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How do you know your ski is set up properly?


aupatking
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With several threads going on “setting your ski up for short line” or for the passes you can’t run, rather than the ones you can, how do you know that your ski is set up correctly? I’m trying the short/deep numbers on my 2020 Radar Vapor with CG fin and I’m struggling. Some of it is not getting enough water time right now, but with the change I made to fin, I’m wondering if some of my struggle is setup but I’m not wanting to chase it down the rabbit hole.

So, how do you know?

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@aupatking setting up a custom shape on a ski is a project. I agree with @thager that you need to have comfortable settings with stock fin first. From that point I think @AdamCord has some guidelines for transitioning to the CG.

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Something that I do when I get to the point of is it good or not, is jump on one of my old faithful skis. The point is that the difference will let you feel whether you are where you need to be on set up. I think we all can compensate for a less than ideal set up with changes in technique. Typically I get through the “honeymoon” phase of a new ski then usually some degree of frustration sets in. Then I usually begin to question whether in fact I’ve just gotten older and can’t do what I could do before, the water temperature change makes my settings stink, someone moved my buoys, the driver must be off, I’ve skied too much and need a couple days off, I’m not doing some technique wrong.

It helps me to go back to one of my favorite skis of all time, a 9100, and take a couple passes. With doing this I have a point of reference for what I might want to tweak on my new ski.

Several years ago I worked on a new ski and got it to the point where it was very predictable, off side good. The ski felt great but I was down a pass. So I told my wife think I’m kind of losing it. I pulled the 9100 off the rack and jumped on it and instantly felt like the the course was way narrow. The new ski was just too slow. It was easier to judge this with a point of reference.

This is the “Ski Theory of Relativity” a little known paper written by Einstein.

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@aupatking My Vapor PB is a 2019, so probably can't compare exactly. But, after seeing video, @Chris Rossi gave me 6.960, 2.457 and 0.765. This is just a little less long and a little more deep than factory Long-Shallow. This was with Radar fin. Those numbers helped. Then, I used the same numbers with CG fin, and have really liked that.
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First, you should define why are you struggling compared to the previous fin setting (e.g. too much ski in the water in your offside, or a similar one). Then adjust accordingly. Struggling as a generic term is not that useful.

 

If you are not having enough time in the water, adjusting for PB line/the pass you cannot run does not seem that logical.

 

To me at least, if you are starting with a new ski, IMHO it makes sense to use some magic numbers initially, then move from there. If you have been skiing consistently with a given fin setting, I believe it is not a good move to change it radically just because someone posted something that works for someone else. Every move in a fin setting needs to have an intention, and should be made with the understanding of what you are trying to achieve. If you move everything radically to a new set of numbers you see somewhere, you will lose all references.

 

If someone like C. Rossi looks at you and suggests a setting radically different than the one you have, that is a completely different story, and you should follow.

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A couple things:

 

In general, you want to set up your ski to give you space before the buoys first. If you can’t make space, and you’re trying to adjust the fin for your turn, just stop. Go back to stock recommended settings (most ski manufacturers have several) and see which of those makes the course feel long and narrow as opposed to short and wide.

 

From there you can start tuning the turn. Getting video of yourself is best for this, as it is often easier to see what’s happening than try and feel it in real time. An important data point to watch is where the water break lands on the ski. Too far forward and your ski will be slow to build angle and slow to turn, too far back and the ski will be inefficient at creating speed and can be unstable or again slow to turn. If the water break is moving around a ton as you ski, that’s also a sign that your setup is not good.

 

Specifically for the CG fin, it can be run short/deep or long/shallow. Typically it likes to be 10-20 thousandths shorter and deeper than whatever your settings were on the stock fin. You can dial the cg fin in without dialing in the stock fin first, just know that you will need to make bigger moves to get results because the fin is less sensitive to settings changes (10-20 thou moves instead of 5-10 for instance).

 

Also do not neglect your binding setup. That can cause problems that your fin settings can never fix. If you can, run an rtp. If not at least make sure your rear binding is lose above the ankle and let’s your ankle flex freely. Likewise front boots that are too restrictive around the ankle will make it very hard to get stacked. Play around with how you tighten your boots and see how the ski reacts.

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@ral good points made. I’ve been on the ski since last year, and running the Long/Shallow numbers. I really like it, but I just keep making school bus turns. I consistently run my 28’s but 32 isn’t falling. I’m trying to focus much more on technique. We all know it’s not the ski but, I want to try a fin change that can possibly help me with a tighter radius turn. Also, Trent talked about the feeling of less need to push the ski between him and the boat with S/D settings too, and I know from several good coaches I pull across the wake “like I’m trying to run 38 when (I’m) only skiing 28”. Seems like it would be well worth the testing for more reason than 1. It’s a throw-away season anyway. Maybe make some good progress
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@aupatking I really like what @AdamCord noted about setting up your ski first for creating space ahead of each buoy.

I'm going to continue to focus on that. I feel like my current settings are pretty good for that, leaving further improvement up to my technique...the usual, arms low and close, alignment, quiet upper body, handle control to wide.

As that improves, maybe I will make minor tweaks on settings to improve turns.

With more space, maybe your turns won't need to be tighter. Just fun and controlled.

Come ski sometime!

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