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Help choosing a new ski?

srr5008srr5008 Posts: 13 Baller
I was hoping to pick someone's brain on choosing a new ski. I am 6'6" and 250 pounds (and dropping). I am currently skiing on my fathers old Cypress Garden Tech-1 ski. I believe it is a 67" (might be 66") and from what I have read that is too short for me. I have not been able to get up on that ski (deep water starts) so usually I drop a combo ski. I can get up on the combo skis most of the time, but because I ski fairly aggressively (at least for my skill level) I get bored on the combo so I stick to using the Cypress ski and dropping.

I'm trying to figure out a good place to start with a new ski. I split my skiing time between the river (smooth as glass) and lakes (bit rougher). I doubt that I'll ever ski a course, but I want to progress to more aggressive skiing behind the boat. From what I've read, carbon fiber skis might not make sense for me? I was looking at the Connelly V's or maybe the HO CX. I'm trying to spend under $5-700 on a blank ski. I'm open to buying a more expensive ski (HO CX Superlite?) but as mentioned before, I don't know if I'd see the benefits from carbon fiber.

Do you guys have any recommendations? Another struggle is that I have size 14 feet and could use some advice as to which boots run the biggest. I currently have an old Connelly boot that has a latch on the back, but it is a pain to get my foot into and it doesn't release when I fall hard. Any and all advise would be helpful!




  • MuskokaKyMuskokaKy Posts: 458 Crazy Baller
    No expert by any means but a 71" ( maybe a 68") i think would be right for you. I ride Radar so biased opinion here, but a Senate might be up your alley. i think you may be a little above a Katana but they are both fun to ride!!. Cant help you with boots but there are some big skiers out there like Parrish so I'm sure the over 12 foot size has come up.
  • mopowpowmopowpow Posts: 318 Baller
    You can't go wrong with a Senate with Vector bindings. Either the Graphite or Alloy. My husband gets on his Senate when he is a "little" heavy, says the starts are so much easier than other skis. He has the Graphite, skis the course with it and says it is awesome for free skiing, it doesn't get bounced around like a high end ski.
  • ShakeskiShakeski Posts: 141 Baller
    I think with your weight and level the Senate is worth checking out. The CX might not hold edge as well with the conditions/level you are at. No need to go for anything above the standard Senate or CX in my opinion. Do you have any opportunity to demo? If so - it is worth it. As far as boots, I find HO makes a far more comfortable boot than Radar, however the Radar products seem to stand up better over time. It is a trade off from my experience.
  • Mike GileMike Gile Posts: 347 Crazy Baller
    +1 for the Senate. I have a buddy your size who has struggled with finding a high performance ski. He got the 71" Senate and is skiing better than ever.

    If you have trouble finding bindings that fit call Wiley's. They make custom bindings any size.
  • srr5008srr5008 Posts: 13 Baller
    Thanks for all the opinions so far. Unfortunately no ability to demo in my neck of the woods. Reading up on a couple forums, I saw guys my size/weight getting 69" Senates and doing OK. Think I'd be pushing my luck with a 69" instead of 71"? I'm afraid of the 71" almost being too big for making sharp turns.

    And thanks for the Wiley's recommendation. They are on my short list for bindings. A lot of the HO and Radar boots are 10-14, and being on the upper range of that size worried me. I did see that HO has a XXL animal boot that runs 14-15 however.
  • dgarland10dgarland10 Posts: 17 Baller
    Just ordered a 69" Senate Alloy with Vector/HRT binding from So excited to get on the ski, and wakehouse has some great prices. Might check it out.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,021 Mega Baller
    I am not nearly your height but I used to be close to your weight at 240 lbs. I skied a 68" Vapor at 34 mph and felt like it had plenty of support at that speed. I do think the added height makes a case for more support.

    The 69" Senate is a pretty big ski and with the right technique I think you should be able to get out of the water on it. I never struggled getting out of the water on the Vapor and the newer skis have more surface area at the same size than a ski like the old Tech 1 does.

    I would add get rid of the binding if you don't come out of it when you fall. My foot isn't that big so I can't really help you with that.
    Mark Shaffer
  • KRoundyKRoundy Posts: 417 Crazy Baller
    @srr5008 A graphite or alloy 71" Senate will turn on a dime for you. I'm 6'-1" and currently down to 257 (from over 270), so I'm right at your weight. I have a 2015 Senate Lithium and I have skied it happily for the last two seasons (working on number 3). The Senate shape is the same as the Vapor, but is 0.2" wider. Put 4 pennies together and look at how "thick" that stack is between your fingers. That is the only difference in shape between a Vapor and the Senate. So what I'm trying to say is that the Senate is a pretty high end ski. There are videos of Horton running a Senate through a course at 34 MPH. I love my 71" ski and think you would too. I can't image going down a size until I'm well below my current weight. I think of the Senate as the perfect high-end ski for big guys who do more than recreational slalom. If I get below 200 lbs some day I'll consider something else, but at 50 years old, I don't think I will ever need a Vapor or other rocket-ship ski. I'd probably just get a shorter Senate and move my boots over.

