The Syndicate Works 02 has a wide forebody, giving the skier great support and a stable platform to stand on. The wider forebody is balanced with a high-volume concave and a more aggressive tip rocker for increased maneuverability, good acceleration, tight wrapping turn on the finish of the buoy.
In 2014 Radar introduced the Vapor. Every year since then Chris Rossi and his team of elite skiers have refined, iterated, and refined further in search of perfection. The 2023 Vapor is arguably the most sublime Vapor yet.
The Radar Vapor provides an improbable combination of speed and grip. Traditionally ski designers are forced to trade grip for speed or the other way around. The Vapor is extremely fast and casts the skier far out in front of the ball. At the same time, the ski gives the skier a secure connection to the water and absolutely dependable turns.
Ball to wakes
From the ball to the wakes the Vapor generates as much or more speed and angle as any ski ever. For optimal results, skiers should simply ride the line from side to side without adding load. If the skier increases their lean approaching the wakes the ski will pull further away from the boat creating additional speed and load.
Wakes to ball
Through the wakes, the Vapor requires relatively less physical strength than most skis. Reducing the typical amount of work needed at the centerline allows the skier to flow away from the wakes with additional control. This speed also creates additional time and space in front of the next ball.
Approaching the ball, the Vapor’s roll stability is predictable and comfortable. The ski is also tolerant to various amounts of movement fore and aft.
It is generally expected that a very fast ski will not provide a large margin of error at the ball but the Vapor does just that. When things get frantic the skier can drive forward and make the ski change direction on a dime but the ski will happily rotate with the skier's weight distribution more neutral. The skier only needs to roll the ski to the inside and the ski will flow under the line. Turns on both sides are practically automatic and they finish with a sharp carving arc.
Settings used for this review minimized tail slide and emphasized the ski’s carving nature. The ski builds additional angle as it moves towards the wakes so a faster / shaper rotation at the ball is unnecessary and perhaps counterproductive.
Because this ski is so fast across the course and always gets wide, it would be easy for a skier to lose focus on their connection to the boat. A skier’s focus on connection after the second wake improves the turns & flow of the Vapor considerably. The above review is based on how the ski performed when my primary focus was keeping the line tight as far past edge change as possible. The ski was not “bad” when I was less disciplined with the handle but it was noticeably better when I was more disciplined.
32 off and longer
Some skis that are designed for very short lines are also good for mid & lower-range skiers and some are not. The attributes that make the Vapor so good when the rope is very short also make it a great choice for skiers who ski longer lines and slower speeds. Skiers at any skill range need more angle and speed without instability. That is the 2023 Radar Vapor in a nutshell.
Will Asher wanted a ski he could harness energy efficiently for a controlled up-swing into the buoy. To attack without hesitation and stay connected over his ski. The Syndicate Works 01 is an evolution of his favorite Omega and A1 shapes. “Whoever gets the highest on the boat runs the most buoys” -Will Asher
When the news broke a month ago that Nate Smith was out with an ankle injury for at least a few events, many would have imagined the level of competition in men’s slalom skiing would go down a touch. This prediction was, to say the least, wide of the mark. In the last three weeks over as many tournaments we have seen a back and forth battle between Will Asher and Freddie Winter that will live long in the memory, especially this latest event at the Travers Grand Prix.
Asher started the weekend off with the best ever score in a pro tournament - 2@43off (notwithstanding Smith’s 3@43 from Swiss Pro in 2017 - subsequently ruled out for boat path issues) and setting a new European Record in the process. Following him in qualifying was his fellow Brit whose record he had just taken, Freddie Winter, who made it two 41offs in a row (scoring 0.5@43off). It would not be a long wait for a repeat.
With Asher and Winter left to ski in the finals, Jon Travers, Thomas Degasperi and Brando Caruso were all piled up at 4@41off - a score that would have won the MasterCraft Pro and Malibu Open of the last two weeks. Winter pushed on with his 3rd 41off pass of the event, taking the lead with 1@43off, setting Asher a huge task. As Asher came in everyone on site new that a piece of history was in the offing: a pro title had never been decided at 43off. As Asher rounded 6 it became clear that record would be broken and, after Asher took no chances securing 1@43, a new one was set up as the first ever run-off starting at 41off was about to occur.
Winter, going out first due to his inferior seed from the qualifying rounds, was the first ever skier to start at 41off. Typically, he attacked but blew the tail, setting Asher the relatively easy task of taking a full 1 buoy for the title, which he managed without any fuss.
Asher, perhaps the only athlete in living memory across any sport to have his best ever season the same year he turned 40, took his fourth title of the season and his second of 8 days after Malibu Open last week. Winter, 2nd, will lick his wounds as the highest scoring loser ever but has followed his title at MasterCraft Pro two weeks ago with two 2nd places in run-offs with Will Asher after tying in the finals. Caruso, unfortunately pushed off his first Tour podium of the year by countback to qualifying at MasterCraft Pro, took 3rd as his qualifying score put him ahead of Degasperi and Travers.
The level in the women’s field was just as impressive. The second round of qualifying was the highest scoring in history as three women scored 2@41off. Going into the final, the recently unassailable triumvirate of Regina Jaquess, Jaimee Bull and Whitney McClintock-Rini, each with a title in the last three events were set to battle it out for the win. Allie Nicholson however, cemented her highest scoring event with a 4@39off, a score McClintock-Rini, unusually, could not match after a strange tail slide at 3@39off. Bull, on her home lake and the venue for her World Championship win 51 weeks ago, narrowly missed 2@41off with Jaquess left to ski, leaving the door ever so slightly open. Jaquess made amends for uncharacteristic mistakes at MasterCraft Pro and California Pro-Am as she took her second title in a week with an imperious 2@41off.
Asher’s win and Bull’s 2nd place confirmed their possession of the 2022 Waterski Pro Tour titles. However the positions below are all to play for with one event left. The Miami Pro - in four weekends time - will finish out the Pro Tour season in style.
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