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Adjusting for Cold "Fast" Water - Revisited


SkiJay
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As we move from summer into winter or from winter into summer, depending on which hemisphere you live on, recent discussions in other threads are veering off topic to deal with this timely topic. Its and interesting discussion because just about every setup change you can make has skiers going in different directions for different reasons.

 

Let's start with some facts: as water cools, both viscosity and surface tension increase significantly. It also gets denser, but the density change is insignificant. For convenience, let's call cooler water "thicker." Yet as the water cools and thickens up, we call it "faster." I believe that it is physically impossible for "thicker" water (more viscous & higher surface tension) to be faster. Yes, there is less ski in the water, but you are dragging the same amount of weight/load through a thicker liquid. There must be more drag.

 

I am in the camp that believes that the term "faster" refers to the elevated sensation of speed that occurs when we find ourselves running narrow at the ball. It isn't actually faster, but it sure feels faster. While nothing can recapture the ease of skiing in warm summer water, there are a number of setup changes that can help regain some of this lost width and space, and I hope we touch on all of them in this thread.

 

For the record, doing absolutely nothing to your setup is a legitimate strategy too. A good skier can ski around nearly any setup handicap. I just think it's more interesting to try to figure out the puzzle and remove as many unnecessary handicaps as I can find. Neither way is right or wrong, they're just different legitimate perspectives.

 

Okay, I'd like to lead off with wing angle, because the decision to increase or decrease wing angle as the water cools seems to split the waterskiing community in two. As the water gets colder, we start calling it "faster." and understandably, a lot of skiers increase their wing angles to slow things back down. Recall that it "feels" fast because we are narrow, screaming right at the ball and facing a sharp hard turn. Fortunately, carrying more wing angle will help us make this sharp turn, and it may help enough that it seems we've made the right change. But, this is a case of treating a symptom rather than a cause.

 

More wing angle makes the edge change more abrupt which sends us narrower at the ball. It reduces some of the ski's tail support so the back of the ski drifts wide easier which causes us to turn narrower still. And the drag from its low position on the fin acts as a lever, tipping us up and over the front of our skis in the pre-turn, which makes the ski turn even more. In short, more wing angle takes narrow and makes it narrower. Good thing the wing is steeper at this point because we'll need all the help we can get cranking a hard turn at the ball!

 

If instead, we were to reduce the wing angle, then the edge change will be slightly slower creating a little width, and it will be easier to keep the ski from dragging behind us and engaging the front of the ski during the pre-turn, regaining some more of that lost width. With more width and space, the speed will feel slower, and the turn at the ball can be rounder and less frantic with better rope control. It doesn't sound right, but reducing the wing angle in faster water can slow things down. What a great sport!

 

So let the debate begin!

 

BTW, this thread isn't just about wing angle. We can also address the loss of width that comes with colder water by moving the fin back, making it deeper, making it shorter, moving your bindings back, or maybe you've found that it works for you to do the exact opposite of some of the above. If you make changes for cooling water, what is your favorite adjustment, and try to share why you feel it works?

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@Steven_Haines I love the "I think.???" part of your post. I don't want this thread to be about right or wrong.

 

The most interesting part of ski tuning is the "why." Why did you choose the changes that you made? What were you trying to change in the way your ski was behaving as the water cooled down?

 

I know exactly why I make each change. I have a model in my head that has evolved through having these conversations and reading about and experimenting with this subject as much as I possibly can. And the coolest part is that just when I think I fully get it, someone or something exposes another perspective that shines new understanding on the subject.

 

@Killer I get that each of your changes replaces some of the dwindling width (correct me if that's not why), but removing the wing altogether is an interesting twist. Do you never ski with a wing or do you just remove it as the water cools ... and why?

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@skijay I reduced the DFT to get the tip down in combination with some added depth (maybe 5 thou) I'm not into the micro adjustment fin tinkering, I just moved it before my set and it worked well. Really felt like I slowed everything down, to the point that I had to ask the driver if I was going 36??

 

Yes I do think I lost some width, but at 22 and 28 off where I am at its not a huge issue, might take a bit of depth away for my next set and see how that works. Actually the DFT is now right about stock ( I had it reduced), while depth is deeper by maybe 10 thou from stock.

