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Deep water start struggle leaning back


Jchernyak
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Hi! I’m new to this forum, but very excited to join.

I’ve been taking lessons to learn deep water start, and so far taken 8 lessons which makes it an approx 50 attempts, which is frustrating.

So far I have gotten to get pulled and ride while seating or half standing, and I can do 8-10 seconds like that, but then I fall forward because I think my ski gets wobbly. I think that my issue is that I don’t transfer my weight to the back of the ski and perhaps I don’t lean back. Perhaps someone could share tips on how to transfer weight!/lean back? Maybe it’s just not intuitive to me, because I’ve only been skiing on 2 skis previously. How to pass this transition from seated to standing? Thanks!

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50 attempts is like water boarding huh! Take any video?

If you've been holding on 8-10 seconds I would think you'd be either up or off the rop!

 

My personal theory on getting people up is that its not about leaning back, it is about riding the ski out of the water. You want to project yourself up/out as easily and quickly as you can. And for most people that means that very shortly after the pull starts you can keep your head and shoulders up, arms straight and start pushing your butt up towards your hands. You can even try this with out a boat on land you aren't leaning back you just tighten the rope arms straight shoulders tall and try to stand up.

 

Once people do that they're almost universally up on a ski in a few tugs. If instead they try to pull back on the handle they basically rotate backwards sink down and the ski goes straight up in front of them, they drag like that till they can't and the handle goes boinggg.

 

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@Jchernyak You didn't mention if you're starting with your back foot in or out of the pocket. If you have an RTP, you have the option of trying it either way. If you have double boots, you've got to go with both feet in which is harder to master compared to starting with one foot out, especially when you're just learning to ski.

 

Here's what really works for me for deep water starting with the back foot in. Just before the start, when the boat is trolling me at idle speed, I suck the knee of my front leg in as close to my chest as possible. The back leg is tucked in as much as possible too. I guess you could say I'm getting into the lowest crouch I can get into. Then all I focus on mentally is telling myself to push down as hard as I can with both legs after the boat starts to pull and then I tell the driver to hit it. As soon as I feel the boat start to pull my upper body forward, I push hard down with both legs (originally I was taught just to push down hard with the back leg). Pushing down on the ski like this helps to pop you up quickly and also helps you keep the ski on track and not go off to the side. You also don't have to pull as hard with your arms to get your shoulders out because your legs are doing most of the work. Just remember to always keep your eyes open, even if you get some spray in the face because one tends to lose their balance quickly when their eyes are closed.

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@Jchernyak - Welcome to BOS; you’ll get good advice on this forum, more background data will provide more salient suggestions.

1.) Boat/motor-HP/speed control?

2.) Type of ski and binding setup?

3.) Age/size?

4.) Proficiency riding slalom (after dropping 1of 2) (speed/wake crossings, etc.)?

5.) Driver experience?

Be reasonably proficient riding slalom before attempting deep water starts; emphasize FRONT foot balance (pressure).

Sounds like you’re trying with both feet in, which is fine, but (as mentioned in thread) starting with back foot out (if toe loop) will train the brain to pressure the front foot.

Stay tucked, have the boat idle, get aligned, keep the handle close (elbows in) and feel the pressure on the ball/toes of the front foot while getting on plane; if the handle gets too far ahead (elbows pulled away from core) balance is compromised and ski may wobble. Do NOT try and pressure the rear foot. Once on plane keep the handle tight/low, arms reasonably straight, bring hips forward (lower back arched, shoulder blades together, chest up, front knee over front toes with a flexed ankle); focus on the “feel” of riding in a stacked position.

If the driver is inexperienced work together on a consistent throttle application to which you can adapt. If no speed control, be sure the throttle isn’t being applied too far ahead of desired set speed. Set speed will vary depending on your current slalom comfort/skill level.

Sounds like you're in good physical shape in light of the many attempts. Persevere!

 

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Palms down, rope on instep side of front foot, arms straight and handle low in the water, and as you pull your knees in, you can drop your elbows on the outside of your knees. You don't want the ski straight up and down in the water, try to pull your knee in but keep the ski at 45% or so before you start. When you say go, you need to tense up and not let your knees get mushy. Push the feet out in front, thinking that you are digging your heels in but not just pushing the back foot down, which will create a wall of water you are pushing. Wear tighter shorts so they don't fill with water..