    Another factor you do not mention is skiing speed. If you are not in the course I would assume that you are skiing at 30 - 32? That reduction in speed means you need more surface area under your feet and a 71" ski will help.

    The 71" ski will help you getting up. If you want to get up more easily, and then ski as hard as you want I think you'd be happy with a Senate.

    I have size 11 or 11-1/2 feet, so I don't have your boot issue. Others can help you there, but I would not worry about how sharp a 71" Senate will turn.

    I don't work for Radar - I just love my ski! I've seen others ride the Carbon V and have heard good things about it as well. I'm not sure what sizes it comes in.

  • srr5008srr5008 Posts: 13 Baller
    Kevin, thank you for the in-depth comment! I actually ski at 34 mph - probably because that is the speed my father was used to when he skied the course, and because the speed is necessary to keep my fat backside above the water on a too-small ski. I've seen last years Carbon V being sold for a decent price, but I wasn't sure if that would be too much ski for me (biggest size is 69" btw).
  • srr5008srr5008 Posts: 13 Baller
    The guys at h2o pro shop recommended the Connelly V (non carbon) for what it's worth. Of course that might be because my list that I sent them was narrowed down to the V or the CX - never considered that Senate at that point.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,021 Mega Baller
    I think the Carbon V would be a good ski. H2O Proshop used to offer a demo program if you are going to buy a ski. I think the way it used to work was put down half the price of the ski and you got a couple of weeks to try it and if you liked it you paid the balance if not you could return it and try something else.

    It seems you could use that program to try a 69" Carbon V for example and if it didn't work move on to something bigger.
    Mark Shaffer
  • KRoundyKRoundy Posts: 417 Crazy Baller
    If you can find a way to demo skis (where do you ski?), it seems like a run-off between a V and a Senate might be a good way to go. It also might be interesting for you to try a 69" ski and a 71" and see which you like the best. The extra length will certainly help you with the issue of getting up. Curious - how do you struggle to get up today? Do you simply get drug through the water until you need to take a breath? Do you have the handle yanked from your hands?
  • srr5008srr5008 Posts: 13 Baller
    I'm skiing on the Susquehanna in northeast PA. Not much in my neck of the woods. And I'm usually getting drug through the water then pulled over forward. Our ski boat is a jetboat with a chevy 350 small block so it gives you a heck of a yank coming up out of the water. I suspect my infrequent attempts combined with bad form are the biggest contributors. Ive just started getting serious about slalom skiing again this summer. If i can get back into fighting shape I'll weigh around 230. Thats part of the reason I'm torn between the 69" and 71"
  • srr5008srr5008 Posts: 13 Baller
    Does anyone have any experience with Connellys shadow bindings? The h2o pro shop is recomending them but i can't find much online about them.
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,485 Mega Baller
    edited July 2017
    Hey, cool. A fellow clyde (cycling term). I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Radar guy so unfortunately can't help with the Connelly questions. I can hopefully give you some guidance though.

    I'm 6'5" 255 lbs and wear a size 13 or 14 shoe depending on the brand and fit. I'm on a 69.5" Vapor ProBuild with size 13/14 Vapor Boa boots, skiing mostly open water, mostly 34 MPH. The 69.5" Vapor supports me just fine at 34 MPH, but it did require some changes to get it to where it is today. I was a bit frustrated last season with it. It was inconsistent in warm water when the tail would ride too low and the ski would tend to porpoise for me. This year, I went WAY forward with the boots, fin, added a second wing, and mounted them both parallel to the ski bottom (see @SkiJay and his excellent guide "Fin Whispering" and what he recommends for bigger skiers).

    All of this worked great for the Vapor, but probably wouldn't be required for the Senate. The extra width lets the entire ski ride higher with less effort. At your size, I'd say go for the 69, especially if you plan to shed more weight (good for you). If the narrower Vapor works for me at 69, the wider Senate should work for you.

    On boots, I'd also highly recommend Vapors over Vectors in the Radar line. Especially if you ski in cold water early or late in the season. You'll appreciate the closed toes and much easier entry and egress from the Vapors.

    The bad news is it's next to impossible to find good equipment in our size on the second-hand market so you might be looking at newer stuff.

    Long post, but my recommendation would be 69" Senate Graphite with 13/14 Vapor boots (used or demo if you can locate. Call around for demo gear). Vector boots are great too if you're looking to save money.

