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What the heck is the deal with -28?

jhughesjhughes Posts: 1,037 Mega Baller
I've been battling 28 all year. Perfect example was this morning- Ran 22/32mph as an opener a few times, felt great, then ran a nice 22/34mph, cut it to 28 and it was all over, as usual.

I feel like my gates were good but it's just SO different from 22 and that's no joke. I'm sure I could be a bit more stacked, etc. but we're talking about running a previous pass, then having no chance at the next pass so it's not a slight adjustment we're talking about here. I'm just doing something way, way wrong. Has to be a timing thing of some sort that is majorly different.


1. Has anyone RECENTLY overcome the -28 barrier, and what got you there?

2. How much relevance do the previous 2 lengths have to 28? Seriously? I know purists out there are going to balk at this comment, saying it's all the same, clean up your earlier passes, etc. but I'd disagree with anyone saying that running 15 and 22 all day will make 28 easy unless you've already run 28 and know whatever you need to know to run it, to then work on at easier lengths. I think once you are running shortline slalom, going back to 15 and 22 are doable and don't seem THAT different but when you're going uphill from 22 to 28 and have never run 28, it's just a huge mountain to climb so take it easy on me here.

3. Has anyone just said "screw it" and kept the yellow loop on until they figured it out? Sacrificed a few sets to just "get" 28?


  • OTFOTF Posts: 347 Crazy Baller
    @jhughes FWIW I think it helps to go the other way, throw it on the green for a few sets. Break up the routine. Have fun for a few sets then go back to hacking away at legit passes.
  • jhughesjhughes Posts: 1,037 Mega Baller
    So, should it feel like the load is much more intense at 28 or should it feel easier? I'm talking about literally the tension in the rope behind the boat. Is there any chance that I could be OVER pulling/reacting at 28 or am I definitely being too weak against it?
  • 94009400 Posts: 634 Crazy Baller
    You could very well be over pulling or loading too hard too soon or trying to establish too much angle into or out of the boat centerline.
  • 94009400 Posts: 634 Crazy Baller
    Think of a path, too far to the right of that path and the rope becomes too tight, too far to the left and there's not enough angle to get where you want to go, right in the middle is the yellow brick road.
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,850 Mega Baller
    edited September 2013
    Until this year, I would only be able to run 28 a handful of times each season. @AB, @ShaneH and others viewed some video of mine and noticed my turn in for the gate was way too late (among many other things). Most of my problems were related to the gate and one ball. I skied with @AB last September and these were the things that were identified:

    1. "Hide from the boat through the wakes". For me, this is most important at the gate. I can do it the rest of the pass without too much trouble. Get on edge and lean away from the boat with good position - head away with hips up, arms straight, shoulders back. I actually think this phrase to myself to help me through the gates.
    2. Make sure the edge change and reach are two separate, distinct motions, with the edge change first. Roll the ski while two hands are on the handle, then do the reach. Don't go flat and give everything back by skiing straight at the ball. I was just giving the rope back to the boat and going flat into one ball with a lot of slack. The article from Bruce Butterfield on handle control helps here.
    3. Hip up to handle, especially on the gate (and the pullout for the gate) so that the tempo is set for the rest of the pass. Watch out for loading too quickly at the turn in for the gate.
    4. Knees and ankles flexed slightly. Set this tempo also during your pullout for the gates. If you pull out with tension, anxiety, and straight legs (because, after all, it is that "new pass"), it's unlikely that you will miraculous flex and soften the knees when you need to.
    5. Don't pull too long, especially through the gate. Also, if you moved your reference point for the turn into the gate, don't forget to move your pullout reference point basically the same amount.

    @AB also reset my fin to stock, as I had some issues with how the ski was riding (evident in my video). I think that helped a lot as well.

    The result: I ran more 28 passes that September day than I did all that season. It's carried forward into this year with very good results and more tournament 28 passes than ever. Next up: 32 off. I'm only halfway through that pass so far.

    The big difference for me between 28 and 22 was the gate and one ball.

    During my frustrating last season, I always warmed up before trying 28, but would stay on that loop for the rest of the set in an attempt to beat it into submission. That didn't work and I made the most headway by having my issues identified and coached.

    The rest of my problems are all related to approaching the pass confidently, relaxed, and with a clear, focused mind. That has been the toughest thing to overcome lately.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • GOODESkierGOODESkier Posts: 1,107 Crazy Baller
    Without a little video it is hard to really say what the issue might be...... I would ask, as you shorten line, what do you think needs to happen at the gate? Meaning, do you turn in earlier or later as the line gets shorter?
    2003 Nautique 196 LE Star Gazer & ZBox - GOODE NANO OneXT 66.75" - Powershell 5 (LFF) - Tournament PB: 2 Balls @ 39.5' OFF (34.2 MPH) on 7/18/2015 at BIG DAWG BROHO!
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,626 Mega Baller
    edited September 2013
    @jhughes I hate to think of it as strong or weak, because I always land in the latter bin! And it's absolutely possible to overpull, although even more common to try to commit to an impossible angle and be unable to hold on.

