Myth - You need to do a one hand gate to run 41' off! Myth - You need to start turning in after the left gate and number one lineup.
Myth - You need to pull through both wakes and out to the edge of the foam and then change edge.
A beautiful example of the "REVERSE C" demonstrated by Nate Smith. Notice the upper body is still under load and inclined away from the boat yet the lower body is on a new edge traveling outbound, away from the handle. A perfect example of the "X FACTOR" at work!
In the video above, look at the angle Nate has to the boat when he turns in at 32' off. People are always trying to get to 90 degrees yet Nate is nowhere near this!
Look where the buoys are in his turns! Basically, his body is on the up-course side of the buoy while his ski is on the down-course side. He is wasting no real estate!
Look how smooth the video is. There's no jarring finish after the turns.
Nate Smith - Handle low for maximum efficiency.
Nate Smith - In the wakes the handle is mid-body.
Nate Smith - In the pre-turn the handle is shoulder height.
THE SWINGING "T"
In the photos above of Nate Smith, you can see the height of the handle changing as he progresses through the slalom course. The lower the handle is, the more efficient he is in the acceleration phase of the course and conversely, the higher the handle, the less efficient he is (try accelerating with the handle higher than your shoulders). By merely changing the height of the handle, we can unleash the effects of centrifugal force on our skiing. If I were strong enough to spin you around while you are holding onto a ski handle, the following would happen. If you hold the handle close to your ankles, your upper body would swing the widest. If you hold the handle at center mass, you would swing perpendicular to the rope or in a sideways ?T?. If you hold the handle near you head, your feet would swing the widest. In the photos of Nate above, all of the effects I just described are happening! Take the time to analyze your skiing and see if you are utilizing these forces or fighting them. After all, awareness leads to change and if you do not change, you will not stay the same as age and technology will soon take their toll! Ski great!
Analysis of the photo of Nate Smith above on the left.
In this photo, Nate's head is straight up and his eyes are downcourse, not tipped over like you see on amateur skiers. This keeps Nate's visuals in a place of comfort (imagine trying to drive your car really fast with your head tipped over at an extreme angle). This also keeps the weight of his head (your head weighs about as much as a bowling ball) much more centered and not pulling his body down were it off to the side. Nate's shoulders are level. By keeping them level, Nate is forced to use his lower body's angulation to turn the ski. Keeping the shoulders level also makes it very difficult to fall. Nate's right hip is almost in the water. This increases the edge angle of the ski and decreases Nate's chances of falling as his upper body is upright. Nate's handle is low setting him up to utilize the powers of centrifugal force out of the buoy.
Analysis of Nate in the center photo. Nate is doing what I call "SKIING ON TWO AXIS". What this means is traditionally we ski on one axis, that being the center point of our connection to the boat or the pylon. We swing back and forth, left and right, always connected to this axis. What I see Nate doing is what I call "SWINGING". Instead of being aligned only away from the pylon's axis, he is swinging his body around and in front of a secondary axis or, the handle. He is utilizing not only the swing from the primary axis but also generating more efficiency by swinging around the secondary axis much like using your legs to pump yourself up while on a swing set. Without using your legs on a swing set, it's really difficult to gain altitude. To me, Nate is utilizing this secondary source of efficiency to accomplish his goals.
Additionally, Nate's eyes are level, his shoulders are level, his elbows are close to his core, his handle height is close to CM (center of mass) and his ski is almost flat right off the second wake (ideally he would be on the the decelerating edge at this point).
In the photo on the right, Nate's .............. coming soonly!
ON THE DOCK WITH NATE SMITH
After shooting the photos above, I sat with Nate Smith for a few minutes going over his photos and ski set. Nate has been skiing in Indiana all winter other than a few trips down south to Orlando and Palm Beach. His training partner is BIG DAWG Scott Tynan. The two of them were out skiing last week in 27 degree air temp, 36 degree water temp! Nate says the worst thing is freezing rain! Go figure! I asked Nate what line lengths he was running in those conditions. 39 was his reply. No different than down here. I watched, photographed and videotaped Nate's set on a ski he hasn't ridden in weeks. A ski 1" shorter than the ski he rode earlier in the day which was a 68" D3 X7. Nate is 150 pounds on a stock, out of the box 68" ski! Nate started at 32 off and ran straight through to 3 at 41 off and he did not like how the 67" ski rode. It felt too small and he felt narrow. I showed Nate his photos and videos and asked him a question; "where are you trying to be flat (in the middle of your edge change)? Nate responded; "by the second wake at the latest". Here is the future WORLD RECORD HOLDER reinforcing what the "X-FACTOR" has been telling us since I first published it in "EDGE CHANGE LIKE THE PROS". Nate skis year round in Indiana. He can ski in dark conditions, in cold conditions, early in the morning, when tired, on different lakes without ski tuning and he's YOUNG so he can recuperate mucho rapido. Unless you are willing to work as hard as Nate, I suggest you set your sights on another sport! Did I mention Nate was running 41 off in practice last week? More photos here:
Study these photos! Look at Nate's elbows after the wakes! Look at which edge he's on after the wakes. Look where his eyes are focused and his upright head position. Look where his chest is facing. Study these photos and learn! What Nate is doing is no accident. He has invested a tremendous amount of time and effort getting to where he is. Are you willing to do the same? Then DO IT!
Nate Smith's moment of initiation into the gate at 41 off, 10.25m. Notice that Nate's eyes have just past the right hand gate/number one lineup. Where are you initiating?
Nate Smith is fully committed on his 41 off (10.25m) gate. Notice that Nate's eyes appear to be slightly earlier than the left hand gate/number one lineup. Where are you fully committed?