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Is My Elite Hurting My Progress?


jipster43
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Alright. I'll just cut to the chase. I've waterskied recreationally since I was seven and been a competitive snow skier, subsequently I had a horribly exaggerated perception of my waterskiing ability. Horribly exaggerated! So I bought a 65.5 O'brien Elite (I'm 5'5" & 135lbs) with Fogman Diablos. Then I videotaped myself skiing and realized I was breaking at the waist on my offside and simply wasn't the skier I thought I was. I went to a Marcus Brown Clinic and he immediately brought my speed down to 30mph and started working on getting more front foot pressure - no attempts at the course at all. A week later I tore my rotator cuff and couldn't practice anything for a couple of months. And then I skied with Jodi Fisher for four days and he took my speed all the way down to 26mph and removed all the lean in my turns and made me steer my ski to create the turn. By the end of the four days I was skiing the course at 15 off/28mph. Now that I have a more accurate idea of my abilities, I'm concerned that I may be undermining my progress skiing on the Elite. Is that true and if so, which ski would be the best for me? The Senate, Senate C, Connelly V, F1X, Coefficient, or the Coefficient SL? Thanks a ton! Also, is there a way to create paragraphs? JP :)
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Just hitting enter should create a paragraph.  I will now demonstrate! :)

When working on fundamentals, I believe the ski doesn't make much difference.  And at your weight, I think that's a long enough ski for slower speeds.

Unless you think you'd net a profit from replacing your ski with a cheaper one, I wouldn't worry about it.

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Thanks! I was gonna' email Jodi to verify whether or not he thought I should move to a different ski, but now that I think about it, he would have DEFINITELY told me I was on the wrong ski! I think it would have sounded something like this, "JP you're going to have to switch skis before I say another word to you!"

 

Thanks again!

 

JP :)

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The ski is fine.

Someday I will write a guide for paragraphs and videos.... for now just go ski

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Btw, for rather different reasons*, I also had a horribly exaggerated impression of my waterskiing ability in about 1990.  I was running -35* at home and had even completed -38* a time or two.

Going to a ski school and backing down to 28 mph was not only humbling, but actually probably launched my desire to be a "serious" slalom skier.  Suddenly I understood just how much more there was to learn, and that made me hungry!

*I was skiing behind an outboard that could only average 32mph through the course ("how different could 36 be"?), and my rope was about 4 feet too long thanks to a tow harness, and my course was about 3 feet too narrow thanks to severely bent PVC (without sub-buoys to keep them straight).  And 70 hp can be pulled off dramatically just when you need to, even if it does average out to 32 mph.

Other than that...

In retrospect it's pretty darn comical that I didn't understand how RIDICULOUSLY easier all of those flaws in my setup were making it.  Any one of those things ALONE would probably give 2 rope lengths.  See Dr. Jim Michaels for evidence...

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I would say that if the Elite is set up properly, and I'm sure Mr Brown and Mr Fisher would have looked at that, and if you are not letting yourself break at the waist (i.e. you are keeping the hips up), then the Elite will help you progress as rapidly as any other ski.  However, some of the skis you have mentioned have more surface area than an equivalent length Elite, so they are more tolerant of "inappropriate" body positioning.  Keep the load (body weight combined with the pull from the boat) centered over your feet, and the Elite will do anything you ask of it.

Coming from another ex-competitive snow skier, the two biggest problems in transitioning between the two sports is keeping the hips up to the handle (with lots of bent knee to compensate) rather than a slightly bent waist, and realizing that your shoulders don't always need to be squared-off to the "fall line" (i.e. the boat). 

Make sure that you check other threads for all the theories on counter-rotation, and particularly, the thread(s) on handle control.  It may be premature at this stage in your development, but it is easier to break a (muscle memory) habit before it gets too ingrained, then to wait until you are so comfortable with your "technique" that it keeps you from progressing. 

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One more....

Hopefully this was covered by someone that you have already talked with:  In the past, there was some debate about which palm should be up and which should be down, and whether it mattered at all.  I used to be among those that felt that it didn't matter (back to my earlier comment about being comfortable with your "technique").  I am now a convert in believing that it can make a huge difference (biomechanically). 

 Right foot forward=left palm up, and vice-versa.

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If you are at a plateau, try different skis. If a bunch of skiers are having success with a particular ski, it's worth a try. New equipment can really jump start your interest and understanding of skiing. Plus, if you've lost confidence in your ski it's hard to get it back.
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Boody,

I have certainly gone through a lot of different skis over the past few years (Of course, I think Horton has all of us beaten in that area!) and totally agree with you that different skis can help if you hit a plateau.  However, you would probably agree that Jipster43 is just trying to develop a stable technique and that introducing another variable might be more of a hindrance.  (Just wait until he starts to delve into the arcane "science" of fin tuning!)  My opinion is that, for now, he should stick with what he has, continue to get coaching and, whenever possible, get video of his skiing.  Oh, and keep reading and contributing to the different threads on Ball of Spray!

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Thanks fer all the input fellas!  I actually love my Elite - especially on my good side.  I used to blow out my tail on my off side until I dialed in the fin settings - which was a huge PITA.  I have never gotten the factory settings spot on, and I'm never certain I'm measuring properly - especially my DFT, but when I get it as close to factory specs as possible it really works for me.  The only suggestion Jodi made about my setup was to move my bindings forward about a 1/4 inch which I've done, but now I'm not sure what to do about my fin settings if anything.

 

Up until I was 16, I was able to ski quite often, but after that summer it's been a real hassle getting pulls and finding ski partners.  This summer has been all  about rectifying that and now I'm a lifer.  I've got my own boat ('93 Prostar S&S) and a growing number of ski pals, so you can expect to be annoyed and possibly offended by my incessant idiocy (Eric Lee is my BOS hero after all!) for some time to come. 

 

JP :)

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Sixam675,

Thanks for the info!  Those settings are definitely what work best for me, but I wasn't sure if I needed to compensate when I move my bindings forward 1/4 inch...  something I wasn't too keen to do because I felt comfortable with my settings, but Jodi was pretty insistent that I move 'em.

 

Chef,

 

I've switched to Firefox for BOS and that seems to work for me.  Safari doesn't.

 

Thanks again!

 

JP :)

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I just skied on my Elite for the first time after moving the binders up 1/4" and leaving the stock fin settings.  It was awesome.  My off side didn't exist.  It literally became my favorite side - well at least a very thrilling side anyways.  I just had to think about turning and the ski responded.  I don't know if I've ironed out all my shortcomings, but my confidence is riding a huge stoke.  It was under really choppy conditions and no fin blowout at all.  If this ski is wrong for me, I don't wanna' be right.  Credit Jodi Fisher once again!  That feller knows of what he speaks.

 JP :)

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