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Early Edge Change


DanEla
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After years of pulling through the 2nd wake I'm going to try converting to an earlier edge change. The Nate Smith video posted by Brent in the recent Imperial post was the final push I needed to make this commitment. Does anybody who has tried a similar transition have any thoughts on the matter that might help me out? 34 mph, struggling for consistency at 32 off.
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A very good, very smart, open mens skier told me "You can't force the edge change. It happens because of what happened before it. The ski will transition when the hydrodynamic pressure against it is greatest. If you force it, you end up rolling over the ski instead of the ski rolling under you."

 

Nate's early edge change is the result of the angle and load he takes into the first wake and holds through centerline. He doesn't do anything other than that. Also, pay attention to his upper body position. The ski transitions out early, but his upper body retains the same position leaned away from the boat and he gives nothing back to the boat in the edge change.

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What @ShaneH said

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Oh man, when I agree with ShaneH, it's one thing -- that seems to happen a lot. But now I also have to agree with Horton?

 

But in all seriousness, it seems like there's really a building concensus that early edge change is a product of other good things, as opposed to something you can decide to do and directly get benefit from.

 

Then again, once we all agree on something, it usually turns out to be wrong a few years later!

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You can't ski to a point then think Hmmm this is the spot I will edge change here.

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What Shane and Seth said!

 

This is the main thing I have been trying to make sense of and do all season. A really important part of this is if you didn't come off the previous turn and into the handle properly, its really hard to get it right behind the boat and influence how/when/where you change edges. Make sure you are in good shape coming into the first wake so you have a chance to own your moves through the edge change and out. Then go ski with Seth to dial it in.

 

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I finally found a way to get and earlier edge change this season, @DanEla. In my case, I had to change how I thought about it altogether. Rather than think of it as something I had to do at or by the second wake, I now focus on a seemingly unrelated move before the first wake; and the edge change itself just happens where and how it should.

 

What now works for me is focusing on getting back to the handle with my hips and shoulders ahead of my ski out of the turn, then aggressively moving the ski from behind me to ahead of me as quickly as possible during the cut into the first wake. This move fires the ski out ahead of me into a wide early edge change at the second wake while leaving my upper body still leaning against the rope with a good connection. I still can't do it 100% of the time yet cause I'm still committing it to habit, but it's been a game changer for both width and rope control!

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Kudos @skijay for being one of the few to recognize and say that you have to finish the turn (come back to the handle) ahead of the ski. There are a lot of people that will say they want to finish the turn with the "ski out in front of them", acceleration is better on the tail, it prevents out-the-fronts, blah, blah, blah. The best and most efficient (and safest) acceleration comes from traveling with your ski through the turn back to the handle. It also develops the best angle which leads to the best edge change.
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Edge change is a function of doing other things right. I try not to think about the edge change as an "event", but as a process. It doesn't happen all at once. To me the edge change starts slowly as I begin to feel the boat lifting me up, but at that point I am still on the leaning edge for quite a while. I may feel the boat lifting me up at the right gate ball, but I will still be on the leaning edge a long ways outbound, slowly shifting from leaning edge to inside edge. This can only occur with the right amount of line tension. Too much line tension and the edge change happens all at once and pulls you toward the ball. Too little tension and it won't pull you up at all. Given my preference, I'd tend toward the too light side rather than the too heavy side.
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That's a good point you make about out-the-fronts, @jimbrake; I used to know them all too well back when I was changing edges late. My OTFs were all off of the second wake. Now, by the time I'm at the second wake, I'm on the back of the ski and inside its path. I feel safer now than I ever did in the past, with zero OTFs since making this technique change. I find it easier to maintain a good stacked position too.
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Hi @DanEla, I've been working on the same thing for the past 2 seasons. I can't really add much more than what's been said above to what your'e trying to do. I can however tell you how I have approached it to make the change actually happen:

1. Buy Trakker and video camera (playsport by kodac for me) & video every set

2. Find Videos of a pro or Dawg who you think your might aspire to ski like

3. Shadow the bouys or free-ski to allow you to make many more wake crossings and edge changes

4. Edit your vids and compare with those of the pros for body / ski position

5. Send your vids to Seth or another coach who's willing to help you (expect to pay for their advice - its worth it if you're serious)

6. Keeping doing the above and the change WILL happen.

It's taken a while for me (slow learner) but at least this way you can see for yourself what is going on rather than relying on various people in the boat who may not know what is going on and offer the incorrect advice.