 

I have never used a wing on this ski. I was on an A1 previous and had the wing on last season, then took it off with great results this year. However, up until about a month ago I skied at 34.2mph, now training at 36, but I'm down a rope length (6 buoys on average) from my 34speed. When I start nailing my 28off pass regularaly at 36 and into -32 more I will try the wing on the A2. Most of the skiers at our site don't use a wing, but most ski max 34.2.

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Last week I skied in MN in 60 degree water, then Florida over the weekend in 80 degree water, then back to MN yesterday. Skied comparable scores in both locations with no adjustments. It does usually take me a set when I change water temps to figure out what the ski is doing, after that, it feels normal.
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In the past, I've tried some wing adjustments. For extremely warm water, I like the feel of less wing -- it helpd take away that sluggish feeling that was messing with my timing. This made me think that for cold water I should try more wing. That was not successful. I suppose it's possible that less wing is the answer for BOTH unusually warm and unusually cold water. Haven't tried that.

 

"Usually" I have found I ski just fine on 60 degree water -- sometimes quite well. This year I'm having some trouble with it, so considering tinkering with some settings. If nothing else, I might learn something.

 

The biggest symptom I'm having is tip rise, so I'm looking at it more from the perspective of what addresses THAT than specifically thinking about cold water.

 

Firstly, I remeasured my fin and found it had move by about 5 thousandths: shorter and shallower. That's really not a lot, but it probably is enough to notice, so before I try anything else, I put it back to exactly where it was (well, within 1 thousandth -- I don't have the patience to do better).

 

I'm pretty novice at fin adjustments, so please jump in if any of the following seem wrong.

The options that sound like they might address tip rise are:

- Bindings forward. I may consider this, although it's a real pain to move bindings and I may be too lazy to do somethnig like that just to ski better in practice with no tournaments coming up.

- Fin back. This is probably the best option for an adjustment, since others have found this to work on cold water. (?)

- Longer fin / tip down. I would sure think this should place more pressure toward the tip based on Horton's "ski as lever" concept, but I can't quickly find any confirmation.

- More depth. Again more fin in the water seems to mean the water pushes the back upward and therefore the tip down. But I'd be a little worried that this would produce much more angle than I could hold behind the boat.

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Funny... I've been reading on this topic a lot lately wondering if I should touch the fin. I actually just moved my bindings forward a little because I felt like I kept riding the tail too much and couldn't get the tip of the ski down going across the wake without feeling like I was out of position. It seemed to help although I didn't think about water temp. Our water temp has dropped 15° or so in the last month.
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@Than: for tip rise in colder water, I have been successful by adding tip to the fin.

 

@Than: I am starting to think that wing angle maximizes at ~ 75 degrees F and you reduce it on each side of that point due to different reasons. Water vis, hardness, etc that cause the ski to change attitudes or riding depth due to temperature related effects.

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Perhaps one thing to consider is where the testing for these ski's is conducted. If HO developed prototypes (the majority of the on water time at least) at their site in WA, and the water temp is hovering between 70 and 75 F (which might be warm for that body of water), the settings they "get" would be taylored to that temperature. Just some food for thought.

 

On the other hand - believing that new ski's go through a LOT of R&D before they are released, I wouldn't be surprised if the mfgr's test in warm (80-95 degree F) water either. Then the stock settings are a compilation of all the results used.

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@AB I'm starting to think (and DW seems to be too) that sometimes "assume the opposite in cold" doesn't actually work. Sometimes a similar solution can fix the seemingly unrelated problems of very warm water and very cold water.

 

@DW I'm encouraged that adding tip has worked for you, because that's what I already did when I un-did the small move that somehow occured. I was kinda thinking this would be the right direction to help my problems, which then makes it all the more likely that I can "blame" my recent slump on the unintended fin move. Anything to avoid having to blame it on ME! :-)

 

Hopefully try this tonight, but I may be facing almost unskiable backwash tonight. (Think Men 3 Nationals 2011...)

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It sounds like at least everybody does agree that there is a difference in the way things "feel" in different temperature water. Some argue that it's a myth. I've noticed that rather than immediately move to adjustments I try to relax that much more in cold water and try to soften the load on the rope. Because cold water is "faster" you seem to accelerate easier and sooner so, to me, managing speed is the first thing to be conscious of.

 

There is also a theory that elevation plays a role in the way things "feel" in ski speed. The claim is that atmospheric pressure at sea level will cause the ski to feel slower because of more pressure on the ski than there would be at higher elevations. Has anybody experienced this?

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Wow! In the time it took me to write the following, there have been six new posts! Excellent Stuff too!!!

