The Wakeye camera mount is in my opinion the Cadillac of camera mounts. The build quality of the carbon fiber and aluminum mount far exceeds expectations. The system accommodates GoPro, iPhones and traditional video cameras. For more details see http://www.wakeye.com/

All I really care about is what does the video look like? Below is some footage I shot yesterday. I think the quality of the video is excellent. My skiing could use some work. 

 

The goal of a pylon video mount is to film a skier as smoothly and accurately as possible – hands free. A photographer with some experience and attention to detail will always do a better job. Since you cannot always depend on your boat crew to know the difference between video camera and a ham sandwich, a pylon mounted video mount comes in pretty handy. Also, if you want your observer to watch you ski, you do not want them looking through a camera.

The more accurately the mount tracks the skier, the more the camera can be zoomed in without the skier moving out of the frame at the ball.

To fairly compare the mounts ability to track the skier, I used a camera with zoom fixed at 120 degrees. This is too wide of an angle for skiing analysis but allows for a fair comparison of the mounts. As you will see, each mount delivers relatively consistent results in terms of tracking the skier.

The typical problems with a pylon video mounts is not staying centered on the skier at the ball and excessive camera shake after the ball. Both of the units in the below video handle camera shake extremely well and tracked the skiers consistently. At approximately 4 times the cost, the Wakeye is more accurate at tracking the skier. The Ski-Doc mount is inexpensive, simple and gets the job done. Which mount is best? You will have to decide for yourself.

There are many more feature differences not addressed here. Visit the two web sites for more information http://theskidoc.com/ & http://www.wakeye.com/

The first skier is @Rico shot with the Ski-Doc Camera Mount. The second skier is @CharlieSkiWest shot with the Wakeye.
NOTE: The numbers on the video do not represent an angle or anything other than a reference point.

 

SkDoc

I tried out the Ski-Doc Camera Mount yesterday for the first time. Once I found the right amount of zoom it works like a charm. I think the video speaks for itself.

 http://theskidoc.com/

The Blacktec 2 suit from Camaro is the warmest and the most comfortable wetsuit that I have ever skied in. I was very surprised to find out that the Blacktec is not a replacement for the well-known "Modetec Titanium". Instead, it is actually a less expensive alternative. Visit Camaro.at

Camaro

I asked Thomas Roiser of Camaro to shed some light on the technology behind the Blacktec. He told me the following information:

For the Blacktec, we "...started our development on this suit by developing a new material (we build the material ourselves from mother sheets as opposed to other manufacturers who buy standard material and then build it into a suit). We slice out of a very soft mother sheet of neoprene and leave the cell structure open instead of using a regular smooth skin material. This allows us to keep 100 % of the natural stretch of the base neoprene (any lining or covering of the surface that closes the cells, reduces stretch). We then line it very carefully with an inner liner taking utmost care that as little of the stretch is lost but at the same time reducing it to an amount where the material cannot be overstretched."

The major difference between the Blacktec and Titanium suits is that the Titanium is thinner and is glued but not stitched. The Titanium suit uses Camaro's proprietary seamless bonding process that includes gluing the suit first and then heat sealing it with a specially developed 5-layer tape. The Blacktec is a little thicker than the Titanium suit it can be glued and blind stitched. This provides a durable water tight seam and makes the suit more economical.

http://www.camaro.at/index_e.php

Every few years a new ski design comes out that surpasses the hype. Before anyone heard the name NANO ONE the rumor mill was buzzing about some new ski from Goode. More intriguing was the feedback from skiers who were not previously on a Goode ski. As the ski made its way into the hands of more and more skiers it became clear that this was something new and perhaps something special.


review-2As a ski reviewer I sincerely attempt to be as unbiased as I can. Considering that I equaled my personal best the first time I rode the NANO ONE makes being unbiased harder. To make this review more challenging, the NANO ONE breaks with design convention and defies accepted attribute descriptions.
The NANO ONE comes in a 65.25” ski for skiers from 110 pounds to 190 pounds and a 66.75” ski for bigger skiers. The shape of the ski is the result of Nick Parsons searching for a design that would support his 6’4 and 205 pound frame but turn like a short ski.

The general feel
The NANO ONE is supremely forgiving and stable. This amount of predictability and stability in a ski usually means that there has been a compromise and some performance has been sacrificed. In this case that is not true. At a skier’s hardest passes, when the most mistakes are made, is where the NANO ONE comes to life and allows the skier to round a few more balls.