Note: fifteenoff.com have a great free ski video of Seth Showing how to build up the edge change and wake crossing.

 

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I can say from experience, at 28 - 35, if I don't edge change off the center wake, I will end up down course....At 38 and shorter, it reverts closer to the second wake, just because you are hooking up closer to the center wake, since the line and handle are inside the buoy line....However, this all hinges on the fact that you have to ski a New School style like Nate, where you are more open to the boat at hookup, and can therefore, load more aggressively for a shorter amount of time...This creates a rebound effect from ZO, which helps cast the ski out, as Shane and Seth explained above.
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@dan ela..you can't translate what nate does at 36 and short short line to 34 mph and 32 off. You don't have near the release you do at 36. We are the pendulum, and the angle and speed from the prior turn dictates where the proper edge change takes place. Get someone in the boat that runs deep shortline to help....monkey see, monkey do seems to work best. If that's not available, post some video here. It's gettin' cold and a lot of skiers will be online more and in the water less...
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Of course 36mph vs 34mph changes things a bit, but no reason not to try to ski like Nate! I think the biggest difference between the tour skiers (and the top big dawg skiers) and everyone else is how the move through the wakes and out to the buoy. Nate does it so well and its easy to see in his skiing so its a great example. I personally feel there is enough whip in the rope to start working on this at 34mph/32off and it just gets more important as it gets shorter. The best coaches might argue you can work on it at even longer ropes.
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@OB- Amen to that. The location of the edge change is directly related to the angle taken through he course, among other things. In order to have an earlier edge change, you need to have and maintain better angle. The ability to get better angle is based on better body position, timing, etc., all the more advanced components to the sport.
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I, as usual, skimmed this. The edge change begins to be important at 32, at whatever speed. Now the concept that you can ski like a 36mph pro at 34, pro or not, is wrong. The only skier I have seen edge change "early" at 34, short line or not, was Andy. Safe to say the only skier that skis like Andy is really Nate and it shows.

 

The key to an efficient edge change is a good solid pull, load on the line. This, in engineering terms, flexes the ski, adds potential to the carbon fiber so the moment you unload the ski it rebounds and goes to the other edge. This is really a movement at or slightly after the second wake.

 

I would say the biggest thing to work on is when you do get on edge, hold on the handle to the width of the buoy line, then a progressive reach and close at the finish will allow you get the load on the boat, and start all over again.

 

I would be happy to try to explain more, but this is broad overview of what will help you get the space and time at 32off, even get tons of space at 35off.

 

Controlled speed is a good thing! Don't be afraid.

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Totally agree with Triplett that shortline edge change becomes more realistic and understandable at 32 off. Thus I also agree w/OB re: his comments about longer line skiers.

I would add that it is easier for a shorter line (32 off and shorter) skier to take the handle to the buoy line if they DO NOT take too much angle or too much load as this will force an early release.

My biggest old school problematic habit is taking more angle or load than is able to be maintained. I always have trouble with posts or articles that talk about getting as much angle as possible out of the ball. I can tell you 90 degrees and 1000 lbs of load doesn't work today at shorter lines behind powerful boats running ZO software.

With that...agreeing with the recent posts above...the right amount of angle and load is that which allows you to keep the handle to buoy width without being pulled up course narrow and fast. If that occurs, there was too much pull, too much angle or both.

