Looking for the next challenge in water skiing?
Get ready to slalom ski and really cut through the wake! As with all sports, practice and repetition are important to developing new skills, so keep at it and by the end of the summer you will be a slalom champion.
Most skiers learn to slalom by transitioning from a two-ski deep water start and dropping a ski to begin to slalom. This blog is directed at those skiers who have skied to this point. You should have determined your dominant foot so that you can learn a one-ski deep water start and perfect these slalom ski techniques:
• Learn to One-Ski Deep Water Start: Bend the knee of your dominant foot that is in the top binding so that your knee is touching your chest. Position the ski rope on the inside of the ski (right-foot forward skiers should have the ski rope on the left side of the ski, and vice-versa for left-foot skiers). Bend the knee of your other leg but keep it free to drag your foot during the start for stability. As the boat starts to pull you up and out of the water, keep your shoulders square and slightly back so your weight is over the center of the ski. Keep the ski tip aligned with the boat, and let the force of the water push the ski; do not rush to push the ski out from under your body. When you are out of the water, put your other foot into the rear tow plate binding.
• Develop a Solid Slalom Foundation: Before you start turning and cutting, get comfortable with the slalom position in the center of the wakes, with your weight positioned equally on each leg with your knees and ankles at a slight forward bend. Lean back with your shoulders straight and your chest up and aligned with the boat, your arms down with your hips close to the ski rope handle, and your eyes focused up and ahead.
• Learn Leverage: Lean to one side, using the boat speed as leverage to get the ski on edge, cross over the wake, turn and cross back to the center. Focus on keeping your chest up and shoulders back to that the boat’s speed pulls the ski through the wakes. When initiating turns, turn the ski tip toward the wake and slowly pull to bring your hips towards the handle.
• Master Body Position: To really amp up your slalom game, get into the cadence of using slack in the rope to coast free from the speed of the boat and buy yourself time to make the transition into a cut. When you are outside the wake and beginning a coast, your momentum is pulling you a few mph faster than the boat is traveling. Lean into the edge and pull while turning, making sure your hips are forward and your arms are down.
• Perfect Transitions: Keep practicing to get comfortable crisscrossing over the center of the boat wakes until you are able to cross both boat wakes with ease. Focus on making coasts, pulls and turns into a smooth rhythm, knowing that it’s better to complete a series of slow, smooth turns than going at an aggressive pace that you can’t maintain. Eventually, your goal should be to cross both boat wakes seven times to simulate zigzagging through a competitive slalom course through six buoys. You are now a slalom skier!
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