Answers AB on Gates
Chris, can you talk through how you setup your gates at the various line lengths, 32-41?
Do you get to the same width on the 2 4 6 line each time? Do you "go" when left gate lines up with 1 ball? If not, what is your aim? Does the edge change get more extreme or the same for each? Does the resistance go up to hold it?
Or any other cherries you would like to share.
There is some confusion about a Perfect Pass gate vs ZO gate. I have found that on PP, I used to really load it right at the second wake, which meant I was getting off of it midway out, when I do this on ZO, it seems like the boat wants to take the handle away midway though my one ball. I have moved everything back about 20 feet and it is working much better. Is this luck, or science?
AB, I hope to not disappoint, but my gates are very basic. I start my edge out at the same place for each line length. My main focus is to try to leave the handle where it is when starting the edge out for my gates and let my body fall into a lean with my right hip up. I try to focus on leaving my left arm straight while in the lean and while transitioning to my turning edge. I then ride two hands for a few moments before releasing my left one. In this zone is where I make sure I am in the place that I want to be for my turn in. Meaning, this is the zone that I can hold on a bit longer if I ended up getting out too early or release a bit early if I'm running late. Once I release my hand, I am focused on skiing away from the handle to apex. The handle is then left where it is at apex and I focus on skiing my left hip and free hand back to the handle without moving the handle. If I am too slow in water speed, you will see my left hand reach for the handle before my left hip gets to it. Once I connect, it is always the same regardless of line length. Leave the handle where it is and allow my body to fall away from it. This is what allows my hip to remain connected up to the handle. I do not go harder for any line length. We all have a tendency to try to go harder at our shortest passes and this is the main reason we have issues at buoy one. If you can focus on the sequence or progression of your gate from starting position prior to edge out through the center line of the gates and forget what line length you are at, you will ski better. I do not have a turn in point. That is determined on the point when I edge out. Lately, I have been opting for an earlier edge out with riding the handle with two hands longer before releasing. The only issue I come across is losing a bit too much speed. Another tid bit is that I miss my gates in practice on a regular basis. I am least concerned with that point. If I'm consistently missing the right hand gate buoy by 1 foot, then I should adjust my edge out to be one foot later.
As far as zero off vs perfect pass, I think the main thing is that Perfect pass stayed more constant with the rpm's. You could get away with "loading" the line and not have the boat react so abruptly. Zero Off gets pulled down more before reacting (just listen to the motor). Thus it is more important for us to focus on skiing more technically right than trying to hammer down the line. The worst thing we all do is try to load the rope (AKA pull the boat backwards) to try to make up time when we feel down course. This is a faulty thought. If you lose, do not try to make up. Just ski well from that place. If I end up 5 feet down course out of buoy one, then I plan to stay there the rest of the pass. If I am 15 feet downcourse out of two, then I need to realize that I will be 15 feet downcourse the rest of the way. We need to get used to being put in compromised situations, learn to remain calm and get back to trusting our keys for success. Panic and pulling are not the answer. Be smarter than your skiing. Wait did I just say that....I'm as guilty as any on this topic! We all can do better.
Ab, I think we can ski with the philosophy that we were skiing PP with but with one exception, we need to decrease the amount of load we are creating so that we are more invisible to Zero Off. Focus more on the leaning aspect without applying any pressure to our feet. This will put way less load on the line and allow our feet to be more dynamic (feel much less stuck or stagnant). The general idea is that you leave the handle where it is and hang away from it in a stacked position. I think most skiers leverage on the handle, meaning that they are actually trying to pull the handle in a direction opposite of the direction the boat is traveling. The more extreme this gets, the more zero off reacts to the added force and adds gas. Hanging in a stacked position will give you all you need to get to the next buoy. It also increases balance as there is less force to give back at the edge change. Just a thought.