With a contest best of 2 at 43 off, Chris Parrish has tapped into a fresh train of thought for his 41s this year, and as of early November he’s run five 41 off passes in three consecutive tournaments. “For me, it all comes down to two things,” Parrish reveals. “Gate speed and my load management.” Parrish looks to ensure that he is carrying adequate speed through his traditional two-handed gate approach, specifically on his glide and turn-in. “If my speed dies in my glide, I end up narrow and cut too hard into the wakes. This will jack me into ball 1 every time.” After his gate, Parrish concentrates solely on keeping his load on the rope manageable. “If I feel light on the rope as I cross the wakes, I feel the pass is doable. If I load the line too aggressively, I will have to check my speed into the turn and try to find the rope again. You can get away with that at 39, but not at 41.” By Trent Finlayson
CP’S 41-OFF-APPROVED GATE SHOT
1. From a balanced position next to the left wake, initiate your pullout by dropping your hip aggressively toward ball 2.
2. To initiate your transition onto a flat ski, slowly rise up over both feet while keeping your front knee soft.
3. Keep your arms relaxed and low near your hips through your glide.
4. To initiate the turn-in, slide your right hip toward the gate balls. Keep your shoulders open to the boat to avoid rotating into the turn.
Twenty-one-year-old Nate Smith dominated the 2012 pro season with five major event victories, and ran 41 off in record events for a total of eight times. It’s the seeming ease with which he runs the pass that has the ski world buzzing. For Smith, line control on his gates and patience in the course are the two keys that guide him closer to the world record. “I try to just replicate the same rhythm and intensity on my gate that I would ideally have elsewhere in the pass. If I start too hard, my rhythm will be off .” Turning in from a wide point on the boat ensures that he doesn’t overmuscle it. After his gates, Smith narrows his focus on completely finishing his turns before he loads the line. “I try to keep my hips and shoulders squared down the course, into and all the way through the turn. This keeps me from rushing the turn or rotating my shoulders toward the wake and killing off my speed. I get the load much later this way, which gives me the appearance of being very light in the line.”
NATE’S PATH TO 41-OFF PATIENCE
1. Concentrate on maintaining pressure on your lead arm through your entire edge change.
2. As you rise tall into the turn, bring your weight forward over your front foot, and open your hips and shoulders down course.
3. As you arch your back through the turn, concentrate on skiing your outside hip all the way back to the handle. Avoid pulling the handle back to your hips.
4. Wait until your ski has come all the way through the turn, and is pointing in the direction you wish to take it across the wakes, before you load the line.