Need some slalom technique advice

kirkbauerkirkbauer Posts: 59 Baller
OK, please be gentle. Even though I've been skiing for almost 40 years now, I took a 30 year break, and am only just getting back into it. I have a new boat, new ski, I'm out of shape, etc, etc. Also, I have never done a course before, and, unfortunately, probably won't be doing one any time soon.

But, what I would like to do is work on my technique for getting better and quicker cuts. I took a video today and I hesitantly am sharing it (because I'm probably doing all kinds of things wrong). Feel free to skip to the half-way mark -- the beginning of the video I was waiting for some smoother water.

The first thing I notice is my hands/arms. I do this thing where I lift them up, trying to manage the slack in the rope from the turn. It doesn't seem right to be, but I'm unclear what I should be doing instead?

PS - I'm skiing at 32mph, and the rope length I picked to put me in the best spot for wake crossing at this speed. However, for this video, I have a bunch of extra people in the boat, so the wake shifted, and therefore I'm not crossing at the best possible spot.


  • WishWish Posts: 8,587 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited July 10
    Ski taller. And then ski taller. And finally ski taller.

    Seriously though, try to get much taller (stacked). If u have to take a few steps back like shorter width from side to side do so.

    Whip drills and Lean drills will help too. .

    Whip drill

    Lean drill

    The taller (more stacked) u r in the Lean drill will be felt by how far up on the side of the boat u get. Lose the stack and you will drop back. Regain it and u will move further forward up in the boat.

    And when u get better at it, you will find skiing to be physically easier on your body while the ski travels faster then when u were not.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • jjackkrashjjackkrash Posts: 1,243 Mega Baller
    What Wish said. And listen to all the Spraymakers podcasts from this season.

    Taller means move hips forward, chest up, stand tall and get the weight off the back foot and stacked into a line balanced over your front binding. When tall and stacked, turn your hips into the handle and try and keep the handle connected to your hips instead of driving or stearing the ski with your back foot. And then stay tall and stacked and connected to the handle and keep the ski moving.

    At least that's what I'm working on.
  • kirkbauerkirkbauer Posts: 59 Baller
    This is great. I have plenty to work on. I'll check back eventually with a progress video. Thank you!
  • MastercrafterMastercrafter Posts: 476 Mega Baller
    edited July 11
    I might be way off on this, but here are my thoughts:

    In my opinion, the shorter the rope, the more you have to nail your edge change, pre-turn, make a decent turn, then be in a good position for the boat to pick you up and swing you across. If you pull long, or pull again after the wakes (which you are doing), I find that 28 and shorter just ends up being a mess with a lot of slack. For me, that slack mess happens both in the course and free skiing. Many people say that 28 is the start of shortline skiing.

    Your Prostar has what are arguably the best wakes at almost all lengths and speeds, especially slow speeds and longer rope lengths. I’d try -15. 32mph is fine, but also don’t be afraid to go slower, so you don’t feel the need to let up at the wakes and pull after. It takes time to build confidence at speed.

    I would work on holding position through the wakes, and as soon as you’re past the trough and over the second wake, change your edge. You can still continue to cast outwards a bit on your inside turning edge. Roll your ankles forward, soften your knees a bit, and stand proud (hips and chest up) with the majority of your weight on your front foot, and when you’ve bled off some speed with your pre-turn, start your turn, let the ski turn for you, and, as smoothly as possible, connect back with the handle and head back towards the wakes. Easier said than done, and I often mess it up pretty good.

    Pulling long and going right into a turn doesn’t allow the ski to slow down and turn how it wants, and creates the slack/hard hits you’re dealing with.

    We’ve all “been there done that” and since you recently had a thread trying to learn deep water starts, you’re obviously progressing nicely. Keep at it, and have fun!

  • ReallyGottaSkiReallyGottaSki Posts: 377 Crazy Baller
    Fundamentally, you are standing on your ski like a combo pair, that must be corrected before you go left, nor right.

    This should be your default position after you get up., riding straight. loose this stance, stop, correct it before trying anything else else reinforce bad stance

    Do not pull outside the last wake, that is where your high hands are coming from

    width is a result of energy from the cut. Stand tall on flexed ankles. You should feel your torso between your upper arms. if not your azz is behind you before you even start.
    run narrow as you can until you build that energy
  • MitchellMMitchellM Posts: 173 Solid Baller
    I cannot comment on your skiing, but great deepwater start.

