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How to build a turn island that is not made of floating tires

looking for a new idea on how to make a floating turn island that is not tires.


  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,181 Mega Baller
    Would a water trampoline (under inflated) with louvered panels sloping on the sides into the water work?'brien-super-bouncer-inflatable-island-bounce-platform-2015/185999P.html

    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • ScottScottScottScott Posts: 1,100 Mega Baller
    What is the purpose? Do you have a short setup that needs to curl in? We have a couple locations we ski on that are short enough we have to curl in, but don't have an island. We pull out at end of course after gates (usually to the right, but one site pulls to the left at one end) so we drop off to the side about even with the 55s. Then loop in to start. Inside of a turn doesn't create rollers too bad, it doesn't really mess up the course for the next pass.
  • storm34storm34 Posts: 85 Baller
    Following as I'm interested to see what others have created. We spin at each end of our club lake (1,700' per Google Earth) and after 3-4 passes have rollers down the lake.

    My assumption is you shouldn't have rollers if you can follow and "ideal boat path" into the course. My assumption of an "ideal boat path" consists of the boat pulling the skier out of the water running parallel to the course in the opposite direction then makes a tight turn until aligned with the course and straight into the 55's.

    South end of our lake allows for an "ideal boat path" with the boat starting parallel to the course, making a tight turn and driving straight into the 55's. This side doesn't seem to be the issue.

    The shoreline on the North end cuts into the boat path on the not allowing for the "ideal boat path" before the 55's. Driver starts with bow pointed slightly away from the course, makes a tight turn and then follows the shoreline before aligning with the 55's. I'd venture to guess this is our issue.

    I vaguely remember having seen a floating turn island on the north end of this lake when I was really young. Seemed to be like a few dock floats with plywood hanging off the sides allowing wakes to dissipate before running down the lake.

  • JordanJordan Posts: 1,257 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    This looks interesting....maybe it could be configured in a circle?
  • Stevie BoyStevie Boy Posts: 2,210 ★★★★Quad Panda Award Recipient ★★★★
    I ski a couple of short and long lakes that do not have turn islands, if you are not spinning either end, do they actually serve a purpose, from what I have worked over the years of listening to people, turn islands can become a bit of a headache maintenace wise, would that be correct ?

    Addicted To Carbon Fibre

  • jedgelljedgell Posts: 364 Baller
    Can you change to an 8 buoy course? That should give you the extra length needed to ski straight in. Would be tight, but think you could do it.
    Justin Edgell - Bozeman, MT
  • Stevie BoyStevie Boy Posts: 2,210 ★★★★Quad Panda Award Recipient ★★★★
    edited February 2019
    Champions Lake uses 8 bouy course but has remote controlled gate openers to pull the turn bouy down with cable running out to a pulley at the base of the bouy either end, operated from the boat, gives you a 6 bouy course or you can leave the turn bouy up for less advanced skiers, works really well on a short lake.
    I think Champions is about 1750 feet
    The whole thing runs off of 12v batteries and solar power to keep them charged up, I would like to add that on each gate opening post there is a bright white LED light that illuminates when the the bouy submersion has been activated so that you know it is doing its thing, time delay lets the bouy come back to the surface.

    Addicted To Carbon Fibre

  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    We ski a site that is short with a 6 buoy course and we spin into it without turn islands and we get a little backwash off a dam at one end but no issues with the wakes from the boats. A turn island might reduce the back wash but if you don't have the backwash issue I am not sure why you would put islands in.
    Mark Shaffer
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,977 Infinite Pandas
    Islands helping prevent backwash is a myth. Prop rollers, reflection off the island and reflection off the shore can actually create more water movement than no islands. Add the safety issues of hitting the island, the maintenance issues and the lack of boat turn options to realize that islands are a disaster.

    Put in a noodle as a drop buoy to get a consistent start stop point that works best for your lake. Problem solved!

    Islands suck!