The Definition of Speed
My two definitions of a fast ski are “a ski that achieves width with less than optimal rope tension from the second wake out” and “a ski that requires less physical strength and effort to get from side to side”. Generally speaking fast skis tend to be finicky at the apex of the turn and are less stable approaching the ball.
Slower skis are often described as having a more stable and tactile feel approaching the ball. Especially at 34mph, slower skis require better management of rope tension to achieve width and more strength to get from side to side.
The NANO ONE does not really fit into these constraints. Like a fast ski, it achieves ample width without perfect rope tension and it is does not require a lot of physical strength to get from side to ski. Approaching the ball and through the turn it feels like a slow ski. At this point the NANO ONE feels surprisingly stable under foot and nearly always carves a tight radius without perfect inputs from the skier.review

Toe Side (Off Side) Turn
Weight distribution into the offside turn on the NANO ONE is less critical than on other ultra-high end skis. This ski tracks rather than slides from the apex to the hook up giving the skier confidence that the tail will not break loose. It can be pushed and ridden aggressively but with patient technique it provides very calm tight arcs.
Perhaps most importantly, the NANO ONE maintains a constant tip height around the ball. Turns blend to leans with very little disruption in the transition (wheelie or flare). This allows the ski to carry speed around the ball and back to the inside. With more speed on hand at the end of the turn, less needs to be generated to get to the next ball.

Heel Side (On Side) Turn
Even more so than on the Off Side the NANO ONE is completely dependable on the On Side. Turn radii on the On Side are short and result in ample angle. At harder passes when things get frantic this ski will allow you to move aggressively to the inside and crank off a 90 degree turn if needed.
As with Off Side the NANO ONE’s ride attitude is constant in and out of the ball and results in smooth transitions from turn to pull. To state it another way, this ski rarely stalls at the end of the turn. It simply keeps moving in the direction it is pointed.

From Ball to Second Wake
With less disruptive transitions between turn and lean, the distance from the ball to the second wake is covered quickly and calmly. Cross course angle and speed at the first wake seem to be automatic.

BestOfFrom Second Wake to Ball
This is where the magic of the NANO ONE become especially apparent. Ease of width, a feeling of stability and forgiveness are not generally found in the same slalom ski. This ski not only gets out wide without perfect rope management skills but it gives the skier a stable platform to stand on.
Because of the ski’s user friendliness approaching the ball, skiers are less apt to make mistakes and the mistakes that are made are less likely to be fatal.


Quirks and Notes

I find that I need a wider and more aggressive gate on the NANO ONE than on other skis.
If there was a BallOfSpray Ski of the Year Award it would clearly go to the Goode NANO ONE for 2012.
For more on the design philosophy of the NANO ONE see http://www.ballofspray.com/component/content/article/35-ballofspray-water-ski-news/1490-goode-nano-one

 

RogueThe Jobe brand has existed for over 30 years. At one time or another, world records have been set on Jobe skis and world titles have been contested. The brand has gone through a number of changes since the glory days of the 1600 or Carbon V slalom skis. Today, Jobe has re-entered the US high end slalom ski market with the Rogue.

The hallmark of the Rogue is its forgiveness and stability. This is a ski that is well suited to a very wide range of skiers.  Until the rope gets shorter than the width of the course, the Rogue is hard to beat.  The basic shape of the ski makes it ride high on the water.  The moderate flex of the ski makes it turn fast and predictably.

Technical skiing will make any ski perform better. Most ultra high end skis have a small performance envelope.   In contrast, the Rogue is amazingly tolerant of imperfect skiing.

Off Side turns are as dependable as any ski on the market. The Rogue turns best with the skier’s weight centered or forward, but it can be pushed from the tail. When it is necessary to change direction in a hurry, the Rogue complies and exits the turn calmly and with plenty of angle.

On Side turns on the Rogue are practically automatic and are simply a joy. The ski flows out and back with as much or as little intensity is needed. The ski does not seem to care how much or how little front foot pressure is applied.  Angle at exit of On Side is never an issue.

Edge changes and the path out to the ball line on both sides are stable and smooth. Width is easily achieved without unusual amounts of effort.

These forgiving attributes do come at a price. When it comes time to go for one more ball with reckless abandon the Rogue seems be missing some cross course speed. Ninety degree turns followed by hair on fire wake crossings seem to overwhelm the ski at the limit. The counter point to this is that the Rogue may get you farther down the rope before things get frantic.  
Rogue 2

For me, if I exit 2 ball on my hardest pass (38 off) in good position, I expect to run the pass. On the Rogue, I exited 2 ball in good position more often than normal, but then I ran the pass less often than I expected. It is a trade off. Do you want a ski that will give your more chances or the ski that helps you seal the deal when you get it right?

