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Is there a difference between Crabbing and Blocking?


Horton
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Are crabbing and blocking the same thing? If not what is the difference? More important what is the ideal method/timing for moving the back of the boat to the skier without really moving the pylon?

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I'll bite: Crabbing is a result of massive rudder load. I don't think we see that much anymore with the new hulls. One direction.

Blocking is resisting the skier load/preventing the pylon from moving. Don't move the back of the boat to the skier. The skier moves the back of the boat when loading and the driver blocks to not go too far/re-center. All depends on the skier (and the boat, '19s and MCs point the front a bit more, maybe the tracking fin location)

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@Drago

I hear drivers say "Crabbing" is when the driver moves the back to the boat toward the skier without moving the pylon.

 

I suspect that you are a good driver but your description of blocking sounds like a driver who is super late on the wheel and is out of sync. I hear a lot of drivers talking about "Leading the dance".

 

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Counter steering lets you lead the skier as they cast out to the buoy (moving the back of the boat towards the skier). Blocking is when they hook up to keep the boat from moving into the skier. This all has to be done proactively so you can stay in sync with the skier. The proactive part is what it means to "lead the dance".
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@Krlee the question is then what is the perfect timing of the counter steer?

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It's also boat-based/skier-based. Each boat is diff. Each skier is diff. Example: driving a light, smooth, pretty/cute, nice, shy skier behind a 200 vs. a big, heavy, hard-loading, hard-drinking, smelly, mean SOB behind a Carbon Pro. No diss to Centurion. I love driving them and skiing behind them.
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@horton as others have already said it is all about the skier and the boat you are driving. Some boats need a little more input and others less. Also the line length a skier is at affects how much you counter steer and block. It is all about practice and getting feedback from skiers. Also the more you can get on camera and feedback from the skier the better.
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To be honest I don't think the term crabbing applies to driving a skier in the course. It's more of a docking term, moving the boat sideways while going neither forward nor backward.

If you steer the boat in any direction very long the pylon will go that way. An outside force like the skier load applied about the same time you steer will prevent it. During this time the pylon is going a different direction than the boat is pointing, but not sideways as implied by crabbing.

Blocking and counter steering make sense to me.

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I can speak more from skier perspective, I feel the best drivers block right at the apex of my turn, it gives me a feeling of tight line and when I begin to load the boat is right with me. When the driver blocks late I tend to feel lose at the buoy and when I load I tend to fall in and get real deep on the backside of buoy
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A guess.....the terminology, and horton's description of crabbing..... the only way you can move the back of the boat toward the skier without moving the pylon is if the counter steer is in perfect timing with the skier's pull. A counter steer will 1st move the back of the boat toward the skier. If its timed perfectly when the skier starts pulling it just resists the pylon from moving. If its too late, the pylon will have started moving toward the skier. Too early and you will start pulling the pylon away from the skier. Blocking sounds like the driver anticipated the pull too much and pulled the pylon away from the skier.
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@Marco I have no doubt @Drago knows what he's doing behind the wheel. Given his skiing history he's probably a much better driver than I am. My above comments were questioning the way he described it. Furthermore I'm not sure if his description is wrong or if my understanding is wrong. I am trying to create a conversation.

 

This website is filled with hundreds of pages of conversation trying to accurately describe gate turns in and fin settings and whatever but for some reason it's like pulling teeth to get an insightful conversation about the technical side of boat driving.

 

 

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Crab after the skier crosses the centerline and until they are around the buoy. Block as the skier loads to keep the boat in place. Flip the skier out to the next buoy as they pas through center. You transition from blocking to crabbing as the skier moves through the centerline into he next buoy. Adjust to the skiers rhythm. Pylon can stay in the middle while you do all this.

 

I can feel where the skier is and how the pass is going. I adjust the boat according to what I would want to feel as the skier.

