View Full Version : Finally got back up on a ski after 10+ years. Should I take off the wing on the fin?

09-07-2013, 08:16 PM
Now that I have my own boat, I can justify taking some Slalom runs again. When I didn't have a boat, I just didn't get enough water time to justify spreading myself across activities.

It took about a zillion pulls before I went online to find out what the heck I was doing wrong (I had my head down and shoulders forward, which was a recipe for FAIL). So today, I got it right.

Shoulders back
Knees bent
Sitting on my rear ankle
Leaned back
Looking up towards the sky

It felt good to be up, though the water really wasn't smooth enough to have much fun. So I just rode it until I got tired and then did some wake surfing!


I am using my Step Dad's old ski. It's a 69" Connelly Legend. I'm sure it's plenty dated, but it's free for me to use, and it has double high boots which is what I like. I can't stand a rear slip.


My skiing ability is that on a good day, I can ride around and I enjoyed cutting towards the outside. I was never all that great at making the bit turn and throwing a rooster and cutting hard in towards the wake.

That said, I'd like to get this ski set up so that it's a little easier and more forgiving. I don't need the upper echelon of performance!

Should I change the rear fin at all? Should I take off the wing from the fin?


09-07-2013, 09:43 PM
Glad you are back! Not too sure about the "sitting on the rear ankle" comment. A stable position is to be 50/50 both feet, aligned head to feet over the ski.

The fin adjustment is science in and of itself. Unless you have caliper and factory specs, I'd leave it (assuming still set at factory spec). The wing is another thing. Personally I dont have mine on. Helps me maintain a nice carving speed and pattern off the second wake. For open water skiing, the wing is not necessary. Mark it, remove and try it. Can always put it back on. Happy wakes!

09-07-2013, 11:30 PM
what you were doing wrong is how to do it right behind a underpowered boat like the one I learned behind.

09-07-2013, 11:51 PM
what you were doing wrong is how to do it right behind a underpowered boat like the one I learned behind.

Well, I'd skied 10+ years ago behind a Sport Natique and a MB Sports Boss 200 and would get up on 1st or 2nd pull. Leaning too far forward made me bend at the waist and put my ski more perpendicular to the plane of the water and it pulled the rope out of my hands after I drank a ton of water. Miserable. For whatever reason, those tips that I read online allowed me to get on plane and succeed!

09-08-2013, 12:59 AM
Heard that Harbor Freight has a decent caliper that will not break the bank. Was out on Friday with another Supra forum guy that I pull for since I can't ski at the moment but that is another story... Anyways, he completely readjusted pretty much everything on the ski and used the caliper to adjust the fin. He said he has never felt better on the ski than he did that day and I can say that he was definitely looking much better in his cuts.

chris young
09-08-2013, 08:48 AM
How much do you weigh? 69" should be for a 220 pound skiier. The point of the wing is to slow you down coming in to the ball, but most of us aren't generating enough speed cross course to need it. I took mine off when I bought the ski, and I was having a hell of a time with my off side turn so my instructor told me to put it back on.

As for the deep water starts, I feel your pain, when I switched to double boots I was stuffing half my starts. The big key for me at least was way more back foot pressure and knees to chest. Arms straight is also important, but you're getting it now so all is good.

Welcome back to the ski side. I wish could ski right now but alas I've messed up my knee (I was skiing twice a day during August vacation and 3 times/ week for the rest of the summer and I think the 50 year old knee finally had enough. I'm getting physio now and doing all my exercises so hopefully I can get back in the water before the boats come out.

09-08-2013, 09:30 PM
How much do you weigh? 69" should be for a 220 pound skiier.

I weight 169. But then again, the ski is free for me to use and I don't ski enough to justify getting something for myself. Heck, I went out on the water today and didn't even bring it with me in the boat...

09-09-2013, 09:49 AM
x2 on leaving the fin. I actually wouldn't recommend tweaking this until you get to the shortline stage: at or beyond 28 off. Just keep it fun and work on body position. Soon you'll get to free ski all day or at least back to back running the course 4-6 runs and not get tired. If you're getting sore or tired before you run through the balls 4 times, have someone video your wake crossings and body position. I had to re-invent my skiing which took some time, and is still a work in progress, but wow, its paid off well.

Glad to see you on the stick, keep ripping it!


09-09-2013, 05:18 PM
I agree with Chris Young. If you are just open water skiing and trying to regain form, I would take it off. Work on form, e.g. "Stacked" head to foot over the ski, not bending forward or back, arms straight at waste level, generating speed from the turn to the wake, and then setting up for next turn without that second speed pull. That long ski for your weight may compromise regaining form, because you'll probably find yourself standing on the tail to turn it. That's a lot of ski for someone your weight. However, you can compensate somewhat by reducing speed. Forget 28 or 30. Go for 24 to 26. If you are just open water skiing, longer can be better!

Deep water starts with double boots shouldnt be a problem unless you have them too tight. Stay tucked in the ball position and keep your arms straight and down by the front binding. If too high on the ski, you cant leverage it out of the water.

Most of all have fun with it, and show the lake that slalom is still alive! Oh, yeah. Always put it in the boat. Even if you dont feel like skiing, just hold it up and lean on it for the boats passing by :)

09-09-2013, 09:03 PM
The fin will help with slack on your cutting if the rope is slacking move it forward. Also if the ski digs in on turns the front of the fin needs to go up. Dow. Brings the ski down Into the water

11-04-2013, 01:24 AM
I have that exact same Connelly ski & I love it. I'm 200lbs, so the longer length helps me out. Glad your back on the stick! Enjoy.