 

Using a slalom inboard it is easy to over power a beginning skier, so the driver needs to apply gradual throttle until the skier is out of the water and then get up to speed.

 

I come out like a parachute, but those are the things that I think of.

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@dshock I tried on a boom and holding one ski when on 2 for 30 seconds. Whenever I’m on a boom, I do all fine. At least that’s what the instructor says.

Thanks, BraceMaker! I did take a few videos, and there I just look like I’m half standing for a few seconds and then the boat accelerates further, then either the ski gets sideways and I fall or I get pulled over by the boat and I fall.

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@Jchernyak, you should drop a ski to get the feel for skiing on one ski on the rope prior to attempting the deep water start. All the other questions above - or video would help more with your deep water start, but in my view, you need to take a few laps around the lake on one ski and you will be ready to deepwater start without any problem.

 

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Thanks for all the feedback!

@Gloersen, sorry for the lack of background:

The boat is 2014 Mastercraft prostar, the driver is the instructor so very experienced, I get very smooth and consistent pulls, the ski is like Radar’s butter knife, I think it’s an O’Brien. It’s both feet in, I’m LFF. I borrow it. I’m a 31 year old female, weight is about 58 kg, never done slalom before, just 2 skis. I have my own Radar lyrics with double boot binding and i was able to stand up and even ride a bit once, but not with an instructor. My instructor wants me to learn on a wider ski first so I haven’t been doing my ski at all. I also use a v-handle rope. Also, I’m able to get the ski to plane, but when the boat accelerates the ski starts to wobble and i fall.

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That sounds like a knee bend/butt back issue - strongly suggest you start video taping the lessons - you'll see what's happening to you, and you'll have a recording of what the instructor tells you between sets so that you can visualize the issue. It doesn't even need to be that focused on you the skier, so long as you generally can see whats going on and hear the drivers lesson.
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@Jchernyak - Good background info; it helps.

IMO it’d be advisable to use a fairly wide 66-67” (68” ok) ski with a comfortable front binding rubber or Lyric type – (snug, but not too difficult to remove) and a rear toe loop. The O’Brien you mention may be setup this way. Choose as a paired ski for the right foot something that is light and can be lifted easily while skiing on both. Once you can comfortably balance skiing on the left foot slalom ski (by keeping the right ski elevated) you can then setup to drop the right. It helps to have an adjustable front binding on the drop ski so as to be set loose when planning to drop. Once dropped, don’t rush to place right foot in toe loop, just rest it on the back of the ski and calmly feel the loop with the toes, slowly secure it. Then you can

Get super comfortable skiing on one only, don’t rush skiing above 30mph, 26-28 is a good target range for drills and gaining confidence.

Once confident riding up and down the lake on one, you’ll be ready to progress to deep water starts. Use the same ski with the toe loop. Some find dragging the rear foot behind preferable, but with your V-type handle ski guide, that will facilitate a both feet in start; experiment if need be. The more water time you get riding slalom, the quicker the deep water starts will come.

The Radar Lyric will be a good ski to progress to once the above is accomplished. Double Lyric boots are okay, but it may be preferable to change the rear boot to a toe loop (or Radar ART) but that is a later consideration when your level increases.

Plenty of skiers transition to slalom from double skis by persisting with deep water attempts successfully, but if you're hitting a wall and getting frustrated, perhaps focus on the above.

Sounds like you’ve got plenty of determination; keep getting water time!

 

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Maybe try switching which foot you have forward. Also, you need slightly more weight on the back foot. The back of the ski is narrow, and the fin is at the back, and those are what helps you keep your balance. When I used to drop a ski, the ski felt very unstable until I was able to get my foot in the back stirrup and apply some weight to it.
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I'm also learning the deep water start. I've been successful twice now, and I'm intimately familiar with your ski wobble! I'm taking lessons from Alan Hendricks at DFW Ski School and experienced the wobble probably a half dozen times just this past Saturday. He told me that as soon as the ski planes and I go to stand up I let my butt go backwards.

 

Alan describes the procedure as let the knees come forward while standing up so that my core stays centered over the ski and helps the ski plane faster and easier. An earlier post really helped me to picture the motion by "bring the hips to the handle".

