mastery if you almost didn't start laughing at 2:34 and then at 2:45.

  • Erik4cErik4c Posts: 52 Baller
    I don’t know about this one Marcus. Perhaps some video of people implementing this to show us as an example?
    The rocker of modern waterskis combined with flex allows the ski to turn while being balanced over the ski….
    Shifting weight back on the ski to slow the ski down to initiate the turn is going to be very inefficient as far as I see it. It will load the line prematurely resulting in a potentially compromised position on the ski and result in a lot of speed at the next buoy.
    Please elaborate I am thoroughly puzzled by this thought process and I’m not sure it’s the correct way to be thinking about navigating the slalom course.
  • Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 2,216 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    @MarcusBrown it seems you have been getting horton's scotch. And the cheap stuff at that. B)
    I'm Ancient. WTH do I know?
  • HortonHorton Posts: 32,648 Administrator
    edited July 21
    If anyone but @MarcusBrown had proposed this there would have been many Pandas. Since it is MB I am waiting for more information. I have all kinds of objections but am sure that there is more information to follow. Perhaps some slow motion footage of this idea being implemented.

    The ball is in your court Mr. Brown.

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  • swbcaswbca Posts: 803 Crazy Baller
    edited July 21
    As I see it . .

    What MB is describing is not entirely consistent with observed pro techniques

    With most top skiers, most of the offside turn in executed when they engage the tip and the ski snaps around about 60 degrees in an instant. What he is describing is more often true on their onside turn with some but not all top skiers. A lot if this is driven by the ski. Syndicate skiers are more often symmetrical left and right, keeping more weight forward engaging the tip to complete the turn on both sides. A most recent video of Whitney (its only on her facebook page) shows her almost perfectly symmetrical with aggressive tip engagement on both sides. Radar has changed the shape of the concave, creating a hook near the edges at the front of the ski to aid with effect of tip engagement on short line without widening the ski.

    What MB is describing is most interesting with Nate Smith coming in fast and late at 43 off on ball 2. He's the only skier I have seen that can sustain the weight back, tail stand ski attitude as the ski continues nearly straight down course to burn off speed before he levels the ski to accelerate. Most top skiers do a momentary tail stand on their last pass, but Nate is the only one that can hold that ski attitude for several feet down course to avoid carrying speed toward the boat . . . mostly on his on side.

    And none of that seems backward compatible to 15 off because the boat is pulling you down course at the completion of your turn making it harder to turn with your weight shifted back. The skiers speed range is less dynamic at 15 off making it less three dimensional as MB describes it.
    Home of the world's first submersible slalom course.
    Vernon Reeve
  • DragoDrago Posts: 1,800 Mega Baller
    Watch Regina
    SR SL Judge & Driver (“a driver who is super late on the wheel and is out of sync”)
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 7,074 Mega Baller
    I didn't know about July Fools Day. Must be a new holiday this year.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • aupatkingaupatking Posts: 1,808 Mega Baller
    Y’all don’t make me

  • 03RLXi03RLXi Posts: 42 Baller
    "I've a waterski in my hands" that is actually a wine barrel stave. Suspect that's a hint some vino was involved during filming :D
  • Skoot1123Skoot1123 Posts: 2,194 Mega Baller
    That ski that Marcus has in his hands is the latest and greatest technology that we just haven’t experienced yet. Can’t wait to get my hands on one. The rocker was pretty awesome and the bevels were nice and sharp. Though the tip looks a little like a chisel, it still must make some amazing turns!
  • MNshortlinerMNshortliner Posts: 276 Crazy Baller
    Snow skiing has been around for 10,000 years! - That’s why those guys are so good
  • B_SB_S Posts: 348 Crazy Baller
    Somebody's been hanging around Bob Marley too much.
  • travtitletravtitle Posts: 44 Baller
    Is there some reason that Marcus Brown is trolling us?
  • ghutchghutch Posts: 219 Solid Baller
    If you can turn on the back, bring the tip up and then get it back down and accelerate I'd be smoking Nate on the pro tour. Not sure I'm riding with this one. No doubt Marcus knows his stuff but I believe he's messing with us here.
  • skibrainskibrain Posts: 276 Crazy Baller
    IDK about tail turns, but I still value and implement wildcatskier’s ( @MarcusBrown ) comments regarding COM from in 2007. 👍
  • AndreAndre Posts: 1,869 Mega Baller
    From FPM Youtube commentary...

    I know I know! It can be a bit confusing.