    BTW, this is a TEST LINK to a vid of me skiing open water at 34 MPH from this morning. Move slider to 45 seconds. Ski supports my big ass just fine.
    boats are like girlfriends you love them however there is another one around the corner - bananaron, July 21, 2020
  • TallSkinnyGuyTallSkinnyGuy Posts: 545 Crazy Baller
    I have been using the Connelly Talon bindings for the past few seasons -- these appear to be the same as the current Shadow bindings with just a different base plate. Both Radar and HO make bindings similar to the Shadow (Radar Vector and HO xMax). The bindings are very comfortable, but I had to do minor modifications to enable my foot to come out in a fall. I use the supplied bungee laces for the top section but still can't use the top lace loops for the bottom section or my foot struggles to come out. This might not be an issue for a foot with a different shape than mine.
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,314 Mega Baller
    @srr5008 If you want a top end tournament ski that will work properly at your weight, I'd recommend a 71" 2017 Radar Lithium Senate. The 2017 has the light weight (expensive) core and its design is a LOT closer to the Vapor than the previous Senate. Radar has hit a home run with this big ski for serious skiers. Avoid the temptation to go smaller. ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent
  • eddie_roberts_jreddie_roberts_jr Posts: 450 Water Ski Industry Professional
    Srr5008 just so you know, when we designed the 71" Senate we stretched the 69 so it's actually the same width as the 69.
  • 76S&S76S&S Posts: 101 Baller
    edited July 2017
    I hate to threadjack but I have the same type of question. About 6 years ago I was around 230 lbs. and bought a 70" HO Phantom. I've hated that ski since day 1, can't get it to turn at all. Years ago, I was a 32 off skier, 35 on a really good day and really want to get back out there. I'm 6'2" 205, 34mph and would welcome your suggestions. I would like to stay under $700 if possible. Thanks
  • KRoundyKRoundy Posts: 417 Crazy Baller
    @eddie_roberts_jr - Is that true for my 2015 Senate Lithium as well (that it is simply a stretched 69")? And after reading Jay's comment I suddenly want to try out a 2017 Senate...
  • ALPJrALPJr Posts: 2,159 Mega Baller
    edited July 2017
    @76S&S I was on a 68" Phantom for 15 years. Killer ski, turns on a dime and fast as hell for that era. Just updated to new ski last year. That Phantom earned it's resting place. Sounds like you may have a set-up issue.
  • 76S&S76S&S Posts: 101 Baller
    @ALPJr It truly could be a setup issue. Do you have or know where I could get some setup numbers? Also do you think a 70" is too long now that I'm at 205? And my apologies to @Eddie Roberts.
  • eddie_roberts_jreddie_roberts_jr Posts: 450 Water Ski Industry Professional
    All 70" Senates are stretched 69s. If you are having a tough time turning the 70" Phantom try setting the fin at .820" depth, 2.485" depth and 6.875 length w tips. That could help but you are kind of light for that ski.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,021 Mega Baller
    @76S&S at 205 lbs you slot nicely in to a 68" ski. As Eddie indicated the 70 is a lot of ski for your size. I skied a 68" Vapor Lithium at 230 lbs without an issue. On there are some options that would be a good fit for you under $700 for the ski. 68s tend to be a little more rare but I looked and there are a few options there.
    Mark Shaffer
  • 76S&S76S&S Posts: 101 Baller
    @eddie_roberts_jr @Chef23 Thanks for the input guys, I really do appreciate it. I read on here a ton but seldom post. Thanks for helping out a BoS "ghost" member.
  • KRoundyKRoundy Posts: 417 Crazy Baller
    @srr5008 As @SkiJay said, I'd cautiously avoid going too small at your size. If you lose a bunch of weight it will be an excuse to go buy a new ski! I know that my prize for hitting my goal weight will be a new, shorter, ski! :) Good luck and let us know how you do!

    As for getting pulled out the front - it helps for us big guys to have a somewhat slower pull-up. Have the driver start with not too much throttle and then slowly just keep rolling it forward as you gain speed. You have a lot of mass to both accelerate and also work to get on plane. F=MA (Force = Mass*Acceleration), right? Your (and my) "M" is much greater than others, for the force needed (by the boat and our hands/arms) is much greater. Slowing down the "A" will help with the force part. Just my .02 cents and some recent learnings.

    Keep on skiing, try our some new larger high end skis and let us know how it works!
  • eddie_roberts_jreddie_roberts_jr Posts: 450 Water Ski Industry Professional
    Meant to say 71" Senates are stretched 69s. Also meant to type .820 DFT.
  • srr5008srr5008 Posts: 13 Baller
    Well I know that I got some mixed results on ski lengths, but after talking to the guys at H2O Pro Shop (couldn't get a hold of anyone at Performance Ski) and talking to people directly at Radar Skis I went with the 69" Senate Alloy. Will report back next week once it's in and let everyone know what I think!
  • 34mph34mph Posts: 209 Baller
    I sec the 2017 senate lithium . I just skied one for the second time today and is night and day better for then my smaller high end ski. This ski is for real! best radar I have been on in a while. Made every pass this am when I have been struggling on my other high end ski all summer !
  • blinddogblinddog Posts: 51 Baller
    At your size and not running the course, I would get a 69" Connelly V, not the Carbon V. Barts and Water Ski World both have blanks for $399. That's going to be a huge improvement over the ski you're using and for the price you can't beat it. It's a little wider than most skis so its easier to get out of the water and less fatigue for you which means more time behind the boat. It's a great intermediate slalom course ski, but if you're not skiing the course, to spend more money than that is a waste.
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