 

A common theme showing up so far is that when the water cools, the ski tends to ride with its tip higher. This makes sense. As the water cools, it becomes more viscous and has more surface tension. The whole ski will ride higher. With less of the front of the ski in the water, you are effectively on a shorter, narrower ski, and that’s going to feel unstable. At any given speed, unstable always “feels” faster than stable.

 

Adding fin depth adds stability, and more stability feels slower. Moving the fin back forces the skier to use more of the front of the ski, effectively making the ski longer. A longer ski feels more stable, and more stability feels slower. In addition, both of these changes slow down the edge change which recaptures some of the lost width caused by cooler water, and again, more width feels slower.

 

So when @Killer deepened his fin and moved it back, the ski got more stable, and skied a bit wider. Although there is a chance his “longer” ski was generating a slightly higher actual speed, it “felt” so much slower he didn’t believe the boat speed.

 

@Razorskier1 is a smok’n good skier who proves that a good skier can ski a decent setup well in pretty much any conditions, and even though being able to set up your own ski to your personal style is still a valid and interesting skill to develop, it’s not absolutely necessary to skiing success.

 

@Than_Bogan Your wing observation is EXACTLY the kind of model-shifting nugget I’m hoping to find in this thread. The wing does two main things: 1) it affects the amount of drag, and 2) it affects how much of the front of the ski gets levered into the water. I’ve tested and learned that less wing in colder water helps me to regain some lost width. So it stands to reason that more wing will help regain some of the ski’s ability to turn which has been compromised by the lower viscosity warm water. But … if you aren’t having any trouble turning in the warm water and the ski is so slow it’s messing with your feel and timing, less wing should help.

 

This is a good example of prioritizing what compromise you are willing to make with a change (since all changes are compromises one way or another). It also underlines how important it is to understand why we are making a change. Understanding how each change works and why you are choosing it is way better than consulting someone else’s list of standard fixes for standard problems.

 

Paradigm shift of the day goes to Than for: “Depending on your priority of compromises, less wing can help in both hot and cold water.” Beautiful!

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Anyone know if those GPS watches are accurate enough to measure a couple passes through the course? Comparing a series of warm water runs to cold water runs might be a very scientific way to determine what really happens when the water temperature changes. Might be able to tell us if we are actually going faster into the buoy, faster through the wakes, turns are slower, or whether we're just skiing cross course with less angle making everything feel faster.

 

Edit: I just did a little research and the answer is no. I doubt any skier would be able to purchase a device accurate enough to tell us this information.

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@gginco I've experienced a version of that going back and forth between Calgary at 3,500' asl and Florida at 27' asl. The air in Florida is denser and plays into slowing you at the ball. Predator Bay in Calgary is about as fast a ski site as there is, and the thinner air is likely a part of that. (I can hit a golfball 30 yards further in Calgary too :)
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@jfw432 I've actually tried that with the Garmin 910XT, one of the latest greatest GPS watches available. It turns out that its maximum sample rate is waaaaay too slow. About all you can hope for is that it lucks into a sample at the fastest part of your pass once or twice in an entire set. We need something from Pi Data Systems ... and a healthy budget to buy it with.
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I used to move the fin back. Now I'm not much of a believer in fin adjusting. You always sacrifice something to get something else.

 

When the water gets colder, I just go later and hold handle a touch longer. But yes, I agree that cold water is slower. Been making that argument for a while. No one seems to believe it. Nice explanation!

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I seem to take a long time (months) to get a ski dialed but once I do, for me, it seems to be there. On my Fisher Orange, 4yrs, my fin/wing settings stayed the same. I did try other fin settings now and again but always migrated back the "magic" ones, they just worked. Only moved the bindings. Same thing with the Nano Mid Twist, just moved the bindings but not the fin/wing. Only caveat was I did reduce the wing in water over 90 on the Nano. Western Washington temps 50's to upper 70's usually. I quit if it gets in the 40's. Eastern WA and FL can get really warm.

For me seems once I get the ski to work the way I want, changing the fin is detrimental. Moving bindings forward or back seems to be effective to control how much ski in the water vs temp.

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@BRY Have you gotten good at taking it off and remounting it? I find that to be a pretty big pain in the ass, with lots of careful crowbarring (sp?) to get it off, and then the agony of trying to get it centered, and then a round of annoyingly loud dowel hammering to get it to relock.

