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North Carolina's Lack of Waterski Enthusiasm


philkyle
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I recently moved down to Charlotte, North Carolina. I came from Michigan where all the dealer pro shops sell wakeboards and wakesurf boards obviously, but also lots of waterskis (slalom skis). I recently bought a 2018 Radar Lithium Vapor and don't have hardware for my boot and RTP, so I was calling around the local dealer pro shops and couldn't find a shop that sells slalom skis, slalom ski boots, trick gear, and obviously hardware for ski boots/accessories/trick gear. The only ski gear I could find are beginner combo skis. Are there any ideas on how this could be changed? I can't believe where I come from in the North all the shops sells lots of slalom gear, even the higher end skis like the Vapors and Omni's. But down here in the South you couldn't find a slalom ski to save your life. There are quite a few private lakes in the area from what I have discovered, so are all these skiers getting their gear from ski it again, reps, or some other way? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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@philkyle I have no answer about the lack of gear in your local shops but I suggest you go visit PerfSki.com to find your hardware.

 

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I am not looking for gear, because I work in the industry and know reps. I was looking for advice on ways to grow the waterski community here and every where else. I couldn't believe ski gear is impossible to get in the shops. I know Action Water Sports and Silver Spray back in Michigan are big advocates of skiing in the state of Michigan. Is the reason why it is so easy to get ski gear up in Michigan because you've got dealers like those two who invest time and money into the ski community? Both of those company's owners have their own lakes and are great guys passionate about skiing.
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no

Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

California Ski Ranch ☆ Connelly ☆ Denali ☆ Eden Lake ☆ Goode ☆ HO Syndicate MasterCraft ☆ Masterline ☆ 

Pentalogo ☆ Performance Ski and Surf ☆ Reflex ☆ Radar ☆ Rodics OffCourse ☆ S Lines ☆ Stokes 

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@philkyle The waterski scene in NC is actually quite active. There are at least 5 or 6 active ski lakes in the Charlotte area, one or two just east of Charlotte, a couple more near Raleigh and at least one in Eastern NC. Essentially all have at least one but typically 2-3 tournaments a years. Cobles run one of more active and popular ski schools in the country and Austin Able runs another school at Lake Eure near Asheville. Of those lakes there are at least 6-8 with ramps and quite accomplished jump skiers.

 

NC likely has one of more active adaptive programs in any state with typically 6-12 adaptive skiers at each three event tournament.

 

Around the Charlotte area with Lake Norman and Lake Wylie, you have two massive lakes surrounded by residential which likely encourages wakeboarding and wake surfing as the towed sports of choice. That said, the Lake Norman Ski club is quite active and maintains at least one course that I know of. Check out Race City Marine for ski gear. They are great sponsors of several tournaments at Little Mountain.

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I know your pain. I feel in Orlando the “less than pro skier” ski scene sucks. Here It’s easier to find a swingers club than a ski partner. But we do have perfski! I feel skiers don’t want to share the glass with another boat, they don’t want 4 guys in the boat because it’ll take too long, too much gear. A novice driver might run over a buoy and snag the course. Newb skier will spend more time in the water instead of on it. We are our worse enemy.
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This site is awesome! Where else can you jump from lack of skier enthusiasm in N. Carolina to swinger clubs in Orlando!

 

@Horton , this topic has to get a triple panda award! Speaking of pandas, do you think they swing, cause that might create PANDAmonium? XD

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As a hybrid NY/FL guy, I love the Carolina ski scene. So many great sites and truely great folks. I usually spend at least a couple weeks of June and September skiing at Trophy and Little Mountain. Those are two of the best ski lakes anywhere in the world. And a second shout out to Race City Marine in or near Mooresville.

Lpskier

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You guys don't seem to understand what I am saying. Of course there is a ski scene in NC. The ski scene is made up of people who are die hard skiers who ski in clubs on private lakes or the Lake Norman Ski Club, which I have already been invited to join. I have also been invited by people to ski on Wylie as well, but I don't know of a club on Wylie nor is course accessibility easy on Wylie because they are submersibles. These aren't the people I am concerned with. I read all the time on BOS of people whining and complaining about the ski scene shrinking. The reason why it isn't growing is because it is no where near as easy to get on a lake with a course or freeski compared to getting on a lake behind a surf boat. I understand there are WAY more surf boats owned by people compared to ski boats and way less lakes with courses on them. Surfing is also advertised much more than skiing and the gear is sold by every mom and pop shop in the country. If skiing and ski gear aren't being pushed then it will never grow beyond the community that knows about it now. It needs to be promoted fellow skiers, pushed by the shops, and opened for easier accessibility. By the way, I called Race City this week and was told they don't sell slalom skis-just combo skis.
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Well I’m not sure how wake sports do it but....

