Saturday, May 27, 2006

left palm up...

right palm down, vice versa. I've never thought that it really mattered which way palm was up for slalom.
I have been converted. For left foot forward, right palm up and vice versa. After 10 years, I have switched and I regret not switching years ago. I used to have a strong pull through the wakes on my on-side, and only hope not lose pull on my off-side. After switching, I can get just as strong a lean in either direction. Running my hardest pass this morning was the official conversion event. I now preach opposite palm up to foot forward for all the new slalom skiers I teach. Let it be written, let it be gripped.

No pics yet,I'm waiting for Leah to email them to me.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Out of the frying pan...

and into the fryer, so the saying goes. after heavy winds for the better part of two weeks, now the water level is to high at out lake and the backwash is almost unbearable. It's impossible to get more than four decent passes. I'l just blame the rollers for the slack line in this shot. Observe the limp rope. I'm the dark speck riding the tiny sixam in the picture. The rope is at 28 off, I think.

my slack rope

This is what rick looks like from a long way off. He's just a couple sets away from consistent 32 offs again.

rick long view

And we're done.

rick to dock

Friday, May 19, 2006

"No more pencils...

No more books, No more teachers' dirty looks..." and I'm glad.

I Just graduated nursing school. No job yet. For now it's 1/2 a day for NCLEX review and job hunting, and 1/2 a day for skiing.

here's some circumstantial evidence (my wife would nbot be smiling in a phony graduation shot)


There has been 20+mph winds up here for about 10 straight days. Check out what we had to contend with on wed.

windy day

Luckily, our lake has two ramps facing opposite directions. One is for distance, and one is for show ski jumping. In a moment of sacrilege, (and self-preservation) we decided to do single wake cuts off the show jump. A 25 mph head wind with whitecaps is much better than a 25 mph tail wind with whitecaps. Chuck's landing photo has a good shot of the chop that day.

chuck midair

chuck landing

Sepaking of Chuck, It looks like he is finally back to full strength. Three years ago, he blew out his left knee throwing gainers off the ramp in the ski show. He actually did a little better than just blowing out his knee. He tore the ACL,MCL, and PCL. For good measure, his Tibia was displaced superiorly, and he tore one of his hamstring muscles off the bone. He has since retired from show jumping.

This sport must be addictive. Skiers will bust their asses to get back on the water even after VERY nasty injuries.

This morning I was ready to break my trick ski into a million pieces. Every time I get frustrated, I try to invent some drill to work on balance and forget about my trick passes for a while. Today I was crossing both wakes as fast as I could in both backwrap positions. I discoverd that it is a very good drill, and I think I uncovered some fundamental balance weaknesses in my trick skiing. I was very unsteady in my regular backwrap, and was falling after the second wake in the reverse backwrap position. attaining enough balance and control to mimic slalom free-skiing should get me out of this tricking funk, and climp up to the next level, I hope. No pics, I forgot the camera.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

If it releases perfectly...

I don't feel a thing. A hangup could mean a trip to the orthopedic surgery clinic. My perfectly-reliable-until-2-days-ago rope release hung up on me yesterday. I was working on my toe pass, and fell backward on a simple toe front. Christy let go in plenty of time, but the end of my trick rope caught on the ponytial holder that I use to keep my rope release from fraying. [Sorry for no pics, but the waether was threatening and I didn't want to risk bringng the dig. cam. to the lake.] Luckily, after about 1-2 seconds of loading up the line, my toe strap shot off of my foot. (Strange as it is to say this) I was lucky to have fallen backward on a toe front. In that position, if the rope loads up, The skier will most likely ride on their back for a few feet, without an akward, ligament-tearing pull. That ponytail holder immediately returned to hair duty, and I was completely unscathed.

Here is the rope release with the ponytail holder at the end

release before

To keep the release from fraying, I wrapped a small rubber band around the loose end. It should be too small to catch the trick rope when released. If it does catch, the band is so skinny that it should just break. If any elastic compunds are to break, the rubber bands are a much better option than muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Here is my low-profile rope release

release after

I received advice on the subject in a post to A VERY good tricker suggested that I not put anything at the end, and just let the rope release fray out. When it frays too much, make a new rope release. I think this tiny rubber band should provide the best of both worlds. I just don't see how my rope could hang up on it. The rubber band is just too delicate. I will find out soon enough.

By the way, I am still a believer in the rope release. Rope release vs. mechanical release is an emotionally charged topic among trickers.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Move the feet back, and the hips...

move forward. Go figure. My decision back in winter to heed the gospel according to Freddy Kreuger and move my jump binding holes almost two inches back has completely changed my body position. Check out the before and after shots.

Before: 2K5 regionals

jump 3

After: this morning at Eagle Lake, my first time over the ramp this year


When I saw the picture, I was shocked, and a little excited. Last year, I was jumping high 120s (with the occasional low 130s in practice) with a ridiculously ineffecient position in the air. If I just get back even with last season, I should be near the EP range.

Clint took his first crack at the ramp this morning as well. He was admittedly rusty, but all in all not bad. Some photos.