 

But I've only done this a handful of times -- I'm sure I'd get much quicker at it with more repetition.

 

Also, how much do you move bindings and in what direction for water temp changes?

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With the Nano I got really good at adjusting everything, great but sensitive ski. I paid Goode the $ for thier kit (probably $10 at Harbor Freight). The crowbar (bent chisel looking thing), dowel and rubber hammer have been great. I use the crowbar diagonally accross the dowel to pop off the puzzle piece and then lift the corners of the plate. That gives me enough to grab with my hands and pull the whole thing off, one big rip. Front for moving forward and rear for moving back, keeps the other puzzle piece there for old position. I am well over 200 so I have everyting covered with 250 clear, except where the t-bolts are.

Putting back on I get it where I want it then slide it minutely to so Interlock seems stable. Almost wiggling it without moving till it feels good and lined up side to side. Once positioned I push with my thumbs on each corner, I usually get a good snap from a couple and a good moosh sound (tech term) from the others. I grab the hammer, head in my hand, and going back to front I push down to get "snaps" with the end of the handle, including inside the boot. If I get a snap I move a couple inches for the next push and usually get a snap again. Not sure the snap sound is necessary but makes me feel good. Once I go the length of the plate I go around every square inch I can get to and push with the end of the handle again. Holding the hammer by the head gives me something to grip and push on. I dont use the hammer to bang on the ski or the dowel. 2yrs with Interlock, no pre-releases. Usually don't come off, when I do it's pretty cool for the spectators.

 

I usually go in 1/8" increments, though I can get 1/16". I have my standard measurement for warm and mid, go forward for cold (below 65). But over 90 seems forward also? Thought I was crazy till the similar wing comment above. Don't ski the over 90 enough to realy know. I move till I get the ski coming through freely at the end of the turn but not too loose/fast or alternately sticky.

Wow, that was way longer than expected.

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@gginco Moving the plate can be precise and repeatable. The Interlock settle points dont move. It was a lengthy explaination but only takes a few minutes to do, and is spot on.

 

If moving the boots on the plate I don't think I could be precise in placing the front boot without removing the rear (PowerShell 5's) to measure from the tail. Then for each boot there is front/back, side to side and rotational positioning on top of spacing between boots. That all needs to stay the same for a simple front/back move. Also no way to verify the t-bolts are all the way up flat against the boot. I have to hold mine until tight. For me moving the boots seems more difficult and prone to error. But whatever works for you. To me being sure the move is precise and repeatable while not changing anything else is key.

 

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I think the whole tip riding higher thing is bit of a red herring.

 

How high the tip seems to be riding is really secondary to what is happening to our path through the course. Tip attitude is a symptom, a narrow path is a real problem, and we can get into trouble treating symptoms rather than the underlying problem.

 

In this case, treating the symptom is doing things like moving the bindings forward, or increasing the length of the fin. Yes, these will bring the tip down, but the tip's attitude isn't the problem. The problem is how overly effective the ski becomes at turning and stopping in cold viscous water. What used to be a nice soft pre-turn drifting wide of the ball becomes a hard narrow pre-turn on rails that won't drift out to the ball as easily.

 

If we treat the tip-high symptom by moving bindings forward or adding fin length, then we are helping a ski that is already turning too well to turn even more. If our ski won't drift wide as easily because it's running on rails, what we need to do is reduce how much the ski wants to turn so that the rails it is running on scribe a wider path.

 

What we need are changes like moving the fin back, moving the fin deeper, moving the bindings back, making the fin length shorter, or using less wing. We need a slower edge change and a broader pre-turn. Each of these choices help in different ways, so ideally, we should understand the compromises inherent to each option, and how to prioritize them given our personal technique, setup and challenges in each phase of the pass.

 

Or, we could just compensate with technique and force the ski to do what we want it to do rather than what it wants to do. Set-it-and-leave-it remains a valid choice.

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Reading through this thread, it occurs to me that one of the toughest parts of this whole tuning thing is isolating the main problem.

 

When the water gets cold, is it better to tune for more width, or to optimize the setup for a faster tighter turn given the tendency toward a narrow approach to the ball? Does the answer depend on the individual and the strengths and weaknesses of their technique?

 

If the preference is to tune for a tighter turn at the ball, then bindings forward and a longer fin are valid choices. And it helps to understand that the compromise inherent to these choices will be less width.

