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  1. #1
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    Default Slalom Mythbusters

    Time to test your slalom trivia skills. The 'Myths' presented here are not necessarily myths or Urban legends. But of some interest if true and humorous if not true. Add your own to the list or confirm -de-bunk them if you can. These are based on 'facts' I have gathered over the last 40 years.

    1. First concave slalom. Someone had an old Northland Sabre stored in their damp basement for a long enough period of time to cause the all-wood ski to warp. Just so happened it warped in a concave fashion. The owner skied and - instant technology jump. This would have been in the late 1960's or early 1970's I think..

    2. Saucier - Dave Saucier designed one of the best wood skis ever. His bindings were incredibly uncomfortable surgical rubber. This was mid 1970's I think. Also rumore to own Lake Saucier in Minnesota, where you could bring your ski to him and he would 'tune' it after watching you ski, by sanding the bevels.

    3. Slalom kite skiing - A slalom course was designed for Kite Skiing, similar to a normal ski course, but with fountains rising from the surface as bouys. I think they actually used 2 skis, but seriously....

    4. Whistling O'Brien - The OBrien Mach 1? or World team, red bottom, blue top? was an early ski to have holes in the fin. If you were skiing really hot, it would whiistle/hum when you were coming out of your turn. I actually experienced this myself. Mid-Late 1970's.

    5. O'Brien drug scandal - Herb O'Brien allegedly left Obrien water skis after drugs were found in his ski boxes. If true, I am sure Herb had nothing to do with this personally. Mid-Late 1970's. AMF bought them (bowling balls, camping gear, and water skis?)

    6. Sport-Tech ? - After Herb left O'Brien the following the scandal, he started Sport-tech and designed a ski with a binding that could be adjusted laterally to compensate for weak side turns.

    7. Variable Textured Bottom - In late 1970's, earlu 1980' Jobe came out with a Variable textured bottom (Jobe Professional) where, on the bottom, the tail 1/3 was smooth, the middle 1/3 was semi-rough, and the front 1/3 was very rough. This was in recognition of the importance of drag in slowing down the ski in the preturn, when more of the ski is supposed to be in the water. Also was probably responsibile for the birth of 'Break at the waist, fall on your face." That ski could really slow you down, without much warning.

    8. The wing - Steve Schnitzki claims to have invented the wing, that little foil we attach to our fins to accomplish the drag that the variable textured bottom was trying to achieve. This brought an end to variable textured bottoms. A lot of face plants were witnesed as people experimented with getting that setting right. Now I think Steve has come out with an fixed wing at 9 degrees that is supposed to be the ideal angle for just about every one.

    9. Speed - At 36mph and 38 off, skier speed is in excess of 60 mph across the wake.

    10. Hitting the boat - At rope lengths of 39.5 off and shorter, it is possible for a skier to actually hit the side of the boat after a turn. In this case things have usually gone prety awry.... (5/28/09 - See photo later in this thread, Alan Larkin at 38 off)

    11. Ski Cost - It is possible to spend over $3000 MSRP on a slalom ski with bindings.

    12. Plank skiing - a skier at Gordon Rathbuns Ski Paradise in Acapulco was able to ski the course on a 3 foot long 2x4 or 2x6 ? with no bindings.

    Please confirm or debunk these and add your own...

    Added 5/16/09

    13. Long line at 36 - The pass at long line (75 ft) at 36 mph is harder than the pass at 15 off at 36. I have direct experience with this from my youth. That long line pass was brutal. There is a reason why back in the 80's they changed the rule to allow you to start at slower speeds at 15 off and count your 36 mph pass as a double pass.

    14. Big Spray = Good Skiing - In my early days we had a guy on the lake who put up a huge wall of water. And honestly, that was a big part of my inspiration to get into slalom, I thought it looked pretty cool and the girls dug it. I have learned since that your spray is the result, not the goal, and if you are not putting up huge water, it does not mean you are skiing poorly.

