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For many years slalom water skiing has been growing in popularity with it now appealing to a much wider audience due to the numerous locations available throughout the UK. Here at Tallington Lakes we have a man made world class competition level slalom course to cater for beginner’s right through the seasoned professionals.
Many people enjoy slalom skiing around a course rather than just ‘free skiing’ as it is much easier for the individual to measure progress, important for competitively natured people.
Each competitor begins skiing with a 75ft slalom rope at the minimum specified boat speed for the certain division they are in depending on age. For more experienced skiers they start at a higher speed and shorter length rope. To complete a pass the skier much pass through the orange gate buoys, complete turns around the outside of the six orange turn buoys before returning through the end orange gate buoys.
The boat speed is linked to your division/group and ability which starts at 15.5mph and reaches 36mph for pro level skiers. In any slalom competition after a skier completes a pass the speed is increased by 2mph until the speed reaches 36mph for men and 34mph for women and veterans. Then to increase the difficulty the rope length is then shortened one increment for each completed pass until he/she misses a buoy or falls.
You will probably hear people talking about the word ‘off’. Basically this means the rope length taken away from the full 75ft length rope i.e. skiing a 60ft rope length is called ’15 off’.
The table below shows the different coloured loops found in tournament ropes in relation to the length and also provides the ‘off’ values. When competing in a slalom competition the aim is to gain the highest amount of credits, I will now try to explain how it works.
For each successfully completed pass you are awarded six credits, one for each turn buoy, and you gain more credits each time you complete a pass at either a higher speed or shorter rope length, until you miss a buoy or fall. A complete pass, is when the skier leaves wake, goes around the buoy and returns to the wake. If a water skier decides to start at a higher speed or rope length, for their class, they will receive all credits for the preceding passes despite not completing them.
You will notice below, the world record includes a half buoy. A half buoy is when the skier goes round the buoy but doesn’t make the wake.
Slalom Water Ski Course Facts
In total there are 26 different coloured buoys (four green pre-gate buoys, four orange gate buoys, six orange turn buoys, 12 yellow boat lane markers)
The six orange turn buoys are 37.5ft from the centre of the course.
At ’38 off’ the rope no longer reaches the buoys so the skier has to move their body to get around the buoy.
At the maximum ’43 off’ the rope is 32ft long which equates to being 5.5ft inside the turn buoys.
The world record is an amazing 2½ buoys at ’43 off’ which was achieved by Nate Smith; something for us all to aspire towards 🙂
I have been riding Harley Clifford‘s signature board, the Liquid Force Remedy, for the last 4 seasons. It has served me very well over the years, and it’s never let me down. I would say it’s perfect for my riding style, so when I heard that Liquid Force were going to release a new Harley board in 2015 called the ‘Harley Remedy’ I was very interested to see how different it would be: how fast, how much pop, etc.
I first got to ride the Remedy last September just before the 2014 European Championships in Portugal, I didn’t get much time on it and didn’t want to risk riding it at the event but I could tell it was going to be good because I was getting huge pop off it straight away.
I spoke to Harley about about it when I was over riding at the IWWF World Cup in Australia in February, I think he was wondering why I wasn’t riding it yet. The next time I got to ride it was in May and it didn’t disappoint, what a ride! Once you get used to it ( it won’t take long) you will get a lot more air and it’s very responsive. It has split tip ends which give you epic lift off the wake but you still feel in total control and it’s very fast. With a new shape it would normally take me a couple of sets to get going, but with the Remedy I was banging out all my tricks straight away and it felt easier and they felt bigger.
I love riding it; its so much fun and it also looks awesome. I highly recommend the Harley Remedy to anyone who wants to take their riding to the next level, including those who currently ride Harley’s older model.
Thanks to Jorge Gill 2014 British National Champion 2014 European Champion – Junior Men
Over the last couple of weeks I have been riding the Liquid Force Peak 141cm wakeboard. I really enjoyed riding this board for so many different reasons.
The Peak has an all wood core which means it can be made thinner than hybrid boards, but still maintains its strength and in my opinion is one of the strongest boards out there. Because it’s thinner it also means that it’s a lot lighter which makes it super poppy for Ollie’ing onto obstacles and is great for air tricks.
I found that when I was riding it, it felt a lot more flexy and responsive in the tip and tail than other boards I had ridden before. It has edge channels and a centre concave on the base of the board. The edge channels mean you can ride without the fins and still have good control and hold on the water.
One thing I really noticed was how soft the landings off kickers were. I’m always cautious about hurting my knees when going big off kickers, but when riding the Peak the landings felt really soft and controlled. This is down to the centre concave which is a really good design in the board.
Overall I really enjoyed riding The Liquid Force Peak wakeboard and would definitely recommend it to anyone who is starting to hit the rails at the park all the way through to advanced.