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@JoeMac Interesting! I wonder if the slightly bigger width on the N1 vs. traditional has something to do with why I'm feeling a tiny bit more cold water effect this year than I have in the past. That said, last night I'm 95% sure that I uncovered a significant technique flaw that I had let drift into my skiing, and everything felt much better after I addressed it. (The conditions were horrible, so no exciting scores to report, but it's easy to feel the difference between good and bad skiing.)

 

@OB I don't ski cold. I just wear more stuff. Drysuit does the job through the 50s, but below that I layer some underarmor Coldgear underneath. All of these configurations are surprisingly comfortable, and 2 of my 7 lifetime -38 completions were in mid-October. (If the water ever goes down and we lose this crazy backwash, I hope to get a few more this October!)

 

@SkiJay You and I aren't feeling many of the same things it seems, which of course is interesting unto itself. Firstly, lengthening a fin has never caused me to turn sharper -- exactly the opposite in fact. I slightly (re)lengthened my fin (to where it had been out of the box; no clue how it moved) before last night's set and the turn was noticeably slower, but also more under control and thus finishing at a better angle. MUCH more importantly, this move kept the tip down better, preventing me from slipping down course in a useless position. Thus I end up arriving earlier at the next buoy.

 

What I might call "turn balance" symptoms are the only thing I've ever been able to treat with a fin adjustment, so I wouldn't consider the tip rise to be a red herring at all. I'd consider it to be exactly the problem that I might be able to fix (and did, I think) with a fin adjustment.

 

Holy inexact science, Batman!!

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@Than_Bogan The length of the fin controls how much effort it takes to engage the tip of the ski. The longer it is, the easier the tip engages for a given input from the skier. This is most often described as a longer fin "puts more of the tip in the water," but actually, a longer fin makes it easier for the skier to put more ski tip in the water.

 

When we engage more ski tip, it makes the ski change edges quicker, pre-turn a little tighter, and finish at the ball more agressively. Put in too much length, and the tip can bite so hard at the finish of the turn that it breaks the skier at the waste, especially on the offside. I'm not making this stuff up, Than. This is one of the few relationships that is pretty mucy univerally agreed on.

 

There's a qualifyer. This is all assuming your fin's settings are in the ballpark to begin with. If your fin is out to lunch (likely not the case with anyone on this forum) then you can get unexpected results from similar changes.

 

I also don't think it's an "inexact" science. The skier presents an enormous and often overwhelming variable, but how the fin affects the ski's behavior is bound by the laws of physics. Ski tuning isn't going to make a big change to the way anyone skis. It's subtle. It's the pursuit of getting the ski to work "with" you as much as possible. The less your ski is trying to do something else, the more consistently you will ski.

 

 

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@scotchipman I agree that the makeup of the water it very different between where I ski in Florida and Canada, and this does make a difference. On the other hand, my Florida season starts in 85 degree water and I ride it into the 50s then back up into the 80s. My Canadian season starts in the 40s, warms into the 70s then cools back down into the 40s. I'm comparing apples to apples.

 

Also, I am absolutely okay with you disagreeing with the changes that I listed to help with regaining width in cold water. Even all the pros don't agree on ALL of this stuff. As I said earlier in this thread, I'm hoping this thread can be all about "why" various changes do what they do. I have been trying to explain the why of various moves I've discussed in this thread. I'm sorry I haven't been clear enough. In any case, please feel free to describe why the changes you are recommending work.

 

Also, have a look at Chris Rossi's "Cold Water Recommendations" article on the USA Water Ski site:

usawaterski.org/pages/Instructional%20Articles/Slalom/ColdWaterRecommendations.pdf

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@SkiJay Years and years ago, related to one of my other hobbies, I remember reading:

 

For every rule of fishing, there is an equal and opposite rule.

 

My experience with fin length is limited, but nevertheless quite consistent. If I take some tip out, I can turn the ski in less time. If I add tip, it takes longer to bring the ski around. When I have too much tip, the ski tries to "run straight" at the end of the turn, refusing to turn at all. When I have too little, I get short-radius turns but also can spend too much time on the tail, so I'll randomly either get dragged downcourse on the tail or overturn and not be able to hold on.

 

Taken to a ridiculous extreme, these effects seem obvious: A finless tricks ski can literally turn in place, whereas a gigantic fin would make it impossible to turn at all.

 

Note that, described in one way, these symptoms are almost the same! With either too short or too long, I will sometimes feel like I turned too hard (short ==> overturn; long ==> tip bite) and sometimes feel like I'm not turning at all (short ==> tail ride; long ==> overtracking).