    Just remember, Yes indeed you want to be on your front foot heading outbound (perturn) into the buoy…but to actually get a direction change to happen, there has to be a weight transfer towards the back foot, to get the tail to move thru. BUT, if you aren’t on your front foot approaching the buoy, you won’t be able to make the weight transfer move….so keep working on what you’re working on.

    Just start allowing yourself to experimenting with weight transfer into the apex of the turn….don’t be too strict with front foot pressure all the way thru the finish of the turn.
    My ski finish in 16.95 ...but my ass is out of tolerance!
  • ghutchghutch Posts: 219 Solid Baller
    Is this the "stivot" you refer to? Pushing on the rear to slow the ski and bring it around very quickly but only for a split second?
  • hemlockhemlock Posts: 202 Baller
    edited July 24
    I'm wondering if Marcus is referring to a technique shown by a lot of guys super deep shortline.
    Like this... (a few turns with tails deep)
  • ballsohardballsohard Posts: 468 Crazy Baller
    Is this the second iteration of West Coast slalom skiing?
  • A_BA_B Posts: 4,427 Mega Baller
    When you pull out to stop at the end of the lake, if you are coming in a little hot, what do you do to slow down? You don't jump on the front of the ski.

    In theory this makes some sense, but it sets up a two part turn. Watching top skiers, Regina, Whitney, and some of the men, their tips pop up and then they bring the tip back down and point across the wake. It is much easer to control and move around less ski in the water than 75% of it.

    Applying it in theory is much different than on the water after a lifetime of staying centered and tip down in smooth arcing turns.
  • GloersenGloersen Posts: 1,271 Mega Baller
    "Desperate turns breed desperate measures" ...Shakespeare?
    If it involves a move to the tail; I'm all ears.
  • SlalomSteveSlalomSteve Posts: 197 Baller
    edited July 27
    Yeah I don't think he's advocating riding the tail all the way around the turn :D It does look to me like the top skiers, as they pass the buoy at short lines, are pushing into the back foot to rapidly change the ski angle and in a sense "stop" their downcourse speed, then immediately getting back into a forward/balanced weight position.

    Consider this piece from Denali GUT 101: "In order for a skier to complete a pass within the constraints of the slalom course at the 10.25-meter line, the variance in down-course speed is huge! They are traveling significantly faster than the boat in the down-course direction from CL to the buoy, and much slower from the buoy back into to CL."

    The physics of being tied to the rope dictate that in order to get around a buoy at 41off then be back at center line with a tight rope, the skier must drastically reduce their speed at some point before getting back to CL.
    In a race car, the more speed you can carry through the corner the better (generally speaking), so that they can finish the lap with a greater total average speed than other cars. But skiers ultimately can't go through the course any faster than the timing of the boat, so every person who runs the pass has roughly the same average total speed through the course. [edited following @brettmainer's corrections below]

    I think @A_B's comment is insightful: how do you stop if you're about to hit the dock? You slam the back foot. Whether that's the best way to create deceleration within the many other considerations of running the course, I have no idea lol, but at least in isolation, digging in the tail is an effective way to slow down, and slowing down is necessary to run short lines.

    Going off the GUT theory, my understanding of the Denali approach, and I could be way wrong here, is to allow the ski to slide, like a rally car on dirt drifting around a corner, so that the ski is starting to point back into the course and scrub speed, even while still traveling outbound (due to the swing of maintaining rope connection/load even as the ski unloads), so then at the finish of the turn, there isn't as much a need for immediate drastic loss of speed after the buoy. @AdamCord?
  • brettmainerbrettmainer Posts: 429 Crazy Baller
    @SlalomSteve, I generally agree with much of your post above, but the last sentence of the third paragraph is incorrect. While it is mostly true that every skier who runs a particular pass has the same average speed (not exactly true because there are slight deviations in possible paths and taller skiers can run a pass with a narrower handle path than shorter skiers), that speed is NOT the same as the average boat speed.

    Average skier speed = the distance the skier travels divided by the time. The skier travels a longer path than the boat through the course, so the skier's average speed must be faster than the boat speed.
  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,381
    "Waterskis are big, fat, and dumb"

    Somewhat reminiscent of some of the waterskiers I know.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • DanoDano Posts: 229 Baller
    @MarcusBrown is this move just a slight shift back just before apex? Seems like doing this could give you the ability to kinda step into or lunge forward into a strong accelerating position just as you come back on the handle without having to manage excessive tip pressure. Maybe allowing you to carry more speed, have quick tight turns, and be accelerating sooner off the back of the ball.
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