The new KD Titanium is a refinement of the KD Platinum. A review of the 2017 Platinum can be seen here.
The dimensional difference between the Platinium tested in 2017 and the Titanium is subtle but the improvements are clear. The bevels, rocker, and flex have all been refined to make a very good ski even better.
The Titanium feels more like an extension of the skier than a piece of sporting equipment that must be adjusted to. The titanium is fast into the wakes and delivers automatic turns. The Titanium also provides an unexpected level of forgiveness when the skier does something unwise.
Turns ( both sides )
Most skis turn with a bias toward tailslide or a bias toward the front of the ski pulling to the inside. The Titanium is distinctly neutral and delivers a turn that can be described as a “hockey stop” turn. The turns are quick and feel like the ski is rotating around the skiers' feet. The more the skier can stand tall on the ski approaching apex and delay the ski rolling to the inside, the more distinctive the hockey stop turn will be.
If the skier forgoes the hockey stop style turn and moves their mass to the inside / rolls the ski in early the Titanium will provide a fast caving turn.
The ski works best with a neutral to forward weight bias approaching apex ( as with most skis).
Ball to wakes
The Titanium makes ample speed into the first wake with a moderate amount of load and effort from the skier.
Remarkably, the ski will allow the skier to recover from a major mistake at the ball and still make enough speed by the first wake to stay in the pass.
Wakes to ball
The ski casts out off the second wake naturally and carries ample speed to apex. It rides moderately deep in the water providing stability approaching the ball.
This ski is a personal favorite of mine because it just works. During this review period, I did not think about how I needed to adjust my skiing to work with this ski. I spent most of the rides just refining my craft and or trying to ski up to my PB.
Settings: 2.465 - 6.890 - .779 - 29 1/8 - 9
The Reflex Zen Origin is the latest ski from the historic French ski company. The ski design incorporates very round bevels, firm flex, and a deep tunnel. The result is a ski that makes a lot of speed into the wakes, slows down approaching the ball, and turns hard.
Ball to wakes
Leaving the ball and heading for the first wake the tip of the ski stays down and pulls away from the pylon. The ski creates angle and load automatically.
The ski is noticeably stable through centerline. Skiers who overload at the wakes will find an unexpected level of forgiveness. The wake crossings are my favorite thing about the Zen Origin.
Wakes to ball
The Zen Origin flows out off the second wake and rolls out freely. The ski does not feel loose in terms of roll but it flows away from the centerline enough to initiate the turn early.
Because the ski rides deep in the water it feels stable and sheds speed quickly approaching the ball.
Riding deep in the water and arcing in early results in flowing fast on side turns. The ski carries plenty of speed through apex and back toward the wakes. If needed the ski will turn very aggressively at on side.
The tail rides deep in the water and the overall flex of the ski is relatively stiff. This means that if the skier tries to force the tail of the ski to slide it will overpressure and the tip will come up.
Off Side turns on the Zen Origin are dependable and consistent. The ski can be turned with the skier's weight centered or turned more aggressively with additional front foot pressure.
As with on side it is recommended that the skier refrains from pushing the tail of the ski at apex.
The Zen Origin does not make extra speed at gate pull out. Skiers will need to pull out a little later and with more intensity than normal.
The ski can be set up to be ridden with a neutral or back foot bias but these settings do not work past 32 off. The settings used for the bulk of this review required a front foot bias on both sides.
My settings are below. The DFT of .665 seems unusual until you take into account how round the trailing edge of the ski is. In other words, the shape of the back of the ski changes the reference point.
29 7/8 - 2.505 - 6.855 - .665 - 7 Degrees
Click here to demo the Zen Origin https://reflexwaterskiusa.com/demo
The first ski from “The Parsons Project” is called the Pineapple. Ski design by Nick Parsons and composite design by Carl Denis. It is a unique ski from a unique company.
The Pineapple’s proportions and dimensions are unmistakably different. The “V” shaped tunnel is massive, and the sidewall is almost 10% thicker than any other ski. The high gloss carbon fiber finish is beautiful. The Pineapple is radical.
Unusual Turn Mechanics
The fundamental mechanics of any slalom turn requires the tail of the ski to smear (or slide ) and for the front of the ski to grip or pull to the inside. From edge change to hookup, the tail of the ski is always traveling an arc wider than the skiers' feet. Most high-end slalom skis are designed with a bias on tail slide over front end grip. When everything is in balance the skier is likely unaware that any of this is happening.
The front of the Pineapple pulls the front ski to the inside of the turn. The back of the ski is certainly sliding but the grip of the front of the ski is the dominant attribute of the Pineapple.
The front-end grip as described above comes into play as the ski is rolled over in the turn. The more the ski is rolled to the inside the more the front of the ski grips and pulls the ski through the turn. Skiers generally have more front foot pressure, roll the ski to the inside later, and less at off side as compared to on side. With the Pineapple this results in a long flowing pre-turn followed by a very fast and sharp finish.
On Side turns on the Pineapple are very similar to the off side turns. The ski’s stability allows the skier to drive forward approaching apex. With at least a moderate amount of front foot pressure, the Pineapple carves through on side much like any other high-end ski. With more front foot pressure the front of the ski pulls under the rope very aggressively.
Skiers who push and/or attempt to force the finish of the on side turn will likely not have smooth on side turns.
Wakes to ball
The Pineapple’s stability from the second wake to the ball is the ski's second stand-out attribute. The ski offers the skier an extra stable platform to stand on. This gives the skier an additional opportunity to be in the best possible position approaching apex.
The ski runs an early line and flows out to width easily.
Ball to the wakes
The shape of this ski allows it to hold direction and generate substantial speed out of the ball. The grip created by the tunnel can also result in additional load on the rope and the skier. Skiers who can resist the temptation to add unnecessary load approaching the wakes will have the best results.
This ski’s unusual attributes mean that many skiers will feel uncomfortable on the first ride or two. For this review, it took several rides before I was able to flow through passes as well as I expect. One day everything became smoother than the day before and now it just keeps getting better and better.
Moving forward on the ski as much as possible after each edge change and only loading the rope as much as necessary are my focuses on this ski.
Fin settings on the Pineapple are perhaps more critical than most skis
At the beginning of this review, I was nervous about what I had gotten into. By the end of the review period the Pineapple was one of my favorite skis.
The ski’s attributes have been ideal for me to work on my personal skiing technique. I believe skiing on the Pineapple has made me a better skier.
Learn more at https://www.tppskis.com/
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.