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#1 Tue, Jan 20, 2009 12:02 PM

nautques4ever
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Is GPS Speed Control killing tournament slalom even more?

I have not skiied tournaments in several years but I am hearing that the new GPS systems are killing the slalom tournament scene as the majority of skiers train with non-GPS based speed control and simply cannot afford the new system or new boat in this battered economy. I hear GPS is a totally dfferent pull and has a delay for corrections that only Pro Level Shortliners can deal with. Any thoughts?

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#2 Tue, Jan 20, 2009 12:27 PM

WadeWilliams
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From: Lynn, MA
Registered: Tue, May 15, 2007
Posts: 1087
Skis At: Not short enough
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Re: Is GPS Speed Control killing tournament slalom even more?

Personally I think hand driving is awesome! GPS feels sweet to ski behind but we are never going to be in the Olympics so the ridiculous degree of accuracy that GPS offers is mostly overkill. The jumpers get to have fast segment times to help them jump farther - we are getting more stringent tolerances.

I really like skiing behind zero off but you make a great point about the requisite to buy a new boat in a battered economy.

Will Asher is #1 on the world rankings list this year, and he ran 41 off behind perfect pass.

It's all about having fun, right? One of the hardest things for a recreational tournament skier to do is bounce between perfect pass and zero off during practice and tournaments.

I think a lot of people make too big of a deal of it. If you learned how to ski on one of them, you can learn how to ski on the other.

What you mentioned about "delay for corrections that only pro level shortliners can deal with" -- I don't think this is necessarily true. All you have to realize is that if you try to slow the boat down it will gas you. In the early days of waterskiing with an outboard engine all you would do is pull the boat down. So it requires a different approach.

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#3 Wed, Jan 21, 2009 3:11 PM

JP
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Re: Is GPS Speed Control killing tournament slalom even more?

Killing it ....... id say no. Change is for sure though. I have nothing but good things to say about Zero off. I have found it to be very consistant in all conditions. I never wonder how good of times a driver is running also. Skiing at 36 mph all the time i am able to feel the difference between a 16.08 and a 16.15. With the GPS it is always within .02


I do have to say that i was far from impressed with Perfect pass Stargazer. Consistant is the last thing that i would call it. The issue about delays and corrections sounds to me like it would happen with PPSG. Zero Off is constantly checking on satilite focusing on speed. PPSG is focused on times so it makes adjustments with no relation to where the skier is in the course to correct the times. I have heard that PP came up with an updated version which is suppose to clear up alot of the issues but have yet to ski on it.

I am excited for the 2009 season because the primary speed control is going to be zero off.  This is both because I personally find that Zero Off is a better system but also because it is back to consistancy. Primarily only one version of speed control.

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#4 Thu, May 7, 2009 4:31 PM

CBSlalom
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Re: Is GPS Speed Control killing tournament slalom even more?

I for one have not participated in a tournament since ZO became the speed control of choice. Tournaments have always been a bit of a stress for me (can't seem to stop my stomach from doing backflips) and since I can't practice behind a ZO off boat I have just opted to avoid the tournaments.

I have a 2005 model year boat with a mechanical throttle. I have no option for upgrading to ZO even if I had the money to do it. I find it sad that a struggling sport (and let's face it, waterskiing is struggling) would allow such a situation to occur. Only two years after spending $50K on a boat and it was essentially obsolete!

Why can't ZO produce a retrofit kit for mechanical boats? I know they have signed an agreement with PP but why did that have to happen?

Does anyone have a mapping between ZO and PP settings that provides the most similar pull? For example, if I want to emulate a ZO C3 pull with PP on a SN what settings would I dial in? KX? PX? Cheat the skier weight or crew weight?

If I could gain confidence that I was practicing with something at least reasonably similar I would probably start skiing tournaments again.

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#5 Thu, May 7, 2009 5:24 PM

miski
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From: Saline, MI
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Re: Is GPS Speed Control killing tournament slalom even more?

