Pro Q&A: Andy Mapple
Andy Mapple has dominated slalom like no other skier in history. We could take up this whole page listing his titles and world records from the past 20 years, but you already know about all that. Let's just cut to his boat-buying advice.
Do you recommend skiing behind a boat as part of the test drive?
Yeah, you can sit in the boat and go 34 or 36 mph and look at the wake, but it might feel totally different when you ski behind it. I've been around skiing a long time, but if I'm in a boat, I can't exactly tell where the skier would be crossing the wake at 22 off or 28 off or whatever. So you can't make a judgment call just by seeing the wake.
How can you best evaluate the driving characteristics?
Look at the ease of maneuverability. Does the boat turn well both ways? Does it track real well? When the skier pulls, does the boat start to wander? All boats are going to move some, but how quickly does it come back to where you want it to be? If you let go of the wheel, does the boat turn to the right or the left or does it keep going straight? Is there a lot of bow rise? Especially on a small man-made lake, you've got to get up and around the turn island real quick. You want to see where you're going all the time.
You helped develop the Total Surface Control2 hull for Correct Craft. What was your biggest contribution?
I don't know, a lot of people worked on that. They named me product manager for it, so I helped work between production and engineering. I got in there, I was manipulating the surface of the boat and filing on it, doing different things. But my main part of it was testing and evaluating the wakes.
Why do you think those wakes are so great?
The hull has good lift characteristics so it disperses a minimum amount of water. The cup design on the back breaks up the rooster tail. There are wakes that look cleaner than our wake, but anytime you see something that looks very clean, it's very solid because it has a large volume of water. That's something you have to ski over, whereas our wakes you actually go through. Anytime you see white water, there's a lot of air in that, which makes it very soft.
Is it possible for someone to buy the same Ski Nautique 196 model that you have, or have you made any modifications to your personal boat?
No, I haven't done anything. Anybody who buys the boat, their boat is probably cleaner than mine [laughs]. I love my boat. I actually just placed my order for an '04. I'll get it, set up Perfect Pass, and that's it – away she goes to get hammered for a few years.
Aside from the new boat, what do you have in store for 2004?
I'm still skiing, still planning to work just like I have in the past. I'm working on a new ski with O'Brien. And I'll hit the road again in May with the Correct Craft clinics, visiting dealers, trying to be a good ambassador and keep things going.