 

I'm having to unlearn a lifetime of poor starts on 2 skis, so this has been a real struggle for me this summer. My goal for this year is to learn the deep water slalom start, and I think I'm finally really close. I just need to put those last little pieces together on the transition from out of the water to "up". Once I'm up, I can cross wakes and all manner of things, but getting up is the hard part for me.

 

What everyone says above is really good advice. Tight tuck, knees to the chest, rear foot up as close to your butt as you can get it. When the boat starts moving forward let it push the ski towards you into a tighter ball, and then as the ski planes rock your knees forward and stand bringing your hips to the handle.

 

It's so much easier said than done. I'm determined to get it though, and I know you will too!

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I have two thoughts for you on the lack of stability once your up - first, it could be your standing to early, next time u start and think it’s time to stand wait a few more seconds.

 

Second, once you up it’s important to have your weight on the balls of your feet and bring your hips forward so your locked in.

 

If your bent at waist in a v shape - that’s what’s causing the wobbling. Bring up Seth Stisher or any other pro on YouTube to see their body position behind the boat.

 

Good luck

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@vernonreeve I actually did switch, I was doing RFF first. I think that's exactly where my problem is, weight distribution.

 

@rosspulliam Thank you! that's very reassuring and encouraging that I'm not the only one struggling. I will try all the tips, maybe not all at once :) and hopefully find one that works for me! Definitely going to try "hips to the handle"

 

Thank you @Gloersen! I totally agree it's time for me to start dropping one ski. I thought I could start with deep water start with no prior experience on slalom, but as you said I'm hitting a wall there. So, I'll try that now! Thank you for your great instructions!

 

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So based on the video, the good news is you are basically there, but it’s such a slow takeoff your standing up to early.

 

Try to just hold your position and keep you butt down low for a few more seconds.

 

Technically you can ski down the lake in a ball without ever standing, hence there is no down side to waiting longer.

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I learned how to get up on a single ski nearly 40 years ago, so I've likely forgotten what's important to a beginner, and I probably shouldn't chime in at all! But I can't help myself because I'm really not seeing what some others are seeing here. I don't see the "stand up too soon" here; indeed she doesn't seem to stand up ever. And putting weight to the back foot is just going to mean less ski in the water and less stability.

 

The diagnosis I would have here is the front leg is locking out. If that front leg gets straight, the ski is acting as a huge lever against the body and the slightest wobble is exaggerated into a fall. If the front leg remains bent, even as you move the weight onto the front foot (which you should!), then you'll maintain control.

 

Honestly, I think you'd do better to stand up sooner, but the important thing is it has to be with that front leg bent, so that you're able to control the ski.

 

A good drill for this is to drag at idle speed and learn to control the ski in the water. If your legs go straight, you'll spin around to backward in a heartbeat. If the front leg stays bent and you make subtle adjustments, you can calmly maintain position even as the ski wobbles a bit.

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Also: Weighting to the back foot will cause the tip to ride high and you to jack-knife. Very unstable. Weighting to the front foot allows you to stand athletically and puts the ski into the water where it can help you. As a maybe-not-so-minor bonus, this will also set you up for slalom course success. People who learn to ski with the rear foot weighted have to unlearn so much before they can progress!
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@Than_Bogan - People that push hard and fully extend their front leg result in putting the ski dead vertical and hence are fighting the boat, which results in the handle being ripped out their hands.

 

That’s not happening here, the wobbling is because she is trying to stand before the speed is fast enough to support her on the ski.

 

My wife had similar challenges until she finally got it. The suggestions that worked for her were:

 

1. Keep the handle down right on top of the front binding

2. Pull you rear foot under your butt and put some pressure on the front foot to maintain your position as the boat goes

3. Just hold and wait to stand up

 

@Jchernyak - best thing to do is keep going with the professional coach you are working with given they can see live what is happening!

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@Jchernyak @Jmoski so I disagree sith @Jmoski it isnt hold on longer it is get aggressive earlier. You are up. Get into a powerful stance on the ski. Push up hour hips. Stand pround chest up and ride that ski. From the minute that rope comes tight you are light enough and on a large enough ski to be up so go for it. Your videl just shows you riding all bend kneed. Need that to start dont need it 3 seconds later
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Agree also. Stand up sooner. It also looks like your weight is too far back and thats why its harder to stand and your feeling a wobble. Its also keeping you in the crouched position because the ski is wanting to go out in front of you.