I'm not sure what line lenght you're at, but I am fairly certain that none of the controllers do well with longer line lengths. No matter how well you ski, I think you will load the line earlier out of the turn at the longer lengths - and you get punished even on the softest control settings...  I think it makes it that much more of a strugle to progress for less experienced skiers and would likely turn people away thinking this sport is just too hard to do. Seems like settings for longer lengths would be appropriate - a line load profile for well runs passes at each line length would be interesting.

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#6 Fri, May 8, 2009 10:37 AM

CBSlalom
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Re: Is GPS Speed Control killing tournament slalom even more?

I don't think speed control settings become critical to me till I get to 32 off and beyond. Although I can tell if a particular run is fast or slow at my opening length (28 off), the pull characteristics would have to be pretty far off before I would notice them.

However, at 32 off and beyond the pull settings become very critical to me. I am expecting certain things going into, and coming off, the ball. If I don't feel them it can be disastrous for me. That's the main thing that has kept me from competing.

At this point I have not had a single opportunity to ski behind ZO (non of my friends own ZO).

I just received the Ski Paradise news letter this morning and Gordon makes an interesting comment that he can feel the difference between his two boats, both with ZO. He going to check his props and play around a bit.

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#7 Tue, May 12, 2009 7:57 AM

david38off
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Re: Is GPS Speed Control killing tournament slalom even more?

I was glad to see this discussion.  I can only speak for myself, but I am struggling with zero off alot! I agree with wade and JP for smaller guys who have excellent technique zero off will provide a great pull.  However for the majority of tournament skiers who are not at their level, zero off seems to me to punish the mistakes more so than perfect pass.  I did purchase a boat with zero off and perfect pass at the end of last year, so I have been skiing with zero off for a month now.  In driving it, I can actually feel an acceleration and deceleration in the boat as the bigger guys ski.  I know that it is not constant in terms of speed, as you can feel the boat acc and dec with bigger guys.  The smaller guys it is much less noticeable.  I do not feel this driving the boat with perfect pass (or stargazer BTW).  The other thing I have noticed is our lake has very short setup and the boat tends to "overshoot" as it engages and then decelerate as it comes into the pregates.  It does not do this with the perfect pass mode?  I have been struggling to get good gates and 1 balls...maybe due to my technique, but I do seem to do better with PP or SG.  I am beginning to understand the concept of minimizing load or line tension thru the course but this is an ongoing learning process for me, and even after a month behind ZO I have not really shown much improvement.  As soon as I make a mistake, break at the waist in a turn, load hard to turn for the gates, etc, the "fight" is on..lol.  In terms of my "scores" for a set it has put me back almost a full pass.  In the LONG run maybe this is better for my skiing, but in the short run, it is frustrating as hell!  LOL. 

As for tournaments, I can only speak for myself, but I am considering whether I will cont to do them.  Probably not.  I am not at a level where I am going to win a medal at nationals, Regionals or even in our local tournaments.  I do them to "prove" to myself what I am capable of doing.  Not to beat the next guy out there.  If I feel I am at a disadvantage to be able to do my best, why would I want to do it and just end up frustrated.?  As Wade said it is supposed to be fun ....right??  I do not think I am the only guy out there feeling this way.  I know of many skiers whose scores dropped significantly last summer with the institution of ZO.  I think that if this trend continues there are alot of intermediate level skiers who will drop out of the tournament scene. 

In conclusion, I do feel tournament attendance will suffer if something does not change.  Will it kill tournament skiing?  I don't think it will, but the fact we are even asking this question should tell us something.

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#8 Mon, Jul 20, 2009 1:34 PM

skidream
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Re: Is GPS Speed Control killing tournament slalom even more?

