The C85 is the fourth offering from Denali. The first 3 skis were distinctive. Skiers either loved them or not. Many skiers were forced to adjust their skiing to accommodate these skis.
With the C85 everything is different. No longer is Denali the punk rock radical of water skiing. The C85 is a paragon of refinement.
Describing a ski as fast or slow is at this point almost cliché. By one definition “fast skis” get from ball line to ball line with minimum strength and effort by the skier. Fast skis are expected to be more finicky to turn and slow skis are expected to turn more automatically. The C85 can be defined as a fast ski that turns like a slow ski. It could be more accurate to say the ski maintains speed throughout the course and delivers consistent sharp turns.
The smoothest passes on this ski are when the skier holds back a little aggression, but when things get frantic the C85 will accommodate hammer down skiing. In other words, this ski is extremely forgiving.
Off Side Turns
At off side, tip height and pressure are predictable and dependable. The turns are fast, sharp and drama-free. With minimal skier input at apex, the nose of the ski pulls quickly to the inside as the tail slides just enough.
On Side Turns
As with Off Side, the On Side, turns are consistent, dependable, and sharp. Tip attitude and roll are consistent, and this ski is forgiving to technical errors at on side.
Wakes to the ball
The C85 runs an early line from the second wake to the ball.
This ski is stable in terms of side-to-side roll and tip attitude. The skier needs to simply be centered and calm approaching the ball.
Ball to the wakes
The C85 generates substantial speed with minimal effort. One of the magical things about this ski is that after a mistake at the ball you only need a bit of extra aggression into the wakes to make up any lost time.
For this review, I ran several setups. The actual stock settings are excellent, and the ski is not overly fin sensitive. I ran my bindings between 28 7/8 and 29.
The C85 is a world class ski that that will accommodate a wide variety of ski styles and skill levels. It is one of my favorite skis of all time.
The DV8 is the latest iteration of Connelly’s continuous refinement of Jamie Beauchesne’s classic F1. The DV8 is also the first ski to ever feature interchangeable tails.
Off Side Turns
Off Side turns on the DV8 are ridiculously good. The ski is stable enough to allow the skier to stay centered and tall approaching apex. The tip stays down and then at apex, the DV8 carves a fast predictable arc under the rope. The off side turn on the DV8 is my favorite thing about the ski.
On Side Turns
On side turns are predictable and dependable. The ski flows out and then carves a tight turn at the ball.
Ski rides for this review happened at the same time as I was working to revamp my technique from the second wake to apex at on side. The ski is forgiving enough at on side to allow me to make any number of mistakes and keep working through the passes. When I executed my new skills correctly, the tip of the DV8 pulled under the rope quickly and sent me toward the wakes with more than enough angle.
Wakes to the ball
Leaving the second wake skiers, who can keep their feet underneath them and shoulders higher off the water until they are closer to apex will find that the ski will roll out and then back to the inside quickly. This results in fast turns with a tight line.
Skiers who move to the inside early off the second wake may find they need to temper this move to keep from rolling out too much too early.
Ball to wakes
The DV8 puts the skier in more lean angle with less effort than other skis. Skiers who can moderate their intensity or who need more aggression to the wakes will love it. Skiers who tend to lean harder than necessary may find they get more lean and load than they require.
The DV8 comes with round, medium, and square tails. To simplify this review, I mostly rode the square and round. The medium is roughly halfway between the two.
At the beginning of the review, I very much preferred the square tail because it keeps the tail of the ski higher in the water. This tail makes it easier for the skier to stay forward on the ski before and after apex, allows for more tail slide before the ball and makes the ski faster.
By the end of the review, I found that the round was better for me. The round tail resulted in a smoother finish of the turn on both sides and more stability off the second wake.
How can that be? How can one tail be better one day and the other tail be better a few weeks later? As with fin settings when a skiers skills change so do the ideal settings.
The interchangeable tails add a new dimension to ski set up and I think we are just beginning to understand it. I wonder if future skiers will change tails for water temperature or other conditions. I commend the team at Connelly for bringing this innovation to the market.
The Goode XTR CC is the 3rd refinement of the classic Goode Nano 1 (XT, XTR and now the XTR CC). The technological difference between the XTR CC and its predecessors is the ski’s construction. Since last year, all Goode slalom skis are built with Carbon Core construction. See http://goode.com/blog/tag/carbon-core/
The Carbon Core construction allows Goode to build the skis thinner, yet more durable. The thinner profile (thinner sidewall) allows the ski to ride deeper in the water when on edge. This thinner profile also allows the ski to roll onto an edge more freely.
The XTR CC is one of the fastest skis tested to date. It requires very little physical strength to get from side to side and achieves width easily. The ski performs best when the skier restrains aggression.
The XTR CC is stable in pitch and yaw, but loose in roll. This means the tip stays down and the attitude of the ski is relatively constant the tail does not seem to slide excessively around apex, but the ski rolls side to side freely.
The speed of the XTR CC and the fact that it rides deep in the water is paradoxical. Typically, fast skis ride high on the water and are twitchy whereas deep riding skis are slower and more stable.