 

The front of the ski is wider and more stable even though you might want to keep that weight on the back. Keep more centered and dont be afraid to push with your front foot. I'm 180 pounds and come out with my back foot out and can virtually stand up as soon as the ski gets under water pressure. I kinda lean towards the ski if that makes sense and can stand up virtually as soon as the boat moves. You'll get it.

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@Jchernyak Do whatever you want with your back leg, except transfer a lot of weight to it. I like to have it in for a little steering help; others prefer to have it out for a little balance help. Potato potahto.

 

Hips-to-handle and shoulders back are both great things to do, in preparation for future slalom success, but neither should be necessary to get up and stay up.

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@Jmoski I have to go with @Than_Bogan upon watching the video ... Its been 30 years since my first two foot in deeps but I do know even though things are now "automatic" if I get a "bad" pull and feel I am dragging I actually press down more on my feet and rock forward to stand up quicker before I can fall off to the side . @Jchernyak press down with both feet once your hips are clear of the water (which in this video they are). Good luck.
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The trouble with staying tucked is that it takes a lot more strength to get out of it than it does to get your knees straighter earlier.

 

If you remember skiing on two skis, this is not much different. Plenty of surface area to get up on, when you do two skis you have your knees bent and your arms straight, there is no pressure on your back foot, and as such the ski tails get pushed towards your butt by the water. If you have your arms straight, your back straight, your hips and knees bent and the tip in front you'll be up. You don't need to stay "seated" or try to ride the fin.

 

You don't want to straighten your leg all the way out but you do want to push your knees and hiips

 

 

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Those are good thoughts, hopefully there are a few tips in this thread that with help makes the starts routine with practice.

 

My final suggestion is don’t overthink it, just keep practicing as your right on the cusp. Many people struggle with this...

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To me it looks like you are pulling really hard against the boat to get your self up. Hence why as soon as the ski plains, he energy release and the ski is shooting out on you. About a month ago Jmac was towing me, and I kept blowing my start. He told me to angle my ski tip to about 1-2 o clock (I'm rff, so 10-11 for lff) haven't missed one since. Might be something to try, because when you get up your ski is already turning a little bit. This might help you direct the ski for when it planes.
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I haven't read all the posts thoroughly, but when I first tried 4years ago, I found a blog by a woman who was learning and her post is what I kept in my head and finally got up. I have to start with both feet it as it just feels unstable leaving my back foot out. She said to point my ski towards the boat don't keep it straight up in the water and keep my eyes on the back of the boat. Point the top of the ski at an angle towards the boat. Stay in the tucked position and when you say hit it, push forward with your front foot and bring your back foot back towards your butt. I also was using a cheater ski rope where my ski is in between the V of the rope. I have to tell myself to keep my hands down so the rope stays over the ski. I stay squatted and have my husband put it in gear which gets me moving in the water to get used to positioning the ski. When I say hit it, I keep my hands down towards the ski, I push with my front and pull back my back foot which gets the ski to plane on top of the water. I then stayed squatted until the boat gets enough power and then stand up. I started on a huge ski in this video and have worked up to a regular slalom ski. Good luck!
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I agree that you are doing the hard part. As the ski comes up on the water try to feel like there is a rope pulling your head straight up. I think you are waiting too long to stand up your ski is already on plane.

 

I learned to deep water start a long time ago but I have taught lots of people. You will get it soon.

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12 days ago I was about where @Jchernyak is in the video, and that was after all the good advice I had gotten on this forum, tons of it and greatly appreciated! No coach as of yet. The only change I made was to try RFF which I have never done, even after dropping a ski. After maybe 5 or 6 attempts I was doing what is said by everyone above, moving in gear, V harness rope to keep the ski straight, etc.etc. I was SO close, not yelling "go" till everything seemed right and my butt was clear of the water 3 or 4 times on my Butterknife but not "up and gone". I felt as though I had learned a lot and next time out I would go back to LFF and maybe succeed. So I then SCREWED UP and decided one more try and leave back foot out and drag/balance with it. Never done that. Ended badly, right leg could not handle the big ski by itself and even though I let go rather quickly I still "tweeked" my hamstring by hyper-extending the leg, not bad nut no skiing for 8 or ten days. So I will use all the above advice again, try LFF, I agree with all the above posts, but at age 69 I think I need both feet in. This is an invaluable forum!!!! Good luck @Jchernyak !! Dave
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The hardest part of learning to use a slalom ski is the deepwater start so why try to master that part before the easier bits. So much better to spend some time learning to drop a ski and have some fun skiing rather than swimming. Once you are confident that you'll stay up if you can get the ski up on the plane then start learning the deepwater water start.