 

I’ve said this too much on here.... gotta get the kids out there. I can’t believe there’s no kid minded events the manufacturers do or the retailers and the clubs put on. Why are there no playgrounds at tournaments and clubs? If the 3year olds and up aren’t exposed to skiing then there will be no growth or future for skiing. The guys I ski with, I love them, but they’d poop a brick if I bought my well behaved 3 yo son on the boat. The only event that is kid minded I’ve experienced is the KOD at lake Hancock.

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I attended a 2 day tournament at Hilltop this summer - it was a great family attended event. Pros skiing, kids skiing, parents skiing, grandparents skiing. IMO Mr Skoog does a fantastic job promoting our sport and encouraging family participation. Bow Lake holds summer weekend kids camps; the kids have a blast; Mr Spady does a fine job promoting our passion. Certainly my local paradises are not the only ones that love & promote the sport.
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I am not trying to offend anyone, because I only started this thread because it worries me where the sport is going to pick up new members and new members who can afford it. If we are just going to say "in my opinion this limitation makes it impossible to grow the sport" then you are fine with the sport continuing to shrink, but I am not. Three companies make ski boats these days. What happens if that decreases to two and then one, and then none? This probably won't happen, but it is certainly something to think about and be concerned with. From the perspective of a 27 year old who was blessed to grew up skiing, skied during his first year of grad school, and ultimately changed his career path because of the fun he had waterskiing something needs to change. I think it should change sooner rather than later. Feel free to rip me a new one if you want because I don't expect this to go over well. Change is hard and scary, but something needs to change. The sport is never going to grow if it doesn't.
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Your concern is valid, no offence taken here! Unfortunately, as the big wave sports continue to grow I can only see public skiing continue to decrease, which would be a shame. I have had the good fortune to ski 40 years now. The 1st 25 was 99% free skiing public water; never had course access. As the population grew it has became harder & harder to get good water unless you go out pretty early and/or avoid the weekend. My last 10-15 yrs is 99% course and I feel blessed to have that access. I compare private lakes to golf country clubs - fantastic place to enjoy your passion but you have to be willing/able to pay for the privilege.
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I operate OBX Wakeboard & Water-Ski in Kitty Hawk NC. We don't get to most of the ski and wakeboard scene in the western part of the state due to proximity but we teach hundreds of first timers the sport of wakeboarding & water skiing. Our split between the two is 40% ski and 60% wakeboard. We work with Chris and April for our MC boat's and encourage out beginner students to consider a week at Coble ski school. Chris and April in turn send us clients when they are full or heading out for a week on the Outer Banks. As to Pro Shops the scene in NC is to spread out to have a true pro shop. The best on the east coast IMO is Orlando's Performance Ski & Surf some have referenced here. I head to Florida in the winter and always enjoy a few trips to their store to see equipment in real time vs. always on line.
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I appreciate all of your comments. I hope you all know the purpose of this discussion was to open up dialogue based on how much I love skiing and want to bring other passionate/new young professionals to the sport. It is a very passionate population of men and women no matter how small it is, so we should all work together to grow it instead of stay in our inclusive groups getting perfect water day after day week after week.
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I am going to in the near future. I just closed and moved into my house yesterday, so I had to buy a new bed, washer, dryer, and fridge. There are some purchases that need to come before my membership, but I'll certainly pay to join. Maybe I should clarify. I was talking more about the sales of waterski equipment in the shops around the area.
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@philkyle I live in New England and in the Eastern Region we see H2OProshop who is based out of Lake Placid I think (4+ hours from where I live) at some events but in general there isn't another shop I am aware of where you could touch a high end piece of ski equipment before buying. I know some people that run mini dealerships for different brands that could arrange for you to get on a demo ski or get you a ski but there aren't stores where you can buy equipment like you see at Performance. It sucks but obviously the market isn't there to support them.
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Action Water Sports is great and Jerry does a fantastic job. So does Silver Spray on the east side of the state. Both are pretty unique tho in that their ownership/senior management are more than just slalom enthusiasts. When you have a passion for something and find a way to make a living at it, it works well. Both of those are good examples of making a living at something you’re passionate about.
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I wish I knew Jeff, Patty, and Whitney better, because Silver Spray does great work for the ski community on the east side. You are totally right. I feel like it is Jerry on the west and Jepawhit on the east who are leading the way to the big ski scene in Michigan. The crazy thing is though, there are SO many public lakes on the east side. They are all over the place. As far as the west side is concerned, there are only a few. Four or five that I can think of off the top of my head, and then one in the Northwestern part of Michigan.
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