Basics - How do you create more speed to the wakes?

What goes through your mind after you complete the turn - what do you concentrate on to create more speed to centerline?

My ski level is fairly similar to yours. It took me several years of skiing some weekend behind friend’s outboard boats to complete a few full passes at 46kph 28.6mph. However in the last year it’s become 6 buoys most times rather than occassionally. Two key reasons in my mind.

  1. I got my own boat so more regular skiing. Still just weekends but more regularly than before
  2. I think think this is the key change. I’ve listened to the Spraymakers podcasts and they have educated me in ‘why to do things’ rather than all my prior reading or youtube watching being ‘what to do’. It now all makes sense and I’m making steps forward rather than inconsistently trying to repeat what I see in videos. It’s taught me the problems are caused by a prior movement or lack of. The problem is initiated by something before and if you can identify the trigger you can prevent the later problem.

Now to your question, and guided by Spraymakers, particularly the Gates episodes, the key to speed into the wakes is have body aligned or stacked with straight arms and ski weighted properly. To get to that position needs the prior turn finished properly at a suitable width and speed so that you can get aligned before the load from the boat starts to build. To do that you need enough speed and width to start with and you need to turn in before the boat is going faster than you are. See how the prior thing is setting you up to do the next well? Listen to the Gates episodes and you’ll understand it. They have transformed my body position. I now know the why so I pull out and turn in before the boat is moving away. Gives me time to align my body before the load come on and I whip through the wakes like never before. Smooth, almost effortless. You’ll get it!

Have a read here too My best ski session ever

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thank you for the great reply! I have a 2003 LXI too (well Sunsetter) but skis the same to me. I really enjoyed reading your story as well.

I’m determined to make a pass at 28 this year - I’m so close to getting it right i can feel it.

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My first ever full passes were at 46kph (26.7mph). At that speed I really needed to move smoothly and make my own speed to avoid sinking.

i can push my current ski down to 26 but 28 feels better. I do have a ski I can run at 24 but my buddies keep telling me to stay at 28.

Most common issue out of the turn is pulling & squatting vs. leaning & holding. You can run 32 off still pulling and squatting but that’s about when that technique runs out of steam!

Coming out of the turn its:

  1. Handle to outside hip
  2. Lean & Hold/Freeze

Any attempt to pull or add a little sizzle to your line tension behind the boat will work strongly against you. Particularly at 15 off remember that you barely have to make any angle or width on the boat to get to buoyline. Make some lefts and rights and enjoy the ride behind the boat with relaxed arms.


What I notice with the pros, is that instead of just establishing and holding lean against the boat - even in a strong, aligned stack - they are able to move their center of mass slightly ahead of their feet.

We know that falling back behind your feet and just leveraging against the boat in a losing tug of war is not effective in generating speed.

It’s a subtle move, and feels slightly scary to do, because it feels like it could result in an OTF fall, but boy does it create speed.

Get a feel of it by looping the handle over the pylon, get your balance stack, keep your feet planted and then move forward on your feet an inch or two. It doesn’t take a lot. Now get back in the water and try some wake crossings.

Look at pros like Dane M. Watch where the rope lines up across their ski as they hook up and go. They ski iNTO this stack, rope pull slightly ahead of and leading their feet. Zoom.

Can I do it? Working on it. But when I nail it, I’m much faster into the wakes and have new outbound speed.

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What Joel said is right. Too much lean can actually flatten out your skis roll angle. Roll angle is required to generate speed. A common mistake is for skiers to think they are stacked but they are tall with a straight leg and weight is still back too far. Guys like Dane are flexing their ankles to move overtop of their feet. positive ankle flex with knee over toes helps keep weight over feet, and can help maintain alignment with hips and shoulders. Think lead with your knees. You still want to be tall. A big lean away does not create speed. To me being balanced, and maintaining direction into and out of wakes will give you more width with less load and less speed.

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