  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 3,171 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    8 ball course configured like Champion/LaPoint’s works like a charm. As a driver, I kind of hate Islands unless they are pretty big. Nothing spells trouble like a junior skier at 19mph on a 75’ line with a small island and tight turns.
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
  • syndicatesyndicate Posts: 21 Baller
    Erik you know the lake it where western regional was last year and the Big Dawg. we are trying to replace the tire island on the south end of the main lake with something else. We don't have a roller problem just want something that looks better than tires
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,977 Infinite Pandas
    @syndicate The tires at Laku don't look ugly, they look scary! I definitely don't want to hit one.

    Water trampolines are really fun. @MISkier 's idea to park one of those as an island is pretty sound. Easily movable for optimizing the path for slalom or jump or pulling it where the kids can play on it. Soft if you hit it. Might be a problem if hitting it turns into a game. Some islands can be OK.

  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 3,171 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    My experience with water trampolines is that they tend to tip over in heavy wind, or at least to drag their anchors considerable distances. While easier than a jump, they are a PITA to right.
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,649 Mega Baller
    I would think you could basically build a swim raft maybe a hex shape.

    Anything like this is best anchored by buying one of those 100 lb concrete septic tank lids with the cast in rebar chain to the raft just long enough for high water then a chain to an augers. Wave and wind will walk the concrete around the augers but it stays put.
  • addkerraddkerr Posts: 181 Baller
    I'm actually building a floating island at the moment. We have an 8 buoy currently but switching to 6 with turn island to give better wind conditions. Iv tried every possible way to turn without an island but you always get down course rollers. Will post photos as I go with updates. My design is basically just a floating octagon with a hollow centre. Cranked down to some big anchors.
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,977 Infinite Pandas
    @addkerr So Broadside and Okeeheelee, a couple sites of the best Nationals, need islands to keep the water nice? Experience doesn't support that either site is deficient in water quality. My short island free lakes get zero rollers from the turns. Note that I trick in them and often spin as well and get no turn rollers.

    We set down deep and come straight back in (actually the initial start is about 10 degrees off straight in but easy to adjust by the 55s). We had members who liked to simulate the turns at lakes with islands. That worked as well. I like coming straight in. That is very nice for the skier as the focus can be strictly on the course in front of you (no distractions of surviving the island and the set down visualization gets the sun, wind and water matching the direction you are going). A drop buoy is critical for a tournament. Last year, the drop buoy went missing at Nationals and the setups became inconsistent (that lake was quite long so it's not so critical in a short setup - the end drives the drop pretty consistently).

    If you have a windy site straight down the lake, a breakwater might be useful. While still a serious obstacle for the skiers, it could reduce the wind fetch. I haven't seen a nicely engineered windbreak breakwater but that might help. Move it out of the way when the windy season ends.

    Islands suck.


  • addkerraddkerr Posts: 181 Baller
    Little update on the island build.
    The weather has halted a lot of welding progress but the base of the octagon is taking shape. A lot of maths was needed to get all lengths and angles. I knew school maths was needed in life haha.

    Im confident the structure will be together just fine. Im now stuck on what to clad the sides with. Will post more updates when the rain stops and lets us weld.

  • BongoBongo Posts: 46 Baller
    So after reading @eleeski on multiple occasions, I convinced myself and (I think) my lake co-owner to avoid turn islands on the lake we bought and turned into a ski lake.

    It'd seem to me the point of a turn island is to (a) direct traffic flow and (b) to either absorb or redirect the waves.

    Traffic flow could be handled by a drop buoy or small floating raft. Or mentally mark a virtual spot on the water, if most drivers and skiers are familiar with the lake.

    I don't see how a floating raft, whether soft-sided or not, could either absorb much wave energy or redirect much energy. I expect something with perforations, to mimic the affect of rip-rap, and that doesn't bob up-and-down could do so to a limit extent. Even then, rip-rap along a permanent island to redirect the wave energy in a dozen little ripples would be way, way better. But maybe beyond feasible for most lakes unless built in.

    My $0.02 aside @addkerr, if you mount a tiki hut and bar on top of that island, I'll spot skiers all day long for you.

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