I upgraded my 2001 Ski Nautique's (GT40) PP system start of 08' with SG and I noticed right away that the boat was coming into the course hot (37- 38 MPH).  Once the boat entered the course it seemed to slow down. I have learned that PP SG is run purely on RPM and time and not speed like Zero Off.  I went out this weekend and practiced for my upcoming Regional Comp here in Colorado and I noticed that the boat was extremely hot coming into the course.  This doesn't frustrate me so much at 28 off but when I get into 32 and 35 off I really feel it. 

I called PP today and had a 10 min convo with one of the tech's there and explained to him the issues I was having. I also told him what version software I had and he confirmed to me that there was an update that fixed short setup stuff, e.g. if you had a short course and the boat needed to setup faster before the gates.  This is not a problem I have so the update wouldn't really help me but I will probably get it. He told me to make sure that the baselines were setup correctly because if not the boat will over or under shoot the course.  He also told me to make sure that I have a tighter return spring on my throttle do to the fact that the PP SG makes much faster and accurate adjustments than the older PP classic did.  He also told me to look at my pregate or one ball speed adjustment. He said I could have this too high.  Basically he said make sure the boat is at good speed before it enters the course!

This is getting rather frustrating and I hope to figure it out soon!

As far as tournaments being ruined by these speed/time control units, I would say no! It's just gonna take time to get use to different systems. I remember back a few years ago when PP classic was the main system the only thing I worried about was which boat was going to be used.  Some boats pulled harder and some didn't but it just took time to learn the differences that's all.  I would say that for less experienced skiers it can be a thing to struggle with but just don't give up and learn how to deal with it.  Weather it be better body position or pulling harder behind the boat just make sure you react to what you feel and adapt to it! I can personally say that Zero Off pulls harder especially behind a stronger boat like a 6.0L Master Craft! But I have learned how to adapt to it! So don't get discouraged and give up, go out there and learn, adapt, do your best and mainly have fun!  In the long run it will make you a better skier.

Last edited by skidream (Mon, Jul 20, 2009 1:36 PM)


Warming up!!!

Ski Hard or Go Home!!

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#9 Mon, Jul 20, 2009 2:26 PM

2gofaster
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From: Cypress, Tx
Registered: Sun, Jun 1, 2008
Posts: 337

Re: Is GPS Speed Control killing tournament slalom even more?

If your boat is coming in hot with SG, start lowering the pregate settings. Mine would come in hot on the stock settings too. Now, I've got 34.2 coming in at 34.7 just like ZO. Keep in mind that as you lower the pregate setting, the one ball times will go up so you might have to fiddle with the 1 ball setting. And also, 1 ball setting will effect 3 ball times. So you might have to play with 3 ball too. You have to do this with a skier in a reasonably wind free day. Not a big deal, though. I've spent a considerable amount of time doing this on a few boats, so I can walk you through it if you want to give me a call. PM me and I'll give you my number.

As far as the original topic. The thing that pisses me off is that to get what I ski in at a tournament, I have to buy a new boat even though I have a top flight boat that's only a few years old. Do I think it's ruining the sport? Not this year. Last year, I couldn't ski behind ZO to save my life. This year, though, I find their new software is MUCH nicer and provides a much better pull.

Last edited by 2gofaster (Mon, Jul 20, 2009 5:20 PM)


Shane Hill

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#10 Mon, Jul 20, 2009 5:16 PM

h20dawg79
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From: nashville,tn.
Registered: Fri, Oct 17, 2008
Posts: 562
Skis At: Old Hickory Lake, TN.
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Re: Is GPS Speed Control killing tournament slalom even more?

2gofaster wrote:

As far as the original topic. The thing that pisses me off is that to get what I ski in at a tournament, I have to buy a new boat even though I have a top flight boat that's only a few years old.
As far as the

AMEN!  What a Joke... -(Maybe this will somehow save the whole ski boat industry and bring in the masses to the sport. Hey, at $40K+ sign me up for 2!!!)