    That's why I keep throwing out the word "efficient." There's a much smaller window to build speed at -28 than there is at -15 and -22, so you need to use every moment of that opportunity to resist the boat and translate its pull into cross-course speed. If all your muscles are lined up right down that rope, -28 may actually feel *easier* because the geometry gives you the opportunity to accelerate much more in less time. But if you aren't getting everything you can from the hookup to the centerline, then you are effed -- there is no opporunity to add to it after that, and you'll either be too narrow or too fast (or usually both!)

    Fwiw, this is perhaps the fundamental barrier to EVERY remaining line length. I am currently trying to figure out how the hell to be efficient enough during what feels like about 0.001 seconds of pull zone at -39, and then harness that speed properly during the outbound arc.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • John BrooksJohn Brooks Posts: 367 Crazy Baller
    @jhughes I agree with what's been said. Find your keys and focus on them every time. Some video would be your best bet and quickest way to find the solution, whether you post the video here or just a little self assessment. I know for me, every time I video, I get some benefit. I usually watch it frame by frame to see what I'm doing (or not doing).

    To me it all really boils down to angle and speed.

    As the rope gets shorter it seems there is always some technique to polish, whether it is getting higher on the boat for your gate turn in, keeping the ski in front of you across course, a nice extended reach in the turn so your ski finishes, or any of the number of techinical items we all try to follow.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,626 Mega Baller
    edited September 2013
    @MISkier Excellent list! I especially like #2 (and even more so after seeing the video below). It's theoretically possible to have a fantastic trip through the pull zone and then throw it all away by reaching too soon and skiing flat.

    Aside: I think that's why -38 is a such a barrier for almost everyone. I claim it's the first rope length where the outbound portion is even more critical to get right than the inbound portion.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • jhughesjhughes Posts: 1,037 Mega Baller
    I'll get some video next time out.

    Here's an attempt from earlier this year. Pretty typical. Yes, I CRUSH and fold over at 1-ball but the pass is over before that, believe me. Gotta be something in the pull-out and turn-in, and probably some pre-turn stuff too.

  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,314 Mega Baller
    edited September 2013
    @jhughes The answer is definitely technique. The closer you get to technique that is efficient enough to take you into shortline, the easier -28 gets. Over the last couple of years, I've gone from barely wrestling my way through 28 to stroking them as an opener. I'm not stronger or trying harder. It's the structure and the efficiency of movement @Than_Bogan is describing that will get you there. For me, it was improving my off-side stack, better handle control, and moving my edge change earlier. Enjoy the journey =) ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,626 Mega Baller
    @jhughes Unless it's a trick of the camera angle, you need to go WAY higher on the pullout.

    What that will allow you do is use the entire pull zone on your very first pull. In that video, you're starting your leverage when the leverage zone is nearly over! The result is you don't have enough speed for a solid edge change, and instead you are riding flat in order to get the width. But riding flat is always wasted space.

    I actually don't think you are far AT ALL from running -28: you're much closer than I expected from your self-description. Higher pullout, start efficient right from the start, and then you'll able to eliminate that flat spot into one, and you'll be smoking it!
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • jhughesjhughes Posts: 1,037 Mega Baller
    @Than_Bogan hopefully it's that easy! My fear is turning in on slack which is what keeps me narrow, I think. There's nothing worse than seeing the boat fly through the gate and thinking "holy crap I've gotta hustle!" while reeling in slack. Gotta figure out how to stay wide/up and not get slack.

    @ShaneH very good stuff as well, thanks.

    You guys are rocking this morning! Thank you so much for the input. I'll have newer video soon.
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,314 Mega Baller
    edited September 2013
    @jhughes If you maintain a little rope tension during your glide in your pullout, slack will not be a problem. To maintain this tension, you have to maintain a slight outward edge with your ski until the turn in. On video, you shouldn't be able to see your ski for fine spray during the glide. ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent
  • JordanJordan Posts: 1,224 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    1) Never be on a flat ski, this why you are getting slack and why you are running should either leaning away from the boat or turning.
    2) Elbows tucked in at your sides
    3) Handle low, against your hips

    If you touch up these few things, you will run -28 in no time. I agree with @Than_Bogan, you are closer to running it than you think!
  • A_BA_B Posts: 4,242 Mega Baller
    All good stuff to follow, wider and gradual turn in for gate. Your initial setup with handle looks nice and low but then you reach up toward the boat and pull in the handle. Try just moving from right hip to left hip, and as I like to say, hide from the boat. This means lean away (not back) equal pressure on feet. You will adjust foot pressure as the feeling comes to you, but the key is to not load the back foot up. We want ski tip in water and grabbing angle.