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I disagree with @OB. Regardless of whether a 15 offer can do everything that Seth shows, it shows them what they SHOULD look like at a line length and speed that they can relate too. When you're a 15 offer, watching a skier at 38 off does nothing for you. It wasn't that long ago that I was at 15 and 22 off. And stuff that I was told by Charles Mueller, that I also saw Seth doing in that video, now make a lot of sense to me at 35 and 38 off. There's a lot to learn from that video(and others like it) even if you can't emulate it.
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I actually agree with both ShaneH and OB re that video: There's a LOT to learn from it, but you have to be careful WHAT you learn, depending on your current ski level. If you're looking at Seth and thinking "oh, I guess I'll just force an edge change at about the first wake and I'll be good" then you're gonna go backwards. If you're looking at how he loads out of the ball and how he creates the tremendous angle that *allows* him to edge change so early, then you're gonna get better fast.
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@Triplett said "Now the concept that you can ski like a 36mph pro at 34, pro or not, is wrong". All due respect to my fellow Michigander, I see it differently and think guys like Dan should still aspire to ski like Nate.

 

Will the edge change location be different 36 vs 34mph? Sure, I think a little. But I can run 38 at either speed and I change nothing in my approach mentally. At 36 there is more glide so I do ski farther inside to hook up, and get off it faster resulting in an earlier edge change than 34mph, but it doesn't require a major adjustment. For me, coaching a skier at either speed is the same even if the exact spot they changes edges shifts by at most a few feet for 34 vs 36.

 

In other words skiers that “pull long” have a macro problem and the difference between a perfect 34 and 36mph edge change is micro.

 

Otherwise everything he said about his edge change focus sounds spot on to me, I am working on those exact things

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I agree with the fact that there is a lot to learn from the Seth video but where a learning 15 off skier should change edges is not one of them. Seth changes edges because of the angle he is able to take off the ball and the speed he creates. No beginning 15 off skiers create the same angle or speed as Seth otherwise they wouldn't be beginning 15 off skiers.

 

I have yet to see a skier working on running 15 off at up to max speed that doesn't need to work on getting better body position and holding it through the second wake.

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@MS profound

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It seems to me it's more about where and how the edge change ends more so than where it begins. I think we determine that place at the end of the previous turn. Our brains must make a split second evaluation of our position at the point of hook up. Did I have any slack in the line? Did I finish the turn? Am I late? Am I early? Am I just right? Is my current body postition going to give me the right load on the rope? Is my ski on the angle I want? Am I hooking up near the buoy or the first white wash? One's ability and quickness to evaluate and then adjust from this all important split second is what it takes to move up the line. If we get more angle or load than ideal we need to get off edge sooner. If we bobble a turn or get stood up we're going to need edge a lot longer to get wide. The guys with immense time on the water don't have to adjust as much or adjust seamlessly and therefore are the deep shortline skiers.
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[WRONG THREAD -- sorry] I think several posts above are over-analyzing this single frame. If you keep the handle low and near your c.o.m. on the rideout, and extend it at shoulder height at the apex of the turn, then in between the handle must travel from one spot to the other.

 

My interpretation of this single frame is just that the handle is on its way between those two key positions.

 

Over-simplified?

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@Than_Bogan - Right on. I had my coach tell me at the beginning of the year that he liked a single STILL PICTURE BETTER than any video. Sure, there are some things that video will bring out, but when a skier is moving soooo fast it can be hard to decipher what is going on (at least for me) through the whole run. A student can only take about 2 or 3 things out of a lesson. A few pictures of what they need to work on would be ideal for them to understand what they are doing and what they should be doing.

 

There is definitely place for video - I myself love it. I also like pictures that show big spray, great turns, and gnarly crashes. Goodness, I love any ski shot!!

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I do think that there is a lot that a long liner can take from Seth's video, and it isn't where the edge change takes place. I agree with those that said you can't just do what Seth is doing.

 

I think what can be gleened from the video, is just how easy the correct body position (after the turn) makes getting across the course. I am always amazed at how hard, fast and ineffective many long liners are. There are plenty of strong, hard turning, waterskiers who work extra hard but struggle with 15 and 22 off.

 

Getting the hips/handle to the correct spot after the turn, getting stacked and having arms extended and close to the body. Establishing lean away from the boat etc.

 

My take on it, is that the more lean away from the boat after the hook up, the earlier the edge change will naturally occur.