 

I once went to ski with a Into 41 skier friend of mine and pulled him through his first 39 in a while. He said “man it’s nice to have a driver who waits for me”. He was down course and I just waited (while crabbing) and did not block until he was ready.

 

If you have not seen your end course video get somewhere you can. From there it’s pretty easy to see.

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I don’t know how much the boat actually crabs, or that if it just feels that way.

 

Skier goes from 2 to 3. Right when the skier crosses the wakes you slightly point the nose of the boat towards to the left. As the skier is approaching 3, the boat is crabbing / drifting / yawing counter clockwise as you move up course towards the 4 ball boat guides. At the moment the skier starts to load the line, the crab ends and the block begins.

 

All this just my view on how I get down the lake in the drivers seat.

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If you think about what happens when you steer a boat..... you turn the wheel, the rudder turns. The rudder is in the rear of the boat (unlike the steering front wheels of a car.) So, the 1st movement that happens when you turn the wheel to the left is that the rear of the boat pushes to the right. In the case @bishop8950 described above, skier going 2-3. When he aims the front of the boat left, the 1st thing that happens when moving the wheel left is the rear will push to the right. Then, before the boat actually starts moving left the skier will round the ball and start pulling the boat back to the right....that holds the boat back from actually moving to the left. So, an experienced driver (not me) will then feel the rear of the boat swinging back and forth down the course while the pylon stays relatively centered. The key to doing this correctly is timing, and being in sync with the skier. Thats an art that takes practice and skier feedback.
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FWIW....I agree 100% with everything that @bishop8950 is describing. I will add the analogy that driving the boat is also very similar to skiing in respect to ability, feel, seat time, and talent. The reality is everyone can't run 39 off no matter how much they practice or get coached etc. Your ability and natural feel/talent limits you at some point; same is true for driving. With that said, you should always strive to do better, take feedback, and try to apply that information the best you can.
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Probably just semantics and terminology that's tripping me up because I understand and agree with most of the above. I stand by the notion that the pylon moves in the direction the boat is pointed unless it's being acted on by an external (read skier) force. If you move the stern toward the skier the boat, and pylon, will move away from the skier without application of an external force.
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Interesting discussion, but the question is: “What’s the difference between crabbing and blocking.” Based on the answers so far, it seems clear to me that no one knows what “crabbing” is. Personally, I’ve never heard the term in the context of boat driving. There has been some good discussion about what it probably means, but no one has said “This is the accepted definition of ‘crabbing’ in the context of boat driving for water skiing.”

 

“Blocking,” it seems, is generally regarded as the act of counter-steering as the skier merges with the boat to the point of releasing from the boat.

 

So here’s the difference: Blocking is a known technique. Crabbing is not.

 

That said, I’ll go with @bishop8950 ‘s best guess of the definition as it seems like a reasonable use of the term and that’s all that’s left to do after you’re done blocking.

 

Motion to accept @bishop8950 ‘s definition. Do I have a second?

Lpskier

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Thought about this as I was driving today. Definitely more blocking than crabbing. Like 80/20. But the momentum of flipping boat and skier from blocking one side and getting ready for the other side, I feel like we slip the boat sideways a bit. But you obviously can’t stay there that long.

 

I go from block, to swing, to crab, to esentrially straight but ready to block (like there is no slack in the steering), then block again and repeat.

 

Everyone welcome to their own theory and beliefs. But I trust those that tell me I am doing it right.

