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STARTING WRAPPED OR UNWRAPPED

When you start a race it is very important that you are doing what you feel comfortable with. Because the less you need to think about in the starting area, the easier and smoother this part of the race will run.

For instance the unwrapped start has been used for many years and is preferred by less people these days. Starting unwrapped is all that some people use because they ski race with their handles in front of them.

But the preferred staring method these days is the wrapped start. This is where you jump in the water and put the handles behind your back and hold on with one hand behind and one hand in front of your body. this start method eliminates having to have to wrap up when you get up and going, basically you are ready to go as soon as you get up, out of the water.

One last thing that people forget, because getting up wrapped is so much easier, is that you should still bend your legs right up into your chest when getting up, to make it easier on the boat, you and your rope. You will find that as well you will not over run your rope when you clear the water.

Starts are not a big deal, so don't make them that.

10 THINGS TO DO WHEN RACING

  1. DON'T walk up to a new crew and say "just go flat out, I'll be right!"
  2. Eat and drink before a race.
  3. Stretch or warm up and cool down before and after racing.
  4. DON'T think about other things, other than skiing.
  5. DON'T get your capabilities mixed up with your ambitions.
  6. Concentrate on skiing not other boats, its the observers job.
  7. Bend your legs, it makes rough water heaps easier.
  8. Adjust your rope according to the race and conditions.
  9. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

ENJOY YOURSELF, SKI RACING IS FUN AND REWARDING.

COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN SKIER AND OBSERVER

The line of communications between the skier and the observer should be simple and easy. Simple to convey and easy to understand.

Simple signals are the key to being able to get the message across and to get back to the job at hand, SKIING. Most of us know the main signals (slow down, go faster and "the two hands in the air", take your boat and shove it). There are a few signals that you can maybe try in your next race but don't forget to speak to your observer before the race and organise with them what you will be doing.

Firstly a time signal from the observer would be like a bent elbow over their head means half way or half time. Two hands above the observers head, like a clapping motion without touching together, means someone is catching up on you. From the skier, a hand, palm towards the boat meaning take it easy or just stay at this speed.

Any amount of signals can be used and made up but just remember "make them simple."

Good communications is essential for building a good team.

HANDLE POSITION

Your front and back handle position is one of the things that can make it easier or harder to have good skiing technique.

If your back handle is too far up your back then you will tend to get pulled over the front of your ski. So if you lower this handle to a position that makes the pull of the boat come from the center of your body or lower. e.g.. If you put your middle knuckle of your hand at the top of the crack of your bottom, you will find that this is a pretty close rule of thumb. Some people will find it more comfortable lower and some will feel better with it higher, again this is one of those personal preferences that each individual skier will feel out. Don't forget that the lower you have it the lower your center of balance will be.

Your front handle is the same situation, some people like it close and some find it easier to have the handle further away.

If you like your handle a long way forward you should try not to have it that far forward that you are leaning over the front of your ski too much, because this will tend to make you have a straight front leg and make your ski drop on it's nose allot. Any of the good rough water skiers will have their front leg bent to take the waves like a shock absorber.

Same rule applies with having your front handle too far back towards you, will look like you are crapped up in the upper body and you'll probably find that you are leaning too far back on your ski and it is popping up in the nose, which makes it hard to control in the rougher conditions as well. In this situation your legs, again, will probably be straight and skiing will be uncomfortable.

Finding the happy medium is a bit of a challenge, but once you do find it, you will know because your skiing will improve in leaps and bounds. If it doesn't come straight away, don't panic, you will get it.

HOW TO DEAL WITH A BAD FALL

Falls suck but the law of averages say "that you will come down sooner or later" so you have to prepare yourself as well as you can.

If you are fit and warmed up and mentally right to race this is a good start to minimizing injury during a fall. But don't forget as soon as your number is up, you are in the hands or the lap of the gods.

Whether you come out in the end with no injury or an injury there will always be the mental injury. (If there isn't maybe you should get it checked to see if any thing is in there!) This injury is the hardest one to get through, so don't think you are the only one, after a fall, that finds it hard to ski quick again or just can't get comfortable on that ski again, because everyone goes through it even the top skiers.

I'm sorry that I can't give you an instant remedy for this problem, but there isn't one it just takes time. Probably the best way to get over a bad fall is to treat it as a lesson and learn something from it and then put it down as ancient history.

I had 3 falls in 3 races many years ago and it took me quite a few months to get back into a good skiing frame of mind. I think the biggest problem was that I didn't know why I fell so instead of going forward and getting past it, I kept going back to the falls and wanting to know why.

So get back on the ski and do as much as you can at a comfortable speed and then, I guarantee, it will come back to you in the weirdest way then you will be up there doing what you used to do again.

Even an easy fall hurts so just make them ancient history.

ROPE MAINTENANCE

(Ski Line, Harness, Wraps etc)

Your only contact with the boat is probably the most neglected part of your water ski racing equipment.

We have all probably at one time or another missed our start in a race because our rope has broken. Whilst this is disappointing it can also turn into something very dangerous. We are actually lucky if our rope breaks at the start of a race because it’s during the race that it gets critical.

When you first get your new you must STRETCH it. By this I mean you must put it around something solid (1 x telegraph pole) and then hook the other end up to something that moves with power (1 x motor car) and stretch it to the point where you are not going to break it but you are putting as much strain on it as you think it needs. For the best result you should leave it over night and for one full day.

The 6mm rope will stretch approx 10-15%.

This will not stop the rope from moving and stretching but it will make it that little bit more stable. Cut off both ends of the rope that you have stretched and then splice the loops you need in the new ends of the line. (DON'T FORGET TO CUT THE BURNED ENDS OUT!!!)

Always try to make your rope one full length that you need and if you have to have an extension on the line make sure that the extension is at the boat end of the rope.

Always wash your rope after each run and the hang it to dry in the shade, because the UV rays are not good for the structure of the rope.

The rumour that someone started the rope should be run one way is utter rot, B.S. crap, rubbish, etc. The rope is obviously weaved one way (from one end to the other) but it is the same if you turn it around the other way. If you stick to good rope and do these few things to it you shouldn't have any problems.

Next issue I will try to explain to you all how to splice without totally confusing you and harness maintenance.

SPLICING YOUR ROPE

At last count I think I am up to five hundred different ways you can splice a rope, and I know that the best way is sometimes not the easiest to do, but the way that I will explain below is an easy, safe and long lasting way to splice your rope.

Firstly, you can either melt (burn) or tape up the end of your rope ready for splicing. Get yourself a slicing fid or a normal (Bic) pen will do, a sharp knife and a bit of patience!!!!

Next, make a loop of rope at the end using 60cm of length (approx), this will create a 30cm loop which is plenty enough for the loop to go around a ski pole. Squeeze the round end of the rope (this will be the end of your rope and the middle of your loop) Now bring the burned end of the rope back up the rope 20cm and enter the main line by pushing the end or the fid through the rope pulling it through until the kink is the end again. Now bring the end around to enter and go through the both bits of rope in the loop, pulling it tight as you go. Now all as you have to do is enter the

rope, as close to the splice as possible, and then feed it through the centre of the main line (by pushing and grabbing the rope). If the rope, going through the center, comes out this splice will not come undone which makes it pretty safe.

Well if your not confused now you've done very well!!!!!

One thing you have to remember is that if you need to adjust your rope, before a race, it can be done easily with this method of splicing. Don't forget to cut out the burned ends. If you need to know more please don't hesitate to call me and I can explain it a bit better via the voice or for locals by showing you.

Thank you for your feed back and if you have any other suggestions for me to explain to you please email or call.