 

In the end, the long liner will be doing this all later than Seth, but they could (with good instruction) emulate good body position, handle control and lean. After all, they don't have to ski as well as Seth to get through 15 off.

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After mulling over this topic and your feedback all winter, I think I have found a worthy focus for the coming ski season. I have always changed edges with my whole body. In hindsight, this move results in giving too much back to the boat. As @ShaneH suggested in the first comment to my original post, keeping the upper body leaned away from the boat during the edge transition should help my ski arc outbound resulting in a tighter rope. Nate demonstrates this idea in the first frame below from Waterski magazine:

 

http://waterskimag.com/files/2012/08/nate-smith-three.jpg

 

Easy, right? Seth pointed out in the video posted by @webbdawg99 that this type of edge change is only possible if you are open to the boat. So ... (open to the boat) + (load) + (angle) + (speed) + (keeping upper body pulling away from the boat during edge transition) = (An epic 2013)

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These may be the comments @ShaneH was referencing...

 

http://www.ballofspray.com/forum#/discussion/comment/96325

 

MarcusBrown Open or 55K Rated Skier

October 2012 Flag

@Wish it is counterintuitive at first glance. But it really does make a lot of sense when you break it down...and its probably the simplest concept to understand. Just dont' know if I'd do it justice by explaining it all here...maybe soon I'll have enough time. Or maybe I'll put together a MarcusBrown.TV episode on the topic.

 

@estrom you are correct. The nice thing about it, if executed properly, the counter rotation happens automatically as a result of the load on the trailing (reaching arm). The better a skier learns to keep a certain amount of tension on the line all the way out to apex....the load on the reaching arm will tend to 'un-wind' you as the rest of the body swings out away from that connection point. i.e. counter rotation shouldn't be an active 'move'...but rather a result of setting up the pre-turn properly.

 

 

Then later in the same thread...

 

 

MarcusBrown Open or 55K Rated Skier

October 2012 Flag

@Texas6 and others, you are exactly correct: hips and shoulders towards the boat through the initial outbound move WILL in fact limit your skis outbound direction,...at least initially. And that is precisely what you want.

 

Who has never edge changed too quickly....or loaded too hard and been popped to the inside like a puppet through the transition?? I know I have...and I still do it. About 6 times per pass. So I know we've all done it.....and it feels like crap.

 

Why?

 

Because the quicker the edge change....the more we depend on our ski for our pre-turn and buoy approach. More simply put, the quicker the edge change, the less line tension we take into the buoy, and the less we ride the end of the handle outbound: result --> Saggy rope = shallower pre-turn = a whole mess of other problems that are "common".

 

So, limiting the amount of "outbound" direction the ski takes through the transition is something that is not only a necessity for better and more efficient skiing...but its something that virtually every slalom skier needs to work on.

 

Opening the core (think hips, & shoulders will follow: remember to never try to twist the spine) to the boat into the wakes generates the most efficient, low load speed possible. Speed creates the illusion of angle into the wakes.

 

Continuing to open the core as you move through the transition is the most efficient way to trick the skier into achieving maximum outbound direction...by slowing the transition of the ski from inside edge to out....and cleaning up the reaching phase from 2 hands to 1.

 

p.s. - everyones different. Different preferences, tastes, styles, habits, natural tendencies, base stances, etc.... But everyone, EVERYONE, has to follow the same physical laws. No escape.

 

Just because I preach open hips/core, and counter rotation during the carves, doesn't mean there isn't another way to do it. More than anything else, folks need to realize that opening and counter rotating is theoretically the most efficient way (based on human anatomy) to get your body's COM moving in the right directions & at the right times to get the most out of the skiers energy input. However, there are no two styles the same. If you look to a guy like Mapple, who is still running 41' off, and see him closed off during the acceleration phase, and not super counter rotated at apex....the initial response is "he's doing something completely different." But that's the wrong response. At the fundamental level, he still has to deal with the loads from the boat, and still moves his COM to the right places at the right times. He just does it differently. But he's basically a God because he can do it a way most mortal skiers cannot.

 

*Understanding why great skiers ski the way they do, at the basic level, is more valuable than trying to emulate them.

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