As you can see there are different opinions on how to do it. Personally, I don't think putting back foot pressure or "pushing down" is good - I prefer to get as compressed as possible and let the boat pull me up. Pinning the handle to your shin and keeping it there helps IMO.

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@Jchernyak I agree with @Than_Bogan and others here that I'm not seeing you getting up too fast. As has been pointed out, the key is to keep your knees slightly bent and flexible. Stiff, straight knees will make you unstable and prone to fall over.

 

Think about being on a bumpy train or bus or even if you stood up in the boat while it's moving (not that I'm suggesting it). If you stand up straight and stiff you can't keep your balance. But bend your knees and allow them to flex into the movement and your much, much harder to knock over. Try standing on the dock with one foot in front of the other (like on the ski) and sense the difference between being stiff legged and flexed knees. Perhaps do a couple squats with your feet in that position and sense the balance as you stand up. If the dock has a floating section or you have swim raft or something in the water all the better. If the lake is choppy, try it in the back of the boat or on the platform.

 

It's hard to tell in your video but it appears that you get moving forward and the ski planes ok while you're crouched tightly in a ball. Then you seem to try to just stand up straight (and quickly). Personally I couldn't ride the ski crouched over like that very long. Try to make the "standing up" part coincident with the ski planing. One moderately slow, steady motion to a position where your knees are still bent and flexed. Just keep the ski between you and the boat and resist the boats pull (in other words, work a bit to keep that slippery ski underneath you).

 

I don't see you pulling on your arms or doing anything that's causing you to fall back or front. The take off speed looks ok.

 

You're actually pretty close.

 

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@ScottScott the start is good and I may not have been clear on that. Once she is up on the water I feel like the driver keeps accelerating and the ski gets wobbly. I would like to see the driver be a little slower once she is out of the water so she can get stable m
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I’m a relative novice on this forum but I’ve probably taught 50+ ppl how to get up on a slalom ski cuz I lost so many skis letting ppl drop.

 

best advice: focus on the front of the ski. Keep the tip 8” out of the water and in front of you. Focusing on this will allow your natural balance skills to take over.

 

Secondly, keep your arms straight and don’t pull yourself up by pullin your arms I to your chest.

 

Follow these 2 rules and you’ll be up within 5 attempts from my experience.

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Have you been practicing any more starts? I bet I'm over 100 tugs on slalom this summer and I'm finally getting the hang of this starting business. I changed from both feet to dragging a leg and everything just kinda fell into place. I'm really stoked to finally be able to stop swimming and start turning! I'm skiing again on Saturday and I'm absolutely pumped to show up knowing that I'll get up and be able to start practicing turns. I went from 1 successful start last Monday (the 27th) to a dozen or more today. It's much harder to deep water start slalom than I ever would've guessed.

 

Hope you're still progressing!

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Great to hear @rosspulliam !! Since I assume that anybody hanging out here is ultimately interested in the slalom course, I'll offer this general advice to get there sooner: Don't "start practicing turns." Instead, start practicing leverage against the boat to generate speed across the wakes. Obviously, you need to turn in between, but the point of the turn should be to get right back to that leveraging and building speed the other way.
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Thanks for that tip! Now that I'm getting up with some reliability, it's time to move on to my next goal which is learning to run the course.

 

Today I literally just got up over and over, and did some slow wake crosses as we went down the lake as I got more comfortable just being up on the ski.

 

I believe Alan mentioned Saturday we will start out staying fairly narrow on the boat learning how to go behind the boat staying on edge, and working wider as I get comfortable with the additional speed built up.

 

We'll see, I'm just stoked to be able to get up lol. But yes, course is definitely the next goal.

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