08-03-2015, 05:50 PM
Shoulders back
Knees bent
Sitting on my rear ankle
Leaned back
Looking up towards the sky

I too just returned to my old school Jobe competition slalom ski. I haven't skiied it in several years, but decided to pull it out last week while camping with the family and my old school TS6M on an Eastern Washington lake. I'm still sore and suffering from lakeweed ear, but it was totally worth it!

The following is my deep water start list for anyone who might benefit. This assumes a tournament tow boat or a boat of similar performance.

In the water with both feet in the ski boots, facing the boats transom, aligned with boat, ski rope, and intended pull direction:

Crouch with both knees positioned as close as possible to your chest. If left foot forward, then place rope on the right side of the ski, and hold the rope handle in left hand and place forward (left) knee into the crook of your bent left elbow. Keep your right arm and hand outstretched to your right side as required for wave management to prevent rolling over. Opposite for right foot forward skiers. This is the "egg" position, and is the initial position for the pull-out, and is also a good position for those times when you need to be dragged in-gear idle to get the rope and boat aligned with the desired direction of pull.

Upon "Hit-It":

Take a deep breath and hold it, as you will be briefly pulled through the water as a bow wave forms in front of your head. Allow the left arm to be pulled straight as you bring right hand in to grasp the handle. Focus entirely on keeping the forward knee as close as possible to the chest while simultaneously pushing on rear foot. The goal behind these seemingly opposing actions is to force the ski to maintain as near 90 degree angle to the rope (and likewise the waters surface) when viewed from the side, while yet keeping the skiers center-of-gravity low and behind the ski. This steep ski angle-of-attack drives the ski up to the surface and keeps it there so that soon as the water becomes hard enough (ski becomes fast enough), the ski will plane. Relaxing this action will delay or even prevent the ski from carrying your weight on the water.
To prevent Wiggly Ski Syndrome, angle the ski tip slightly away from vertical towards the rope (when viewed from the skiers position). Maintain this angle during the pull-out and the ski will sit firmly against the rigid rope and never wiggle again.

1/2 way to the boats prop wash:

You will be emerging from the bow wave of water and may be dry enough for a second breath of air.
Maintain focus on ski angle-of-attack by pushing on rear leg while keeping forward knee close to the chest, while keeping the ski tip firmly against the rope.

Arriving at the prop wash:

Stand up, as the ski speed is likely high enough now that it is beginning to plane on the waters surface.
Assume the skiing posture: Shoulders back, Butt in, Arms straight (unbend your elbows, save the strength for later in the run) knees slightly bent, and place your center-of-gravity evenly over both feet.

This is more or less where my expertise ends, Getting up. Oh, and falling down. I am pretty good at that too. Its the part in between that I struggle the most with. Which leads me to my ski skeg fin question:

My aerodynamics experience makes me think that adjusting the fin leading edge up (toward ski lower surface) should increase upward lift (or more correctly, reduce downward lift) at the rear of the ski, pushing the ski nose down toward the water's surface. Adjusting the leading edge of the fin down away from the ski's lower surface should pull the rear of the ski down, raising the nose of the ski away from the water.

Oddly enough, when playing with these fin position settings, the above expectations were not really noticeable to me. I have read that moving the skiers weight forward onto the forward leg will slow the ski, and place the curved tip into the water to aid carving the slalom turn. So I would expect then that reducing the fin angle would help skiers get the ski nose down to slow the ski. Likewise then, increasing the fin angle should pull the back of the ski down, getting the nose further away from the water sooner, and perhaps aiding the skier's acceleration out of the turn. But these concepts of mine seem completely backwards to what I am reading about regarding fin angles, such that I am wondering what scientific laws or principles I must be leaving out of my consideration. I am hoping someone can explain the dynamic forces at work that result in the desired fin affects.


08-03-2015, 06:16 PM
and suffering from lakeweed ear

Thanks for the reply. I know all this stuff will help people like it did me. I've now found that I now do a LOT better if I have my legs extended about 3/4 of the way to full lock. I actually now have a harder time in the "egg" and need to start in more of the position that I'll ultimately be skiing in...

And what the hell is "lakeweed ear"?????

08-03-2015, 10:50 PM
Hi Trayson,
The truth is, I don't really stay in the full egg position long after Hit-It either. But when I was initially taught this deep-water procedure, I originally remained in the egg until I realized the ski was planing, then simply stood up. And I recommend all who are learning deep-water starts follow this procedure until they feel comfortable doing deep-water starts, which may only take a few sets. After becoming comfortable, all of us are likely to blend the procedural elements together. For instance, I stand up now much sooner, and push really hard with my legs against the rope to manage the ski's angle-of-attack and to resist being pulled over the front. I might get up a little bit earlier this way, but probably consume more energy than the Egg procedure. But I can do this because I know where my weight needs to be relative to the ski, and can tell when its moving in order to correct it before it is too late. All of this must enemtually be learned when first starting out in deep-water, and the Egg method avoids the need to until the skier gets some time in the saddle. The egg procedure is easy to teach, and easy for the student to accomplish as there is little to think about and accomplish during stress-time.

I got some water in my outer ear from a fall, which infected. My doctor called it swimmer's ear, and gave me drops to clear the infection. Because the reservoir level was down quite a bit, and the lake was very weedy this year, I felt that "Lakeweed Ear" was more apropos.

08-10-2015, 02:59 PM
I used to have an annual summer bout of 'lakeweed ear' when I was a kid. If only I'd told my folks that there was water in my ear! Always now, and in in the early days with my kids, I soak a Q tip in rubbing alcohol and gently swab the ears. Disperses the h20 and kills any nasties that might linger.