I only have course access 1 or 2 times a week, so I free ski 1 or 2 times also. This season I have been running up the line free skiing with the thought that a fast tight line is good skiing whether there are buoys or not. Trying to get thru -35@ 34 right now, feels goofy being that close to the boat free skiing but I think it helps rythm. Any thoughts or comments out there?
My understanding is that moving from -32' to -35' is a pretty big shift in the level of skiing. It would probably be worth hooking up to -35, when you have access to buoys, so you build a frame of reference, but more than anything you are learning to ride the line. The only exception is that you want to make sure you're getting up on the boat: I can't see there being much of a point to it if you're hanging back south of the platform.
I remember a few years back there was a story about a guy that only had access to buoys at tournaments, and he was pretty dang close to being able to ski with Open Mens. You can really get a lot done on open water.
Last edited by HO410 (Tue, Aug 17, 2010 1:36 PM)
HO410 is bang on, gotta make sure you get wide with a tight line, not just riding the tight line. Freeskiing can be great, but you have to focus just like there are 2 gates and 6 balls, most people just go out and start turning.
I regularlly ran -28 and sometimes -32 freeskiing, when I was only getting through the course at -22. When I started to try -28 in the course more it was a real awakening, I thought -28 would be a lot easier because I was nailing -22off almost every pass, but I was getting tons of slack after the ball at -28. It has only been since I've started to run the buoys at 28off that I have started to improve at that line length.
the 1 thing that running the shorter line free skiing did is help me with the longer lines (-15/-22) through the course. I feel the same way about bumping up the speed freeskiing as well. if you ski 34.2mph in the course as a max speed, ski 35-36 outside the course. when you get back running buoys it will feel that much slower and easier.
We free ski a lot. Practice one or two things per set. But you can ski a virtual course - it's all timing and establishing a good smooth rhythm.
I did a webcast clinic on it a last year. I use the same gate for the course. Almost every pro splits the pull out and glide 50/50 with a beat of 123.
I whole Heartedly agree with the up-side of Freeskiing. Wade Cox has commented on the benefits of getting out of the course.
I also cut the line to -35 & -38 and speed up to 36 mph. (But, I also work -28 thru -35) You can really benefit from having a plan and then going out and working on some very specific things without regard to the unyielding parameters of the course and Buoy's. You can also groove as many unbroken turns as you desire.
I remember one guy who sadly confessed that he gets all screwed up freeskiing and just cannot do it out of the course! -What a pity!
I remember one guy who sadly confessed that he gets all screwed up freeskiing and just cannot do it out of the course! [...]
I used to have the same problem with freeskiing until I stumbled upon a simple solution - I just visualize an imaginary 55m gate some distance ahead of the boat and "watch" it get closer and closer until it's time for my pullout. I follow that with visualizing an imaginary entrance gate in a similar manner. Once I've turned in for the gate instinct takes over, and I ski six connected turns as smoothly and aggressively as I can.
Not only has this completely eliminated my freeskiing mental block, but my imaginary friend in the passenger seat says I'm skiing better than ever!
What rope length are you running in the course? Personally I am working on perfecting my 15 off,55K pass and did a lot of freskiing at -32 ,55K before the course went in at my cottage. There were times where I would freeski on weekends and do 4 sets in the course during the week. I found the freeskiing totally upset my rythm in the course. If you get up on the boat at -32, it doesn't take near the effort to get wide on the other side that 15 off does. I'd get lazy in the course expecting the pull -32 gives you and be out of the game most times by 4 ball. I wouldn't shorten freeskiing any more than 2 line lengths below what you course ski. However ,that being said I know what your feeling at -35 and it doesn't hurt to just go out and have fun sometimes!
One thing you could do to make sure you're getting wide enough freeskiing is take a reference point on your boat. Have a rope which is bouy width length and take it out at a right angle from the pylon. Then hook your rope/handle to the pylon and take the handle out a little farther than that rope. Take note of where your rope crosses the gunwale and try to ski to that width when your freeskiing. Hope that makes sense.Imagine your in the course like TW said and your good to go.
Last edited by 3MLskier (Tue, Aug 17, 2010 7:18 PM)
Thanks for the input. Sorry if there was confusion, but I do ski a course, just not often enough for me. I run -32@34 90% of the time and only jump to -35@34 when I feel awesome. My best is 4@-35. My thoughts were using freeskiing to get used go the feel of that length, the wakes, and edge change cues. I feel it helped me run -32 this year, I just wanted to see if anyone else did this
take a look at Tom Brantley, free skis the whole year, then 3 weeks before a comp he goes and rips buoys...
the guy gets deep into 10.7 from the 2 comps i have seen him at he is super consistent. (and a super cool dude)
If you are not used to free skiing i would advice try doing it in the actual course. go 10+ feet before the gates and 1 ball.
use the course as a width marker, you tend to find that free skiing makes you go narrow.
it also makes you keep your head up.
some people start of by starting narrow and getting wider, and by 4, 5 and 6 you should be at the same width as the course.
i always asked whats the point of free skiing, cant do it blah blah.. seriously everyone needs to do it!!! its like a "reset" button on your skiing if you get in a rut or are working on something just free ski it first. I am a true believer in it! I ski 10 times better after a few free ski sets!
I "think" the single most valuable aspect of Free-skiing is; it allows me the Freedom to Relax mentally and physically and find the Groove that I somehow can easily lose while sparring with the Buoy's. The best runs that anyone has ever taken, were the Runs that just flowed together effortlessly w/o much thought or physical exertion. (just like Grooving Free throws or a bucket of Golfballs...)
IMO, The mere lack of Mental / Physical tension is the Key to success in all Sports....