 

So even this consistent (for me!) response is hard to unambiguously relate to what the skier feels. I see you've used the phrase "finish at the ball more aggressively" which I think I agree with but is subtly different from turning faster or with a lower radius. By "aggressively" you may mean the way it holds in the water. More fin area means more "hold." If you can get it to come around at all, then it's going to track more at the end.

 

I stand by calling fin adjustment "inexact," because what any given skiers feels and understands to be the symptoms can be quite different with the same underlying physics at work. I'd only consider it an "exact science" if one could take a set of measurements for a given skier/ski and then predict what their optimal fin settings would be. I suspect this is purely a semantic difference, however.

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Very interesting thread. I've been struggling with how to adjust my fin and even what ski to ride as the water changes temps around Sacramento. I've noticed that if I ride a 65" ski, I ski really well in the Spring when the waters cold and I don't ski so well in July and August when the water really warms up. If I ride a 66" ski, the opposite is true. This seems to be a consitent pattern at my same practice site on the same models of skis for water temps that vary from about 70 degrees F to around 90 degrees F. I'm 155 lbs and I'm right on the edge between ski sizes. It seems like I need a longer ski when the water gets warm.

 

Also, @skijay mentioned that more wing angle "drags more of the ski's tip into the water". I don't think this is true. I think the wing acts like an elevator on an airplane and hence, the more wing angle you have, the more the water wants to push the wing level relative to the water surface, and thus you get more tip rise. You do get more drag, but that can be offset with more tip out of the water.

 

This fall I started to struggle again on my 66" ski as the water cooled. I ended up setting up my ski with .5 degree more wing angle, a bit more length on the fin, and slightly shallower. I ran it longer to keep the tip down. I ran it showller so that I could keep the fiin area close to the same as I increased length as well as get the ski to "slide" a bit more on my onside.

 

I'm not sure I'm doing what I should for water temp changes, it's just what I've found to work for me through trial and error.

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@Than_Bogan I agree with what you have described ... with reference to the qualifier I listed above, "assuming your fin's settings are in the ballpark to begin with." There are sweet spots in fin settings within which the normal rules apply. If we venture too far outside of the "norm" all bets are off.

 

If you start at a good factory setting, and lengthen the fin a few thou, then it will help engage more tip and make turning more effective. But as you continue to add length, you are also increasing total fin area. And as the total fin area (L x D) gets bigger the tail of the ski will stop drifting and want to direct the ski straight ahead. (Note that if you maintain fin area by reducing fin depth at the same time, you can stay within the sweet spot over a wider range of adjustment.)

 

Likewise, if you shorten the fin a few thou, it will take more effort to engage the ski's tip and turns will be wider. If you continue to take out length, eventually the fin area will be reduced to the point where the tail of the ski will simply spin out when loaded.

 

All that being said, if you are within the design parameters of the ski, including where the bindings are mounted, then within that sweet spot, longer fin = easier tip engagement and turning. So in the case you are describing, if you were close to factory, I can't help but wonder if there was some other factor in play, like some extra fin depth or an outlying binding placement or the like.

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For the last few years I've been going back and forth between Alaska waters (50-70) and the bathwater that most of you call lakes (70-90). On my last couple of skis, Radar Strada and Goode 9960 mid, I would consistantly move bindings back for cold water, then forward to factory setting for warm water. This worked great and I preached it as a rule!

 

I just switched to the Nano 1 and have been skiing cold water with factory settings to my liking, hmmm. Just got back from a trip to Bakersfield (water 85-ish), had a hard time there.

 

Anyone liking the N1 better in cold water? Maybe just jet lag and skiing too much in 2 days...

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Wow @schroed! That's a smok'n turn you've got going in your profile picture!

 

The wing actually does both. Like you said, it acts like the elevator on a plane pulling the back of the ski down (or wide while the ski is up on edge), and the drag it creates down at the bottom of the fin acts like a lever.

 

To better visualize the lever effect, imagine extending the wing to six feet below the ski. It would bury the tip of the ski, making it tumble forward. As close to the ski as the wing is, the lever effect is limited, but many believe it's more pronounced than the elevator effect.