    As pointed out above, be patient in the turn at one ball until the outside hip swings under the rope and hookup right hand and be ready to rocket out of there!

    28 and shorter it becomes more critical to have the ski finish and grab angle out of the ball.

    I also am a firm believer in slow speed training at 28 off. It reveals all the leverage weaknesses that longer line lets you get away with.
  • kstateskierkstateskier Posts: 524 Solid Baller
    I will add to getting further up on the boat on your pullout. I noticed when you make the move from glide to your turn in you let your hands and handle come up away from your body. This is a wasted movement and in order to bring the handle and hands back into your hips you're falling back on your ski. Some of the best skiers keep that handle low and have strategic movements even at glide and turn in. Parrish does a nice job of this.

    This does two things.
    1.) it takes up valuable time you need to be pulling through the leverage zone and
    2.) it doesn't put you in a good strong stacked position to leverage in the leverage zone.

    The hardest thing about 28 is finishing that turn at 1 ball. Fix your glide and gate problems and you'll be in a better position to finish a turn at 1. From there on 28 is an easy pass.

    Good luck you aren't far from running 28.
    Bradley Beach - Lone Rock Ski Club, Missouri
    2004 Malibu Response LXI, 2014 D3 Helix 66"
  • WaternutWaternut Posts: 1,511 Crazy Baller
    Lots of good information so far. Since I overcame 28 off within the last month or so, maybe I can help shed a different perspective. First off, after spending the majority of my time at 15 and 22 off, I certainlny feel like I'm running late at 28 off coming out of the buoy but that's not really true. A good pull with decent technique gets me back in the game while being wide and early. When I'm using decent technique, I really feel like I can make more mistakes coming out of the ball at 28 off than 15 and 22 off and still stay in the game but if my technique is off that day, it's over very quickly.

    I spent a couple days behind my own boat on open water at 28 off. I could feel it and noticed on videos that I was getting terrible angle at 28 off. For me, there was a trust issue in both myself and the boat. At that line length, you get more of a slingshot effect and it took me feeling that slingshot and knowing that I can cross the wakes under control while knowing the boat will be there to support me once I start my lean. Next time I hit the course, I went from 1-2 buoys at 28 off with no chance for 3 to 4-5 buoys under control but making stupid mistakes because I was too anxious to run the pass. I still have to be in the right mindset to run 28 off but I feel like it's possible now instead of no hope like before. You may even want to keep the speed at 32mph for a set so that you can feel less scared and defensive.
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,583 Mega Baller
    Same as Kstateskier, I think lifting the arms at the gates is causing you to rock back on the tail. Keep the handle low and more on front of the ski and you should be able to get more angle, get wider but don't over load early, load the line progressively . Like shaneh says you pull in weight goes back, ski stops turning (weighted tail - less angle, ski doesn't turn and more effort). Use the front of the ski to make carving turns. I know you do this at longer lines, you have a nice smooth rhythm there but I think body position becomes critical at 28.
  • BlueSkiBlueSki Posts: 768 Crazy Baller
    Than et al. have great points, especially about starting wide so that you can get wide. The other thing to consider is your body position through the turn. @ShaneH pointed out your body position through the gates. Look at how that problem is exacerbated by the time you get to 1 ball and watch the path of your right shoulder going into and around 1 ball. There is little counter rotation so that the problem that @ShaneH points out only gets worse and not corrected, leaving you short on leverage and ultimately short on angle. I personally find myself skiing one pass technically very well and then cutting the rope and everything flys out the window, the technique goes to hell in a handbasket. I have to remind myself, that yes, technique becomes more important with a shorter rope. Sometimes it takes a less than gentle reminder from someone in the boat, but then, the next pass becomes much easier.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,019 Mega Baller
    Lots of good stuff. I like a couple of things already laid out be wider on your pullout another thing that might help is a longer pullout rather than a harder pullout to get width.

    @AB hit on a good point on your gates with get your hands to your left hip when you get in your stack. That is one of my keys as I am working on -35.

    This may be different than @AB but I would like to see more intensity or lean away from the boat on your gates. I think the combination of your width and lean leave you narrow and fast at 1 ball which caused the problems coming out of 1.