"Warning" -the Surgeon General has determined; That the preceding statements accurately reflect the views and opinions consistent with "DSS" (Delusional Slalomitis Syndrome) a highly contagious life altering condition... (Handle with Extreme care & Patience)

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#11 Tue, Jul 21, 2009 5:52 AM

BuoyChaser
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: Wed, May 16, 2007
Posts: 216
Skis At: Long Pond, Northwood NH
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Re: Is GPS Speed Control killing tournament slalom even more?

2gofaster wrote:

If your boat is coming in hot with SG, start lowering the pregate settings. Mine would come in hot on the stock settings too. Now, I've got 34.2 coming in at 34.7 just like ZO. Keep in mind that as you lower the pregate setting, the one ball times will go up so you might have to fiddle with the 1 ball setting. And also, 1 ball setting will effect 3 ball times. So you might have to play with 3 ball too. You have to do this with a skier in a reasonably wind free day. Not a big deal, though. I've spent a considerable amount of time doing this on a few boats, so I can walk you through it if you want to give me a call. PM me and I'll give you my number.

I purchased a 2008 MasterCraft 197, upgrading from my 2005 197. Both MCX engines and both 1:1 transmissions. The only difference was the 05 had a 4-blade and the 08 has a 3-blade. I gave up on SG on the 05 and ran it always in Classic. Same goes for my 08. With my typical skiers who max at 32/34/36, when making adjustments to pre-gates/1ball/3ball it is a universal adjustment. So what is good for the 36mph skier is too hot for the 32mph skier.

Have someone take a video of your display when you're going through the course and report back the speed variances.

In short setups, SG needs 5 seconds at speed with a skier to "settle in", there are not very many ski sites that afford this luxury. With classic mode dialed, it feels very much the same with a ZO pull.


2008 MC PS197 with ZO upgrade with 2011 Radar Senate C 67" working to smoke that 36-28 consistently in any tourney.

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#12 Tue, Jul 21, 2009 8:52 AM

2gofaster
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From: Cypress, Tx
Registered: Sun, Jun 1, 2008
Posts: 337

Re: Is GPS Speed Control killing tournament slalom even more?

BuoyChaser wrote:

I purchased a 2008 MasterCraft 197, upgrading from my 2005 197. Both MCX engines and both 1:1 transmissions. The only difference was the 05 had a 4-blade and the 08 has a 3-blade. I gave up on SG on the 05 and ran it always in Classic. Same goes for my 08. With my typical skiers who max at 32/34/36, when making adjustments to pre-gates/1ball/3ball it is a universal adjustment. So what is good for the 36mph skier is too hot for the 32mph skier.

Have someone take a video of your display when you're going through the course and report back the speed variances.

In short setups, SG needs 5 seconds at speed with a skier to "settle in", there are not very many ski sites that afford this luxury. With classic mode dialed, it feels very much the same with a ZO pull.

While yes, the gate/1/3 ball settings are universal between 32/34, 36 has seperate settings.  When 34 is dialed in, the 32 passes fall right in line.  And when 36 is dialed in, it has no effect on 32/34. I've got two boats on our lake right now, an 05 196 and an 05 RLXI with SG, and both are generally within .01 all the way down the course. The skier can hammer one or two ball, though, and you end up with a 7.15 mid. When we first started working on getting these boats dialed in we had a lot of really slow mid times and raising the 1 and 3 ball settings a LOT didn't help. In the end, we found we needed to add 10 or 15 to the baseline at that speed, then lower the gate/1/3 a bit and all of a sudden things started falling in line.  This was even though the quick calibrate told us we were dead on for our baseline. So going solely off of quick calibrate is where a lot of problems lie, from my experience. Our gate/1/3 settings are LOW with the boat bringing the skier into the course at 34.7(at 34.2) just like ZO "Q" does.  What I don't like about SG, though, is that if the skier skis flat into a ball, the boat will take off for a moment.

Last edited by 2gofaster (Tue, Jul 21, 2009 8:53 AM)


Shane Hill

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