Finally got back out on the water yesterday after a 3 week hiatus from slalom. I did get out to the Jan's Fans event last weekend, which is a barefooting event raising money for the Illinois MS Society. With work, home remodeling, and crappy winds every weekend it's been hard to get out this spring. This Saturday was no better relative to the winds- 10-15mph from the NNE, which basically blows out my public lakes since they have no good protected shoreline from that direction.
Regardless, I needed to get out on the Triumph again and get some more feedback on the ski for my review. I also wanted to test the boat since I had replaced the front seal on the transmission last week. The water temp was about 64 degrees, so the drysuits are officially put away until Fall.
I started out at 28mph and took some nice and easy cuts across the wake. I never really broke free of the boat, nor did I really get the ski on edge for the first few runs up and down the lake. Without the course, I find it hard to push myself into a rhythm on open water, plus I'm still a little gun-shy about the off-side wake cross after my eardrum blowout OTF fall this spring. When you put yourself through that much pain, your brain naturally makes you back off a bit, regardless of how much you try not to think about it. I just tried to focus on a more "West Coast" wake cross (trailing butt cheek down) and a more athletic, weight-on-the-balls-of-the-feet stance as I tooled around behind the boat.
For my 2nd set, I bumped the speed up to 30mph on a whim. This changed everything. I skied at 30 all year last year and had said goodbye to 28mph until I went to ski school this year. At 185lbs, I really feel much more comfortable at 30, and I feel like this 28mph spell had somewhat rattled my confidence by just being so different from 30. The ski came alive and I finally broke into a nice rhythm, carving nice and easy turns on the Triumph. We're talking about a night-and-day difference here. I distinctly recall letting my arm out gradually during the turns and looking right down the line to the boat's pylon as I carved. The line felt tight through the turns and life was good!
So, I'll keep it at 30 for the rest of the spring and see what happens. One thing I didn't focus on is keeping the front ankle flexed, so I'll try to remember that for next time. I'm eager to get the Triumph into the course so I can really get a good feel for it. I'll shoot for that next weekend if possible.
ScarletArrow, 5/13/2007: Hey Scooby! Where are you?
Glad to hear you got back out Joel, I'm looking forward to comparing notes.
Terry, 5/14/2007: If you are having problems with the "trailing butt cheek" try focusing on more counter rotation into the wakes. I have a problem with the "butt cheek" concept. However, the more you can counter the closer the leading hip gets to the handle and forward. I think this gives the same effect as lowering the trailing butt cheek.
Bob Mac, 5/16/2007: I am A skier who has done a lot of open water skiing, and have been taking lessons to learn to ski the course. So far personal best is 4 buoys, 15 off at 30 mph. Skiing at Catalina Ski in the Dominican Republic with coach Mario Pogosi. He has taught me all the mechanics of making good turns, and says now its just a matter of adjusting my timing. Ski on a D3X5, like you I bought a Triumph, thinking it would be better at the lower speeds, but ended up going back to the D3, since my coach says I skied better on it. The Triumph does feel lively, but the downside is it is more stable and seems to need a little more work to initiate the turn. I'll bet it is a nice open water ski, and it is probably ok in the course one you adapt to the differences in skiing on it. But for the most part I have learned that there is no majic wand to skiing the course, you just have to use good technique crossing the wakes, and turning, each component affects the other, good turns lead to good angle, good position crossing the wakes equals good speed, which equals good width at the buoys. Looking forward to skiing open water on the Triumph next week at my lake in New hampshire. Bob Mac
Chris, 5/18/2007: Hi Joel,It is nice for me to read all the good stuff and I'm looking forward to go for practice but the water temp in Geneva Switzerland is still 50°F too cold for me but I love your site.Good for me too runing the course at 30mph 15"off. I'll give some news when the water is warmer and pics too. See you guys and have fun. The skier runs the ski not the ski makes the skier....
Mike, 5/20/2007: Just back from Jodi's place. Great coaching by Thomas Asher and a couple sets with Jodi. Still consider myself an aspiring beginner. Wanted some warm water to train and had to have an attitude of submitting to what they wanted me to do in order to advance later. Just a fifteen off skier right now. They made me wait until day three until letting me ski at 34 mph. First thing Jodi did was change my grip and helped me to understand why and what it would do for me later on if I stayed with it. So at 32 we did it for 2 1/2 days straight. Really only about 4 sets as the dock was full of pros. Then Thomas Asher had me ski the last 3 passes of my 4th set at 34 concentrating on consistancy at the gate on not to change anything but focus on bringing my offside hip forward around 2/4/6. Made the last 2 passes at 34 wide and early on a new Nomad RC. Day 4/5 the boat slowed down to 32 as Tom Asher told me it was time for learning a one handed gate. The last three sets of my journey were at 32 until the 1 handed gate looked like a 1 handed gate. It was good to get out of my own way and I enjoyed the trip and my new Nomad RC. The last day was just one set before flying back to the west coast and Jodi was kind enough to mount up a Fisher for me to try. Zoom