As a general purpose slalom ski, the Rogue can hold its own against any ski on the industry today.  For skiers just starting to shorten the rope up to 35 off, the forgiving behavior of the Rogue perhaps overshadows its short comings.

Final note:  The fit and finish of the ski is excellent with one exception:  the inserts on the test ski that Jobe sent to me were all crooked. Jobe informed me that this was a known issue and would be fixed on future skis.

 

The 2012 S2 is the second ski from the HO Syndicate product line in the “Speed” or S range. The S2 was shaped by a five time world champion , Bob LaPoint, with input from his brother, Kris LaPoint, as well as the HO Syndicate pro team.

 

Every high end ski can be described as performing better when the skier does all the right things. Some skis challenge the skier to be very technical, and some skis allow the easier to do all the right things. The S2 forgives sloppy skiing, but more importantly, the S2 makes it easier to do the right things.

From the Second Wake to the ball

The S2 maintains angle off the second wake and draws a path wide of and in front of the ball as consistently as any ski ever made. As with any ski, staying connected to the boat on the way out to the ball line will result in additional width, but if you struggle with this skill, the S2 will still get you surprisingly wide.

More than any ski that I can recall, the S2 rides with a constant attitude on the water. Forward and backward weight shifts by the skier seem to be muted. To say this another way, the S2 is extremely stable in the pre-turn.  This attribute makes it easier for the skier to think about what he/she is doing.

From the ball to the Second wake

Unless pushed with excessive aggression, the S2 will exit the ball with the tip down and head across course without any fuss. Should the skier apply extra lean on the way to the wakes, the S2 will deliver a surprising burst of speed. 

 

The Radar Vice is perhaps the most overlooked high end ski on the market today. With a list price of $750, who would think that this ski should be considered against skis costing nearly twice as much? I was skeptical, and in the end, I was impressed.

This ski is made from the exact same mold as Radar’s flagship ski the Strada. To put it another way, the shape of the Vice is identical to the Strada. The difference is only materials. The Strada is made from the highest tech and most expensive materials. The Vice is made from materials that are less “cutting edge” and are not as light.   

With a blend of carbon fiber and fiberglass, along with a polyurethane core, the Vice has dampening properties that more expensive skis do not.  An analogy for a more damp ski is that it rides like a car with softer suspension. Edge change transitions are smoother and slower resulting in a longer and wider path from the wakes to the ball. Speed through the course is more constant. The Vice feels exceptionally comfortable and stable underfoot approaching the ball.

The trade off is that, after a major mistake, a damp ski like the Vice does not accelerate as fast as an all carbon and PVC ski like the Strada. On a Strada, if you do something ill advised at one ball, you can scramble and recover by three ball. Conversely, on a Vice, if you do something ill advised making up ground is much more difficult. The other side of this argument is that you may make less mistakes on a more stable ski like the Vice.

As with the Strada, the Vice is a very stable ski. Turns on both sides are consistent and even. On side turns are practically automatic and off side turns only require a little patience and a centered stance.

If money is not the issue, perhaps the Strada is better for deep shortline. For longer rope lengths and/or slower speeds, the Vice is an easy choice. 

The 2012 Connelly Prophecy can trace its linage back to the Connelly F1 and earlier versions of the Prophecy. While its predecessors were radical in terms of skiing attributes, the new Prophecy is more user-friendly and mainstream.  With a top graphic that is a mix of carbon fiber and hard wood, this ski lets you know that it is not too conventional. 

 

General Feel:

With a revised tunnel, bevels, rocker and flex from the original Prophecy, this ski is more stable and much faster.  In terms of skier effort and technical skills needed to get wide at short rope lengths, this ski is a vast improvement over previous versions.

The personality of the new prophecy becomes even more apparent the first time you round a buoy.

Toe Side (Off Side) Turn

When approaching the off side and standing on the middle of the ski, the Prophecy draws a dependable and smooth arc wide of the ball. As with previous high end Connellys, this ski requires that the skier focus on keeping their shoulders level approaching the apex.  Past the apex, this ski will continue to acquire substantial angle provided the skier does not prematurely rotate their shoulders toward the wakes. Patience is required exiting off side turns on this ski.

