by Trent Finlayson
A craftsman is only as good as his tools. This statement hold true when it comes to water skiers and their gear. While many skiers are cautious to hold their skis accountable for their performance shortcomings, a poorly tuned ski – or the wrong ski altogether – can seriously hinder your progress. Though not all bad habits can be eradicated through equipment adjustments, the following tips can at least make sure you are not banging your head against the wall.
Problem: No matter how wide and early I am for my onside turn, I always end up in a wheelie at the finish.
Solution: A wheelie occurs when the tip of your ski engages too early and aggressively as you come into the turn. To keep your tip looser, try moving your fin forward.
Problem: Even when I’m early, I feel like I cannot finish my turn until I am well past the buoy. I need my ski to initiate the turn earlier.
Solution: When you are early to the buoy line yet unable to initiate the turn, the tail of your ski has likely not traveled wider than your tip. Meaning you need your tail to continue to drift outward to your apex. Moving your fin back will slightly level your ski, allowing you to apex earlier.
Problem: I’m having trouble retaining my width as I come in to my turn. At times, I even finish the turn before the buoy.
Solution: The sooner the tip of your ski engages, the sooner your ski will start to pull through the turn. Try moving your bindings back slightly to slow your edge change, which will allow you to drift outward longer.
Problem: I’m feeling consistently narrow and fast as I approach my offside turn. My onside turn is powerful, but I lose it all on the opposite side.
Solution: There is a good chance you are actually getting too much angle through your heelside (onside) turn. Too much angle will lead to excessive load on the line, making it nearly impossible to maintain your outward direction through your transition. Try moving your fin back a bit. This will slow your onside turn, allowing you to set maintainable cross-course angle.
Problem: On my better jumps, I feel as though I may go out the front as I press forward into my flight. I feel great off the ramp, but even in a headwind I don’t feel balanced in the air.
Solution: You may be a candidate for longer skis. The correct length ski will allow you to press forward through your flight in a relaxed manner. The extra tip support in the air will give you the confidence to squeeze every inch out of your jump.
Problem: No matter how much I concentrate on edging all the way through the crest, I still feel ‘stuck’ to the water on my wake tricks. I just can’t get off the wake cleanly .
Solution: It sounds like your rope is too long. As you get further from the boat, the water gets softer. The softer wakes will leave you feeling glued to the water. Shorten your rope one foot at a time until the wakes feel crisp and smooth.