    15. Left Foot advantage - In the early days of skiing the cours I felt I was at a disadvantage being RFF. For me #1 ball was critical and if you were a little late it was easier for LFF skiers to adjust because it was their strong side turn. I think that this perception was just becasue I had a bad gate. I notice Andy Mapple and a few other top skiers are RFF. So I think if you are RFF and have a really good gate, you are at an advantage.

    16. 6 foot barrier - Due to the demand for a long reach at 38 off and shorter, you must be at least 6 feet to ski those short ropes. Terry Winter has proven this to be a myth - and I am sure he is not the only one. There is clearly a physical limit related to height, but guys like Terry keep pushing the envelope.

    Keep the mythbusting alilve...

    Dave
    Last edited by BensonWdby; 05-26-2009 at 11:42 PM. Reason: Additional myths/truths
    If you believe something to be true, it will be - in it's consequences.
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  2. #2
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    Default

    I don't have any info on any of these. But this is a great post and very entertaining. Thanks!
    My Mom said I'm not allowed to get wet!
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  3. #3
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    Smile

    The only one i can confirm was the three different surfaces on a Jobe as i skied one for yrs and yes it was very possible to ski out the front of it and stupid as i am/was i even added a wing to it. I did some experimenting and the wing is to this day set VERY neutral.DI or does it help that ski i don't know.

  4. #4
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    Default

    we have an old obrien world team that is green on green. it whistles. don't ski it much though.

  5. #5
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    Come to think of it I had an Obrien World Team that would whistle.
    My Mom said I'm not allowed to get wet!
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  6. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BensonWdby View Post
    9. Speed - At 36mph and 38 off, skier speed is in excess of 60 mph across the wake.

    10. Hitting the boat - At rope lengths of 39.5 off and shorter, it is possible for a skier to actually hit the side of the boat after a turn. In this case things have usually gone prety awry....

    11. Ski Cost - It is possible to spend over $3000 MSRP on a slalom ski with bindings.
    Dave
    9. Very close, at 39 off at 36, the average pro at last years event in Santa Rosa was doing over 60 (62-64) crossing the first wake. I don't have the numbers for 38 off.

    10. No, you can't hit the boat; acceleration stops once you let go of the rope, exceed boat speed, or stop resisting the boats acceleration. The boat is moving forward at a "constant" 36 once the skier turns to the boat.

    11. MSRP on a new ski and new bindings with shipping and tax can exceed $2K.
    1997 MasterCraft 205

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  7. #7
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    10. Who said anythign about letting go of the rope? I am almost certain a saw a photo of a guy doing exactly that. And because he hit the boat, and then let go of the rope, and did not get back to the bubbles, he did not get full score for the bouy.
    If you believe something to be true, it will be - in it's consequences.
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  8. #8
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    12. i loved to see it
    A Day at the Lake...Priceless
    A Day in Powder...Endless


    Joe V
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  9. #9
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    12. I have seen the plank in person, but memory a little fuzzy. I will check with Gordon to see if he has any photos...
    If you believe something to be true, it will be - in it's consequences.
    http://bensonwdby.home.comcast.net/

    1999 Mobius - DD - 5.7L Carb - Perfect Pass

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxpower220 View Post
    9. Very close, at 39 off at 36, the average pro at last years event in Santa Rosa was doing over 60 (62-64) crossing the first wake. I don't have the numbers for 38 off.

    10. No, you can't hit the boat; acceleration stops once you let go of the rope, exceed boat speed, or stop resisting the boats acceleration. The boat is moving forward at a "constant" 36 once the skier turns to the boat.

    11. MSRP on a new ski and new bindings with shipping and tax can exceed $2K.

    That #10 is a good one. I have no idea if myth or can actually happen. On the one hand, if skier speed reaches 60 mph then at a certain point he's covering more ground in the same amount of time as the boat. Depending on his rate of deceleration, he could intersect with the boat. On the other, he is traveling a path at angle to the boat which is always going directly forward at constant speed. As such, the boat would always be pulling away and be ahead of the skier.
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