In the years Seth Stisher has spent coaching water skiers, he’s discovered the easiest way to run the slalom course for the first time is to do so accidentally.
For starters, get those darn buoys off your mind. Don’t even think about rounding them. Instead, focus on maintaining a balanced, athletic stance on your ski and moving as efficiently as possible. Your main objective is to ski in a rhythmic manner, linking turns with a taut line. To accomplish this, you’ll want to keep your movements very basic with low to medium intensity.
If you notice considerable slack rope in and out of your turns, let it be a reminder that you’re not in rhythm. Begin your initial cut close to the pre-gates (55 buoys) so you have time to carve in and cross the wakes near the entrance gates. Immediately after crossing the wakes, allow your ski to roll out onto its turning edge in preparation for a patient, carving turn. This will lead you back to your next wake crossing, where you will repeat the process.
The better you can establish a nice, flowing rhythm, the more energy you will create to allow your ski to cast out to a wider arching path. The more you do this in synch with the buoys, the closer you’ll get to buoy width. Once you start getting closer to buoy width, it’s important not to rush the finish of the turn – this will slow you down and disrupt your rhythm. Before you know it, you’ll be rounding the buoys accidentally.