Laying into a long, carving turn, throwing up a thick wall of water, is what draws water skiers to the lake day after day. So, if it’s all about the turn, it’s time to fill in the gaps. In this water ski how to, Trent Finlayson shares four secrets that will make your turns fast, consistent and, if nothing else, spectacular.
Let it go
Given you have not overloaded the line or leaned excessively hard during your approach to the wakes, the reach will feel completely natural. You want to begin your reach as you feel yourself become free from the pull of the boat. This occurs as your path begins to run parallel to the boat.
Counter-rotate with purpose
Counter-rotation is a good thing, but you must address your real goal for doing so. In rotating your shoulders to the outside of the turn, you are in affect rotating your hips as well. However, excessive upper body counter-rotation can rock your weight too far back. Instead of contorting your upper body in an attempt to move your hips, concentrate on leading the turn with your inside hip. This will have your lower body facing the outside of the turn on your heelside (onside) turn. On your toeside (offside) turn, this will have your hips facing square down the lake. This will limit your upper body movement, helping you remain balanced atop your ski.
Wait it out
The finish of the turn is where nearly every missed pass in the slalom course comes unraveled. In an attempt to quickly get to the other side of the course, skiers often begin to load the rope before their turn has fully completed. The result is a rapid loss of speed and poor angle into the wakes. To keep from rotating your upper body into the turn, concentrate on where you feel the line’s tension first. If you rotate your upper body into the turn you will feel load on your lead arm first (left arm at ball one). Your goal is to keep your upper body still as you ski through the turn, feeling load on your trailing arm first (your right arm at ball one). This will keep you from rotating and reaching for the handle and ensure you have completed your turn before loading the line.
As you begin your reach, think about feeding the handle smoothly toward your direction of travel, as opposed to “dumping” your handle to the inside of the turn. This will help keep your hips and shoulders square and prevent you from engaging your inside edge too aggressively too soon.