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Here is Ohio I don't get excited about fine tuning the ski in water under 75 degrees, so when it is real cold, I am with OB, my body needs more adjusting than the ski. I tweak when the water gets like a bath tub and I can't get any leverage behind the boat or angle out of the ball. I don't chase buoy count after Labor Day by adjusting the fin to cold water. When I was on my old 9100, I rarely moved a few thousandths off my sweet spot, year round.
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@SkiJay, I have probably had the most success in taking out a few thousandths in depth, which basically frees up the ski and flattens it out on the water a little. I only feel the need to do this when our water hits upper 80's into the 90's, which only lasts a couple weeks, typically. Some summers, we stay in low to mid 80's, so I don't get this sensation. At MW Regionals several years ago, I drove over the day before and skied a practice round and struggled running 32 off when I was skiing mid-38. The water felt like pea soup, much hotter than our 18' deep spring-fed water, and that night at hotel I made the above adjustment, and next day blew 32 off away and fell rounding 5 ball @35, just over-cranked it, so it was the right move for me.

 

My impression is that the tail sits deeper in the water and I need to get up on top more, right or wrong, that is how it feels to me, so anything to get the tip down seems to help. Bindings forward a notch, fin back, or less depth, all seem to make sense. Of course, the best answer is try different settings and take good notes. On my fin log, I always record the date, which approximates water conditions/time of year for me.

 

I haven't found a fin adjustment for adding 50 pounds of weight yet, still trying though! Very similar to skiing in 100 degree water, all the time, basically......

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@AB Haha! When it comes to weight, there's no replacement for displacement. The only fin adjustment I know of for added weight is adjusting the fin onto a bigger ski! Actually, that's not totally true. Moving the fin back will engage more of the ski's length, effectively making it a longer more supportive ski.

 

I totally get that shallowing the fin for hot water works, and would like to explore how it feels like getting the ski up on top of the water. The big problem with hot water is that it is harder to get the ski to track. Where the ski tracks too well in cold water, turning as if it's on rails, in hot water it drifts wide too much. It's hard to get it to hook up and go. Shallowing the fin makes it easier to roll the ski up on edge which provides more support against drifting wide. So I'm wondering if this feeling of the ski being more "on top of the water" is what it feels like when you get increased support against your ski drifting out from under you as you turn.

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@Scotchipman When I first read Rossi's article three years ago, most of it seemed counter-intuitive, so I understand how so many readers find his article to contradict other theories. Once I got my head around WHY he was recommending the changes he did, his whole list of recommendations made sense, as did the order in which he lists them.

 

I believe Chris' goal with all of these changes is to regain as much of the width lost to cold water as possible. He does this by restricting how much his ski changes direction during the edge change, and by broadening the arc of the pre-turn.

 

When you make the fin deeper, it slows down the edge change which carries you wider before settling into the pre-turn, then, as Chris mentioned in his article, it makes it harder roll the ski up onto its edge. Since the less you put your ski on edge, the less it turns; making the pre-turn can be broader which also builds width. One thing he doesn't mention is that the deeper fin also makes it a bit harder to rotate the ski at the finish of the turn (every adjustment has a trade-off). So, you may have to work the ski a bit harder at the ball, but you have a better chance of being wide of the ball where a speed-preserving carve can be executed rather than having to crank a hard one into slack rope after coming in narrow.

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@Scotchipman As a rule, yes. But I'd like to qualify this "yes" on two fronts:

 

One - These changes will help make a cold water pass easier ... if the goal is to create more width and space before the ball, which I believe is the primary challenge presented by cold water for most skiers of all abilities from Chris Rossi on down. However, this may not be the goal for some skiers.

 

There are skiers who through strength, efficiency, determination or whatever, overcome the increased difficulty of building width in cold water so that it's not their biggest problem. The fact that the ski tracks so well in colder water may make finishing a turn at the ball their biggest problem. In their case, if they want to make any changes at all, the goal might be to free up the tail of the ski at the ball by reducing depth or moving the fin forward. Personally, I'd recommend against this, arguing that even this problem would be better overcome by building more width. Their easier-turning ski comes with the cost. It will further increase the difficulty of maintaining width, which will lead to having to make an even tighter turn. It seems a case of treating a symptom and making the problem worse, but to each their own; maybe this is how they ski best. It all comes back to being clear on what exactly it is we are trying to achieve with a setup change, and why.

 

Two - I would not recommend all these changes at once. Each of these changes has a character of its own and will affect other phases of the pass differently. Every adjustment has a trade-off, and we learn about them more quickly if we experiment with one at a time. Keeping a log helps too.

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