Level 2 – Open-Water Skier
You're getting more comfortable crossing the wakes and are discovering how increasing your leverage and speed can affect your timing and reactions on the water. While turning, you're starting to eliminate slack in the rope. You're also working on gaining more confidence and better reaction time, and you're gaining momentum as you cross the wake, so you can coast for at least four seconds on each side of the boat.
Name: Lynn Pitts
Skills: With more than 190 days on the water already this year, Lynn is passionate about slalom. According to Marcus Brown, she's very close to running the entire course.
Working On: Where Lynn usually slips up is by starting the initiation of her turns too late and ending up down-course right from the get-go. Her main goal is to tighten up her response and timing so she can start her turn well before the buoy and finish the turn on the ball. “I just need to trust that I have enough speed and momentum off the second wake, where I can start my turn earlier,” she says.
Coach's Take: “She thinks too much,” says Marcus Brown. Lynn is very methodical in her skiing, logging every run she makes and studying where she needs to improve. While in many ways this is good, some pros thought that she was hindering her progress a bit by concentrating on too many things while skiing. “She looks like she needs to get her timing down,” adds Kyle Eade. “It's about rhythm more than actual technique.”
Tip: Sreamline Your Ski
While Lynn was initially waiting for her turn to ski during the clinics, Kyle Eade took the opportunity to assess her equipment to see if it was up to par. For starters, she had her wing at zero degrees. “If you have them set at an angle for a certain purpose, then fine, but I'd never recommend having it at neutral,” says Kyle. “Plus the wing is plastic, which I don't like. It'll flex considerably in the water.” He also cut off the excess rubber from her bindings which was protruding from her ski, an often-overlooked source of drag. “It's something even a high-level skier might not think about,” says editor Todd Ristorcelli. “I remember seeing Parrish's ski when he was 16. The kid was running 39 off with his binding overlays hanging over the top edge of the ski. I was like, 'Cut those things off!'”
Tip: Sreamline Your Ski
Tip: Learn the Course from Your Best Foot
Especially when first attempting slalom, having a good start around that first buoy is the difference between a good pass and immediate disaster. The first buoy was particularly troubling for Lynn, and the reason was that she skis right foot forward. As a result, cutting around the one ball was immediately putting pressure on her weak side. “Since she's right foot forward, I recommended she start at ball two,” says Kyle. That way, her first buoy is on her strong side, setting up a good start for the rest of the course. So when you begin learning the course, don't get locked into necessarily starting at the first buoy. Build up your experience and confidence by starting at the two ball if that's a more comfortable direction.