Off side turns on the XTR CC are basically foolproof. The skier needs to only stay centered and calm. This ski is particularly forgiving to imperfect technique approaching and through the Off Side turns. Since the ski is loose in terms of roll, the skier must avoid allowing their mass to move too aggressively to the inside. If a skier does move to the inside too aggressively they will exit the ball in an over-aggressive lean.
The fact that the ski rides deep in the water means that if the skier pushes too hard the tail is very unlikely to blow out.
On Side turns are smooth and predictable, but, as with Off Side, the skier should not let their mass move to the inside prematurely. If the skier moves to the inside too much or too early the ski will roll over excessively and result in a sudden and unexpectedly hard turn. Controlling the roll of the ski is much more critical on the On Side than the Off Side.
For the review, I found that if I emphasized keeping two hands on the handle extra-long my On Side turns went from inconsistent to very good. This technique stabilized my upper mass and delayed the ultimate roll of the ski until I was ready to finish the turn.
Wakes to ball
The XTR CC draws an early line and gains width from the wakes to apex automatically. The ski “moves out” with less resistance than most skis on the market today. As an example of this is a skier approaching a 1/3/5 turn will feel their feet move right sooner and faster than normal.
Unlike some other “fast” skis, the XTR CC does not carry more speed to apex than can be managed.
Ball to wakes
When ridden with restraint, the XTR CC makes buckets of speed with very little effort from the skier and remarkably little load in the skier's hands.
If the skier is overly aggressive into the wakes, the XTR CC will acquire excessive speed and load.
When ridden with a little restraint the XTR CC is a joy to ride. Perhaps, the only thing not to love about the ski is that, once you make a major mistake and try to muscle the rest of a pass, the ski is less friendly.
The ski is the least fin and binding settings sensitive Goode tested to date. The right settings are always critical, but small moves are not as apparent as expected. This is perhaps a result of the ski riding deeper in the water.
The XTR CC glides unusually free on the gate pull out. The ski requires very little effort to get wide on the boat and then bleeds that speed slowly. This is neither a good or bad attribute, but does require the skier to adjust their gate pull out timing and intensity.
This summer I spend a few weeks playing with the Feature Boards Side Cutter & Obstacler skis. At first glance, both of the skis look like trick skis but it is not that simple. These skis are durable enough to be used on the ramps and rails found in cable parks. To achieve this level of durability Feature Boards builds them with a poly base, wood cores, and ABS plastic sidewalls. I did not hit any rails or ramps during the review but I would be comfortable abusing these skis a lot more than a conventional trick ski.
The Side Cutter is a high performance trick ski that especially shines for wake spins, flips and ski lines. Pop off the wake is noticeably good.
The C75 is the third ski from Denali and is the first ski from Denali that is legitimately user-friendly enough for the mainstream tournament water skier. The C75 looks strange with its low rocker tip, unique asymmetrical fin, and extreme tunnel shape. The ski rides in the water as unusually as it looks.
The attributes of this ski are a clear departure from any other ski in the sport. The C75 is stable in most ways except that it provides significantly more tail slide than expected. This may sound, bad but the result is angle.
Off Side Turns
Off Side turns on the C75 are the most distinctive attribute of the ski. Ridden casually with reasonably centered weight distribution, the tip of the ski pulls back to the centerline and the turns are smooth and flowing.
When the skier increases their aggression the ski shows its uniqueness. The ski flows out to apex calmly and then when pushed the tail slides around very quickly to establish an unexpected amount of angle. With any other ski this amount of tail slide would end in a fall but the C75 stays in the water and heads back to the wakes. This radical finish to the Off Side turn may scare skiers until they realize that the tail is not going to blow out. The feel is unusual, but the result is consistent angle leaving the ball.
On Side Turns
On side turn are practically foolproof. The tail of the ski slides significantly at the apex of on side but it is not nearly as noticeable as it is at off side. This tailslide is likely a major contributor to the consistency of the on side turn.
Ball to the wakes
Because of the aggressive turns, the voyage from the ball to the wakes can be a little frantic. If the skier can moderate their lean intensity and or temper their angle leaving the ball, things will calm down. Either way, the ski makes speed quickly and holds direction.
Wakes to the ball
The C75 is stable both side to side and tip to tail. What this means is that the ski provides a stable platform to stand on as the ski casts out to the ball line. The ski consistently achieves width and space without requiring special skills or strength.
Quirks & Notes
Throughout the test period, I rode the C75 with the same settings.
The bulk of this review was written describing how the ski performs at/or near my personal limit. If the review was re-written describing my opening passes it would include terms like “Dependable, Flowing, Arcing & Calm”. The C75 is likely as suited for 28 off as it is for 39 off and beyond.
The C75 is radical but in all the right ways.
When the skier gets to their hardest pass and instinct replaces logic is when the C75 shines the brightest. Somehow the ski just stays with you and gets you farther down the lake than expected.
Best ski ever? There is no such thing but the Denali C75 is unquestionably on my very short list of favorite skis of all time.