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What is the difference....And Why?


Brady
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Being newer to skiing the balls vs free skiing, I am having a difficult time understanding all the differences between Perfect Pass, Star Gazer, Zero Off, and now all the differences coming in Zero Off, such as the B+, C, etc.. Can you guys explain all the differences between these and why they keep changing them? It seems like it shouldn't make that much of difference. Wayne Grimditch and the all the guys in the 80's and 90's didn't use them, and doesn't having them make it more difficult to ski?

 

Finally, I hear that the way people ski the course has changed since the introduction of the speed controls. I would love to understand what has changed and understand what skiers have to do different and what I need to learn to adjust to the systems. Thanks

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Brady,

Initially speed control was introduced so that slalom could become an Olympic sport. It's just evolved from there in the effort to validate records by eliminating any variables that could be introduced by the driver or boat. I'm not sure if they still believe that slalom could be an Olympic sport or not.

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Hand driving and timing: lots of re-rides at tourneys with the challenge of pulling hard pullers, soft pullers, big dudes, women, kids while trying to get the times right. Ability to work the system ie) run the time at the slow end of tolerance for a tough pass, or call in a time that was close enough but just out of tolerance as the only one who sees the stop watch. Much marital strife as wife pulls husband either too fast or too slow in training. Wife often pulling in the rope and leaving steamed skier to swim home.

 

Perfect pass. Far less re-rides, "the marriage saver" for training purposes as most often runs good times once dialed for skier/crew weight. Doesn't throttle you when you pull, so not much punishment for pulling for all you've got or getting out of trouble that way. Boats were not as strong then, either, and being a 220 lb competitive weight lifter I could literally slow it down when I needed. Given the wiggle room in acceptable time tolerance, it could still come out "time ok". It could also be manipulated for a skiers tougher pass by taking a little skier weight out, hoping to come in slow but in tolerance...unfair at tourneys but it happened. IMHO did not require as much technically correct skiing to have success.

 

Stargazer: same course time every time. No throttling the skier, not sure why the industry bailed on this one other than it got political and ZO won out..another story for another day.

 

ZO: same time every time, right on the nuts. Throttles skier if skier slows the boat thus pulling like a brute no longer effective...especially with the HP of today's boats. I don't think it makes skiing harder, it was just a change that required adjustment. Lighter body weight and more technically correct skiing help take advantage of the system. Within the system, the settings allow for some degree of customization per skier. Almost never a re-ride for bad course time. In the end, I think it's a net positive, even though I don't yet own a boat with ZO (some day). I still ski PP and then get ZO in tourneys. This site and my brother have helped me become more technical, and I ski 40 lbs lighter in body weight than I was at my heaviest. I ran practice PB's this year on PP and a tourney PB on ZO...it's all good. When I can afford it I will buy ZO.

 

@brady it's more complicated than the above for sure...but this gets you a start. For the off season what should you do to help your skiing adjust to ZO? It sounds like you are a big dude...start peeling off any weight you can spare. It will help your course skiing regardless but also specifically with ZO.

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@steven_haines

 

No watersport will go olympic. Maybe cable park wake sports.

 

There are no engine powered sports. No motocross (bmx is) so until you eliminate the boat and driver... won't be Olympic.

 

Difference between speed controls.

 

First all are trying to hold the same speed over a course.

 

Origionally a person with a stop watch would time the boats enterance and exit and compare tgat to a table and the driver would try to hold speed.

 

Then PP and accuski(defunct) were on the market. These are RPM based and you had settings for weight and speed and factors and such but it had no clue how many mph it was going. The boat owner had to dial it in. So enter timing magnets hung under the gates or under gates and boat guides. The magnets would switch the timing sensor and boom. Auto course time. These systems had a servo you mounted on the engine and it pulled the throttle cable. These systems ultimately gave the boat good average speed through the course but did so in a manner that the speed fluctuated. So skiers learned how/when to pull to get good hook up and avoid the boat getting away while turning.

 

Enter GPS

Zero Off has no servo. It feeds the engines computer management software directly. It has input from gps satellites not only of speed. But because you can map your course it knows where the skier is supposed to be. Hence it knows when it will be slowed by pull or charge away when the skier edge changes. Hence it holds a more constant speed... and has settings to conrol how the skier feels the pull. A B C etc. Skiers learn to be efficient with this pull to. You cannot fight it. Super pull the boat wont slow.

 

Stargazer is perfect pass with GPS and you can ass Z Box to make ut more like zero off.

 

Kapiche?

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@Brady- On Zero Off, the ABC settings control where the boat picks you up. The numbers control the intensity of the reaction. C will give more throttle off the buoy, B closer to the wakes, and A later even still. 1 is the most gradual application of throttle, 3 the most abrupt. I haven't skied the new R version, so can't really say what the + is like.

 

There have been many, many discussions here on Zero Off. Do a search and you will have good reading for a month.

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React - that's a key element to understanding speed controls. Picture a perfect speed as a straight line on a graph with speed on the Y (vertical) axis and time on the X (horizontal) where perfect speed is represented as 0. The skier's force will pull the line down under zero. This will create some area of the curve under the 0 line. That is the lost speed & time due to the skier's force. The boat must then react to this loss to the point of moving the line above 0 and creating an equal area above the 0 line. These two curve areas do not need to be the same shape, but for a perfect time and speed, they must be the same area so as to cancel each other out.