My first introduction to SansRival was last winter over beers in a hotel bar in Vienna, Austria with the company owner, Alex Munninger.  This charismatic Austrian businessman was explaining to me how he loved water skiing, and how he was building a ski in Germany that was, literally, without rival.  At that point, I had never seen one of these German made Austrian skis nor had I met anyone who had skied on one. I had no idea who the design team was or if this company was for real.
Now fast forward to late July of this year. FedEx delivered a ski box that contained what is the most cosmetically beautiful ski I had ever seen.  A flawless carbon fiber weave bottom has been done before, but the top of the SR2 takes it one step further with a deep blue glaze over the carbon that needs to be seen to be understood. The crisp red and white logo in the top coat is simple and elegant. From tip to tail, the SR2 shows the manufactures attention to detail.

When the time came to mount bindings on the test ski, I found the inserts to be unusually far back on the ski. After a month with the ski, this is the only design flaw that I have found. I presume this has been remedied by the factory for future skis, and to be fair, this ski may be a demo because of this issue.  I was able to get my bindings where they needed to be mounted; thus, this did not present a problem for me. (Update: The factory has confirmed that there was an issue with the binding inserts position. This has been fixed. )

General feel:
The SR2 encourages the skier to take a deep breath and to ski a little easier than most skis. It gets plenty of angle, gets unquestionably wide, and performs with minimal drama.  It is odd to think of a short line slalom ski as being particularly undemanding, yet the SR2 is that exactly.  Every ski on earth works better when the skier is more technical, and certain skis will punish a skier less for their mistakes.  The SR2 is not only forgiving; it is tolerant as well.

Toe Side (Off Side) Turn
This ski’s basic stability makes the skier feel comfortable driving forward into the apex of the turn. As with all skis, more front foot pressure leads to shaper turns, but the SR2 is less demanding than most skis in this regard. The resulting turns are generally a smooth arc that ends inside the ball line. The tail of the ski never feels lose allowing turns that are comfortable and dependable - never radical.

Heel Side (On Side) Turn
Unlike many of the current top skis, the SR2 allows the skier to stay back approaching the on side turn. This is clearly not the recommended technique, but it is refreshing to ride a ski that is easy going.  With correct technique and front foot pressure, the resulting turns are smooth arcs similar to the Off Side. Turns with heavy back foot pressure are not as smooth, but it is nice be able to rotate off the back foot when things get ugly.

In the last few years, D3 has made skis at opposite ends of the spectrum:  so called “fast skis” like the Z7 and then deeper riding skis like the X5 and X7. The fast skis are known for requiring less  physical effort, gaining width with ease and turning aggressively .The deeper riding skis are known for carving smooth arcs around the ball and a more tactual feel.
 

General Feel:
With the Fusion, D3 set out to combine the best attributes of the Z7 and the X7. From the Z, they wanted the speed and width. Form the X, they wanted the carving turns and stability. The result is brilliant.
 

Toe Side (Off Side) Turn
Approaching and exiting the off side, the Fusion draws a continuous arc out and around the ball. The ski is very tolerant of skier mistakes and finds the right path with minimum drama. Unless pushed aggressively, the ski blends the finish of the turn and the start of the acceleration stage better than most skis.
 

Heel Side (On Side) Turn
On Side turns have a tighter radius with more front foot pressure, but the Fusion is reasonably tolerant to extra back foot pressure. With weight centered and head up, this ski turns symmetrically on both sides.

The HO Syndicate A2 is the second of HO’s “A” or “Angle” series. Its predecessor, the A1, is one of the most popular skis in recent history.  Fans of the A1 said the off side turn was ultra-forgiving, and the ski was stable and easy to ride.  Detractors of the A1 said the ski was not overly fast, and it was slow turning at the on side turn.  For the A2, the design team, lead by Bob LaPoint, has taken the proven design of the A1 and refined it into an even better ski.


General Feel:
The A2 is a calm, predictable, and balanced ski. It waits for skier input and then does exactly what it is commanded.  It is easy to ski technically correct on a ski that inspires confidence. The A2 is confidence inspiring. 

Razor slalom water ski review ballofspray john hortonIn 2007, the Fisher #1 stormed the Independent Ski Tests. The test team was enthusiastic and excited about the new ski from Austria. Unfortunately, economic pressures and changes within Fischer took the ski off the market before many were seen in the US. In 2009, an updated version of the ski again became available under the name Razor.

In terms of technology, materials and construction, the Fischer and the Razor are identical. The Razor has a slightly modified flex but is dimensionally the same as the Fischer.

Some additional information about the history of the ski can be found at http://ow.ly/4VdgU

General feel:

The Razor is not what my father would call a “babysitter ski”. It is not a calm, relaxed, over-stable ski for the masses. It is a fire - breathing, radical angle generating monster slalom ski. It is different. It is aggressive. It is a fantastic short line slalom ski.