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So that description makes sense to me @bishop8950. Clearly boat momentum and skier load are forces that would counteract the stern swing toward skier for a moment, so physics remains intact. Never thought you weren't doing it right. Learning to drive well is at least as hard as learning to ski well.
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I think that out of course driving is equally important in making sure your skier is in the right frame of mind coming in to the course. Driving around an island on start up, don't go around it too quickly which will give your skier the sensation of going much faster than they want and not too slow that your skier begins to sink. Then try and line up early and be as efficient as possible lining up, not going back and forth (left or right). As you come up to speed, try to make that smooth, progressive and steady. And as @bishop8950 describes in the course.
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I think crabbing or allowing the back of the boat to move into the skier at the buoy is a result of not countering soon enough and getting caught a little behind. Somewhat chasing the skier. @bishop8950 description which included the driver knowing where the skier is in the course is excellent Waiting and not being as quick to block or pickup the skier who is running downcourse. It’s as important to feel or know when the skier is running an early line as well because the driver should have to make a move sooner to maintain a tight line for the skier. Also Knowing which foot forward your skier iwill help the driver to know which side to expect the skier to be more aggressive. It is a dance and It feels much better when the driver knows where you are at. . I think most skiers would just prefer to apex the turn and fell a tight line as soon as they can without delaying the finish of the turn
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I think @bishop8950 is describing weaving or swerving. You can only “crab “ for a couple feet before you move the pylon.

I also think what I was saying is keep the line tight into the buoy, and that is what @Chad_Scott is saying.

Simply: Do Less. Stop trying to help the skier.

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Kevin, sorry, not at all my intent to attack your driving, only to point out how someone might misread your description ( as @horton didn’t read mine correctly). I’m certain you are a very good driver. I would bet, and I’m not a betting man, that anyone who runs 39 and drives often is a good driver.

 

I agree with this:

”don’t know how much the boat actually crabs, or that if it just feels that way.

Skier goes from 2 to 3. Right when the skier crosses the wakes you slightly point the nose of the boat. towards to the left. As the skier is approaching 3, the boat is crabbing / drifting / yawing counter clockwise as you move up course towards the 4 ball boat guides.

don’t know how much the boat actually crabs, or that if it just feels that way.

Skier goes from 2 to 3. Right when the skier crosses the wakes you slightly point the nose of the boat towards to the left. As the skier is approaching 3, the boat is crabbing / drifting / yawing counter clockwise as you move up course towards the 4 ball boat guides.” < it doesn’t last long and you gotta be careful how much you emphasize this.

 

I really agree with this:

I think crabbing or allowing the back of the boat to move into the skier at the buoy is a result of not countering soon enough and getting caught a little behind. Somewhat chasing the skier. @bishop8950 description which included the driver knowing where the skier is in the course is excellent Waiting and not being as quick to block or pickup the skier who is running downcourse. It’s as important to feel or know when the skier is running an early line as well because the driver should have to make a move sooner to maintain a tight line for the skier.”

 

So, imho, here's the problem: every skier is different, every boat is different, every line length is different. It is very difficult to tell (explain to) anyone else how to drive. @bishop8950 is correct, @Chad_Scott is correct, I'm correct. Relating any steering input to a buoy won't work ( just like it doesn't work for a skier)

If you tell someone learning to drive to "slip the boat sideways a bit" .... where? When? How much is a bit? “Learning” drivers ( hopefully we are all still learning) feel like on-siding a skier is helping, and while it might be helping a learning -28 skier, it will almost always kill a -39 skier.

 

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No worries @Drago

 

Agree it is hard to explain and teach. I have worked with several drivers (especially those driving me :-)) by watching a set of end course, discussing adjustments, then drive again and watch again. I think its the best way.

 

As I think we all agree, the most important thing is to adjust to the skier in real time. Stay in rhythm with the skier.

 

But one thing you said I will challenge: I am not sure there is much difference in strategy to pull a skier at 28 or 39. I approach it exactly the same way. Yes, the timing may be different but that is all captured under "adjust to the skier in real time". Generally, we wait longer as the rope gets shorter, but the way I move the boat is the same.

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@drago the point that it's hard to explain is exactly why I started this thread. It kills me that we have so much technical conversation about all the minutiae of slalom skiing but very little theoretical discussion about driving.

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I showed this thread the person who drives me most often. It seems to have really change the way he thinks about moving the wheel. Previously he always made the boat feel strong off the ball almost as if I gone up a letter. After reading @bishop8950's comments he has changed his timing & I got to say it feels better.

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