 

This is key... different skiers generate different negative curves at different speeds/line lengths in different ways using different styles.

 

Thus, you have to think about how a particular skier's typical impact on the boat's speed would look before determining which settings might best compliment their style while the boat recovers to perfect speed before the next wake crossing.

 

Now that we can understand this reaction, we can think about how/why light on the line is of value. The smaller the skier's negative area curve, the less positive area the boat must generate.

 

Also, the timing (letter) and abruptness (number) of the reaction is specified by the setting choices. The letter equates to - how long would it take for a human driver to realize that the skier has impacted the boat speed and then start to react. C reacts more quickly to the detected skier force. Thus, C will initiate a corrective action sooner and thus help to minimize the skier's negative area under the curve. In contrast, A reacts later and thus, allows the skier to affect the boat for a longer period of time before the reaction initiates. In either case, the skier can hit the boat hard or easy and generate a big or small negative area.

 

Then, consider the numbers. Number 1 represents a gentle reaction; 3 represents a firm reaction. I think this equates to - once the human driver has decided to react to the skier's impact on speed, how far and how quickly does the driver push the throttle. So, at 1, the "driver" is smoothly pushing the throttle down and at a slower pace, while at 3 the "driver" is pushing the throttle down more abruptly and at a fast pace. The full amount of additional throttle applied is to the point where the system believes it will sufficiently recover the lost speed/time before the next segment. With ZO, this means recovery before the next wake crossing.

 

So, when we take these elements into consideration together (Skier impact, reaction time, reaction intensity), we can understand how they will likely net out in give situations. For example, at C3 the boat will react quickly to the trigger of the skier's force and react firmly to correct it. A very light skier may not generate much negative curve before the speed control moves the line back to the positive side with a steep angle. Thus, the system will not need to push the speed up a whole lot and not for a very long time, since it will recover and get back to a net zero ideal speed easily. A very heavy and hard turning, crank and yank type of skier will also trigger the boat to react quickly, but will have generated a deeper negative curve. The speed control will again react quickly and abruptly to recover. The amount of additional throttle and duration of that throttle will be greater. How long that throttle recovery takes depends upon how far the program lets the "driver" bury the throttle in recovery in order to recover before the next wake crossing. It will continue until the system deems that the net of the two curves will yield zero.

 

Further, consider A1 for these two skiers... A1 is later reaction and softer reaction. So, a very light skier again does not generate a deep negative curve but the speed control lets this negative curve continue longer. Thus, the area negative area under the line will be larger. However, the system is set to react gently once it engages the correction. Thus, the angle of the line back up to the positive side will also be slow and low. The result will be that the throttle has to be pushed down farther to make up the difference in time. A very heavy and hard turning, crank and yank type of skier will not get picked up by the boat quickly. Thus, the skier may feel like they are waiting too long for the boat to give them something to lean upon. The speed control is set to react gently once it engages the correction, but at this point the skier has created a larger area under the curve. The amount of additional throttle and duration of that throttle will be greater. It will continue to push the throttle until the system deems that the net of the two curves will yield zero.

 

So, while A1 will feel softer, it comes at a price of greater time and/or greater amount of corrective throttle which translates as potentially having throttle correction still occurring into the edge change and glide out to the buoy. While C3 may feel hard or firm, it translates into a quicker return to neutral throttle as the skier crosses the wakes. Again, all of this is about undoing the negative area created by the skier. The less negative area created by the skier, the less throttle recovery is necessary.

 

The key to the settings selection is to match your timing and effort to a reaction time and curve that works with you vs. against you. If you like to feel "free of the boat" during your edge change, then try C1, and increase the number until it starts to feel too firm, then back off by 1. If you like to feel soft at the start of the lean, try A3 and decrease the number until you feel like you are being left by the boat as you approach the buoy. If you can't find something that works with A or C for your style, then go to B. Then, set the number based upon your lightness on the line... Light on the line can probably do B1, Heavy on the line may need B3.

 

Line length and speed also affect how the skier's impact on the boat speed occurs. Short-line skiers can generate larger loads while approaching the 1st wake. Thus, I'd expect them to use C or possibly B settings with a 3 or possibly a 2. Kids at slower speeds would probably do fine with A1 or incrementally larger settings (A2, B1, etc.).

 

All of the above is just my mental ramblings and is founded in nothing more than contemplative thought. The key is to find what feels right and works best for you. And keep in mind that as you improve or change styles or skill, your preferred setting might need a tweak to keep up with you.

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Wow! I didn't realize that what I was asking truly takes a college degree to get. This is incredible information. Because I can, I am giving you all likes for giving my mind some incredible things to ponder and learn. Now that we have discussed the different speed control devices, how do skiers have to ski differently now that they are in force? I know @6balls was saying you could no longer use brute force, and also that I am fat, and need to lose weight to take advantage, but how is the pull different? And finally, @Brent, I am your parole officer, so we will need to meet 4 times a year to make sure you are behaving. (I will bring my ski of course!!)
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@razorskier1 could you attach @scokes graphical representation of ZO for @brady. I thought that gave one of the best representations of ABC in ZO. I printed it, but had a computer virus since that time and lost it among other things.

@brady...didn't say fat, but lighter is better. It seems power to weight ratio has become very important. I used to be more powerful at a higher body weight, but I ski better with less power (less reliance on it as well) and less weight. Adequate strength and light weight trumps excessive strength and too much weight in this game.

 

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