The rest of us are not planning to ski in a tournament until early June, Leah is feeling more pressure than anyone else in our ski club. She qualified for NCWSA all-stars (the lone Hawkeye skier to qualify) two weeks from this weekend at Dream Lake Estates in Huxley, IA (also site of the Iowa state champoinship tourney). She wants to be taking consistent 3/4 cuts by then, and jumping in to the 80-90+ foot range, like she was at the end of the summer. While getting ready for all-stars, she is transitioning to using a jump sling. She's caught between the short and long term. We are not letting her go over without a sling again after all-stars.

Here's a shot (OK, 2 shots) of her progress



She hit the side curtain on a single wake ealy last month, and is having trouble getting late enough to get a tight line through the air on a single wake. If she brings it down, that will probably keep the arms from going up and in.

Speaking of time pressured jumping. Christy is leaving for a summer abroad in a week or two, and needs to relearn how to ride out a jump after a nasty foot injury last summer. We're giving her some confidence by taking her over the side of the ramp. She's almost ready to go off the top.



I don't think she'll be heading to Spain with a monkey on her back.

Rick is slowly returning to form. I hope he finally gets into 35 off in a tournament this season. He does it in practice, more often than myself. He's come close to runnig 35 in practice several times. This should be the year he does it. Today, he was sticking with 22 off.



Once he gets off of the tail of the ski, he'll be hitting stride.

Time to pull the boat out...
But first, here's a shot of Eagle Lake, as viewed from the 3-event dock (we share the lake with a show team) in all it's glass-clam, unspoiled splendor.


A sight like that just gets my blood pumping .

Friday, May 05, 2006

It's been a bad series of mornings...

for my toe pass. To say I am struggling with it would be an understatement. I have not completed it in practice once this year. For a remedy, I decided to spend two entire sets just riding in the toe back position and crossing the wakes. It's been a long time since I have done that, and I am hoping the step backward will allow for two or three steps forward. I remember something about Michael Jordan saying that the fundamentals never change, the only thing that changes is your attention to them(no quotation marks because I'm not sure if those were his exact words). Good basketball advice that applies to waterskiing (or any sport)as well. SPeaking of fundamentals, I've been teaching my friend Christy to trick, and i'm not even letting her try to turn backward. I'm making her spend most of her time riding the ski on one foot. I swear by it

Wait a minute, I've already talked about that. Here's a few pictures


This is Christy riding one one foot. Pretty good body position. She's right over the center of the ski.


This is Christy right before she tries a sideslide. Again, pretty good body position, but she does have that tense look you see with beginners as they attempt something new. But she hasn't let her hips drop too far back, a common mistake for beginners.

Here's Cyrus again: More free skiing and practice on technique. Speaking of practicing technique, my photography skills could use some work as well. Anyway, Cyrus is slowly pressure washing the cobwebs of winter each morning he comes out. If he gets more front ankle bend and keeps his chest higher in the turns, he'll be course-worthy.


Here's a gratuitious shot of the blog moderator. I call this look "Magnum II." It's almost ready (Note: Must have seen "Zoolander" to get the reference)


I will end with a shot of the MVP of the last few days of sunrise skiing: the new trailer hitch. ALways keep your ball even with your hitch's tongue


The van pulls like a dream now.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

If I am so inclined...

I will not land a flip on my trick ski. I learned something very important this morning: too much body inclination on a reverse flip (left-to right edge for a lff such as myself) kills both lift and rotation. This morning, I was tricking again. After a brutally frustrating series of toe tricks, I worked on my reverse flip. I changed my approach to the wake, and I think I have figured out how to get ski all the way around. I pulled out wide, 15-20 feet outside of the wake, and statred in slowly. My goal was to load the line with as little body inclination as possible. Time after time, I have approached the wake with a gradual increase in pressure and angle, but with that increased line tension I have created a corresponding reduction in the angle between my body and the water. In other words, I am lean-locked when I start to throw the flip. No wonder I cant get quite all the way around. I did it right once this morning, and the filp basically completed itself. I stuck the landing, no butt check and skied away. the problem wa I let go of the handle out of shock one I hit the water. I had to coast along the lake watching the handle skip away.

This morning I skied with Cyrus and Abe. They both slalomed, unfortunately the water level in Coralville lake is still too low to install the course at Mid-River marina, so they only could free ski. Here are some gratutitious ski shots

Cyrus, as of 2006, a waterhawk as well:


If he gets some practice in on the course, he should improve by a few passes. FOr now, keep your chest up through the turn and increase your front ankle bend.

Here's abe, He's moving to New York next month and Then to DC in the fall for audiology school, so his ski season might be short this year


Here's Abe slaloming: 22 off/ 32MPH free skiing.


He has been into 28 off/36MPH before but he has not had much quality practice time the last couple seasons.

By the time he skied, the sun was out and the fog had lifted. The shrinkage, however was in full effect. I'm getting sick of cold water. I want some hot weather.

I rode my jumpers too. I'm still working contering with my weight on the left ski until the moment i'm ready to make my turn. I felt more comfortable gettin my right hand on the handle, but I am still on my heels at the start of the turn.

Hopefully my next post will have reports of my first time over the ramp this season and my first successful filp/ reverse sequence.

Time to go