    Keep at it it will all click soon.
    Mark Shaffer
  • ChadWChadW Posts: 100 Baller
    @jhughs I was a fifteenoff follower, thanks for your work on that site.
    I am currently skiing 34mph with a practice PB of [email protected] Your video above looks like me from 1 year ago, maybe even earlier this season. I ran 28 for the first time at the end of the 2011 season. During the 2012 season I was able to run 28 more frequently, but inconsistently. This year, with the help of great ski partners, I've realized I was skiing 28 and 32 very narrow. The main reasons for my narrow skiing were:
    1. Coming off edge too early
    2. Riding a flat ski in the pre-turn.
    3. Poorly stacked offside
    All of which you seem to be doing in your video above. I've spent this season trying to correct those.
    So, here is what I think about now:
    1. Throwing my trailing shoulder back in my pull. This gets me stacked (hips up, shoulders back and open to the boat, arms straight). I know there are a lot of ways to say this, but thinking "shoulder back" works for me. I also concentrate on maintaining this position well off the second wake. This helps me stay on edge all the way through the wakes.
    2. Hold onto the handle until I'm at the buoy line (this also keeps me from coming off edge early and prevents me from riding flat). I went to West Palm and watched the Big Dawg this year, I was amazed at how long those guys hold onto the handle. My ski buddies also tell me I ski the 2nd half of the course better than the 1st half because I get late and can't ride flat. Holding onto the handle gives me the sensation of being late, even though it creates a wide and early turn.

    So the voice in my head when I ski says: Throw your shoulder back...hold on, hold on, hold on...ok turn...then repeat. I can only think about 2 things at most when I ski, Shoulder Back and Hold On.

    As far as running other lines, I felt 22 was too different, so as the season progressed I quit running 22. I always run 34.2mph. If I have a bad 2ball (my offside), I shadow 3 and then run 4,5,6. This is how I've learn to run 28 wide, early and easy.
  • andjulesandjules Posts: 836 Mega Baller
    @jhughes I'm with you. I'm doing a lot better @ -28 this year, not as consistent as I'd like, but managed to finally run -32 this year for the first time. All at 34mph.
    I warm up @ -22 and I can screw up all over the place and it's still easy. -28 is not nearly as forgiving.
    I'm RFF, so for me it's all about a tightline ball 1. Ok, I never get a tightline ball 1, so really it's about 2ft of slack vs 5ft. Things that helped:
    - after centerline/2nd wake:
    - - elbows tight to vest, release later, release slowly
    - - others will say that edge change is the result of other things, but I have to say that when I concentrate on letting the ski roll under me faster, it helps
    - coming into 1st wake: straighter back leg. When I watched video of myself I'd have a stacked position before the wake but would absorb a lot with my knees at the wake. Being a little stiffer/straighter-legged I found I carried more cross-course speed, got out wider.
  • A_BA_B Posts: 4,242 Mega Baller
    @Chef23, we are in sync about leaning away. I like to say "hide from the boat" = lean away. I tell beginners to try to get your upper body 6" lower as you get into the wake when in reality, they are merely staying the same but not letting the boat stand them up.
  • LCZLCZ Posts: 16 Baller
    @jhughes, I agree with the above suggestions to run some -28 passes at 32 mph. Like @ChadW said -22 is way different and you can get away with some inefficiencies. We've been trying to tell @scarletarrow this all season...
    Larry Zanko - Midwest skier with a dream to make Nationals
  • skiboynyskiboyny Posts: 241 Baller
    I was stuck more seasons than I care to admit at 15 and 22 off. I could run 28 off hit and miss for the last 3 seasons but I more less hacked through it and it never felt like a pass that I owned. For me the breakthrough was a combination of several things. Getting wide on the boat which many have mentioned. Not losing that width. At 28 off I basically let the boat pull me through the gates, (very progressively) holding good body position, giving one quick tug right in the middle of the wake. Less seemed to be more for me. At the turn I had to really concentrate on extending for a long time and letting the ski rotate around me, regardless where I was at the ball. This gave me a tight line with no slack. Your video shows you bringing the handle in before the ski has turned rather than skiing around to it. After going around 1 with a nice tight line it was really business as usual. I never missed 28 off this season and using these methods ran a full 32 off on my second try ever!(at a reduced speed) I am absolutely thrilled with my progress this season. I only ever tried 32 off about a half dozen tries first time this year and ran it twice. I'm sure If I can start off close to where I left off I'll be able to bring 32 up to speed next year. A coach I had years ago told me "one day it will just click" It took about 10 years for that to happen! I'm glad it finally did. Hope this might help you...
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,019 Mega Baller
    @AB I see your point and it makes sense. When you said hide from the boat I was concerned you were talking about not working hard behind the boat.
    Mark Shaffer
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