    I just spent a week skiing with my wife behind a strong boat. I had a bit of an epiphany when she pulled me over on a few starts and thought of your issues with your new boat. We settled on an almost two part start where she pulled me for 1-2 seconds at low throttle and then smoothly accelerated after my ski planed. Worked like a charm every time and was very easy on my back.
  • KRoundyKRoundy Posts: 647 Crazy Baller
    @kirkbauer We are all friends here and happy to share our knowledge or advice.

    Here's my two cents: The advice to listen to SprayMakers is solid because the main reason you are getting slack is that you are not generating speed from your turn and into the middle of the wakes. What I see you doing is turning, not generating much speed, standing up to absorb the wakes, and then pulling again once you are past the wakes. That "second pull" past the wakes is what is causing that slack. I would suggest that you pull out a LOT wider at the start (roughly twice as far as you pull out now) and think about building speed so that you are still accelerating through that first wake. Then, past the second wake change edges and get wide for that next turn and then do it again.

    Also - you should put this on GiveGo and get some pro advice! Then you can post it here and you might win a GoPro. :)
  • kirkbauerkirkbauer Posts: 59 Baller
    OK, here is a new video. Early on I tried a lean and you can see how far over I can get. Then I tried to do more gradual turns using my hips instead of my rear foot to turn the ski. I also tried to stand up more "stacked" and I think my stance has improved, however I still see that I'm leaning forward sometimes. So obviously I need to keep working on that.

    The wake seems worse and I'm not sure why. I'm going to try to actually use the ballast tank on the observer side since only my wife is in the boat for this run. Perhaps I should consider a different speed and/or rope length? I feel that I get very unstable going over the wake.

  • MastercrafterMastercrafter Posts: 476 Mega Baller
    edited August 1
    Your lean in the beginning of the video looks pretty good. Now.. put that position and all that energy into a wake crossing. It's easier said than done of course, but that's kind of what it takes. I do a lot wrong when I ski but I'll toss in a pic of my lean into the wakes at the end of this post as an example.

    With that said, your wake feels big because rather than skiing through it on your cutting edge, your essentially stopping at it, avoiding it, or skiing really flat across it. I was on combo skis yesterday and was reminded how horrible wakes are if you're not cutting through them.. even with a great boat (same as yours)

    Once you're able to carry more speed and angle through the wakes, you can use some of that built up energy to ski wider, and allow the ski to cast outside of your center of mass. That lets the ski turn like it's designed to, without having to force it with funny movements.

    Notice in Seth Stishers Whip Drill video posted above by Wish: he's always on an edge of his ski. Either his cutting edge (from turn through wakes) or his turning edge (after wakes through turn). On the contrary, you're basically standing straight on top of your ski, pretty flat in the water, almost all the time. Doing so keeps the ski from working as it should.

    Just my $0.02 and I'm certainly not a coach.. I hope this at least makes a little sense. I was exactly where you were at in 2019 so it's pretty fresh in my memory. I'm still continually trying to improve.

    Also, what speed were you at? Don't be afraid to experiment and try -15/28 or -15/30.. it's pretty smooth back there.... I've been there a ton. -28 isn't bad if you cut through with some energy. -32 gets real smooth but it's a pretty short line to learn basics with.

  • ReallyGottaSkiReallyGottaSki Posts: 377 Crazy Baller
    Your in the right direction since the last snip
    but still kinda riding it like a surfboard, eg just pushing down, loosey goosey.

    stiffen up isometrially, and control not only your core but also your legs, control amount of extension by engaging the back of your leg not just the front, and fully control the ski. this also reinforces the knee

    Hips forward, put your chest inbetween your upper arms till you can feel it there

    Your front-leg torso angle is still closed down. open it up to beyond flat, 181 degrees, that is what locks the hip joint so you don't fold on the bump, pull-out, nor cut.

    Sometimes whats missed in beyond-beginner instruction is the amount of tension in the legs and core to control the ski's attitude and angles with high precision, especially in the wakes
  • tjs1295tjs1295 Posts: 161 Baller
    That whip drill video is so misleading. It should be called free skiing perfection, or something along those lines. It might work as a drill for course skiing, but I'd be one of the best skiers in the area if I could ski that smooth. I'd probably ride my mountain bike a lot more if I could simply do that drill half as well as Seth does. Because without a course, there wouldn't be much point trying to improve on that open water flawless skiing.
  • ETskierETskier Posts: 211 Solid Baller
    Undeniable truth in water skiing: the only time your butt should be behind your shoulders is when you're getting up.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 3,021 Mega Baller
    Let us know when you get some new video, @kirkbauer
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • kirkbauerkirkbauer Posts: 59 Baller
    Thanks, everybody. I have had a lack of skiing due to weather, travel, and driver availability, so I'll get working on this soon.
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