View Full Version : Ski recommendation for a big beginner?

08-22-2013, 12:59 AM
I'm motivated to learn how to single, but I'm having a hard time with the ski I own (Connelly Pilot). I don't know if it's technique or the ski, but I just can't get out of the water. A friend said that even though the Pilot is wide, it's too short for my size. I'm 6'0, about 220#. He suggested I look for a 70 inch ski, but after checking craigslist for the last month, the only thing I've found is a 69 inch Maha which he said might be a bit challenging to learn on. I did find a Connelly Big Easy, which given as wide as it is, seems like it would work, but my buddy is doubtful.

FWIW, I haven't tried doubles. I did once, when I was a kid, and it was not a good experience. About 15 years ago, I was able to get up on a single, but that was a one-time thing. I bought my first boat two years ago (88 Prostar), but it's been used to pull other people around. I've tried both wakeboarding and single, but have been completely unsuccessful with both.

Anyone have thoughts on the Big Easy, or do I really need to find something in the 70 inch range?

08-22-2013, 01:21 AM
A larger ski could help; I have a 71" HO Triumph and it's pretty great as a beginner ski (I can't quite run the course yet but I'm getting there, and I'm weighing in around 240lbs at the moment, embarrassingly). I think your problem more than likely has to do with technique. Despite my girth, I was able to get up on my ski behind a 190HP I/O that accelerated like a dog just last month, even though I was dragged more than I wanted.

Do you know where exactly you're going wrong? Keeping the ski straight? Water in your face? Are you using double boots or a rear toe plate?

If you do decide on a new ski, look for anything 69"+ wide ride.

08-22-2013, 07:47 AM
I'm 6-3 285. My normal ride is a Connelly Big Daddy with a few tweeks. I do however ride the occasional random 67-68" traditional ski. Helps to leave the rear foot out if you can. Knee to chest, eyes on the horizon, patience. If you tuck your head the tip will dive. If you try to stand up, you'll sink it. Wait to be pulled up. If the ski wants to go right or left a little, go with it, no problem. The pilot should work, but the Big Easy should be, well, easy. If you have a tower or extended pylon start off that at 28 off the first couple times, it'll help too.

08-22-2013, 08:18 AM
If you have never pair skied before then mono is going to be next to impossible, ideally you need to get up on pairs then drop one or at least be able to go around the lake a couple of times with one ski lifted out the water. If you are hell bent on monoing straight away then you need to find someone with a boom as this will help you get your technique right getting up and know what it feels like to be on the water on one ski.

Mark rsa2au
08-22-2013, 08:35 AM
Its like trying to do a one handed hand stand when you cant do a two handed hand stand. Balance, technique and knowing what to do and expect are key components, and not knowing how to combo ski will make Slalom like a one handed hand stand.... Irrispective of the ski, you need to take the right steps. Chrislandy said it well above.

08-22-2013, 08:48 AM
I'm 6'1 280 and ski on a 70 Inch HO CDX1. I agree with Madcity....I leave my back foot out and drag behind. It helps me get my weight on top of the water without dragging forever. I have been thinking about moving to a 71 inch Radar P6, but I love my 13 year old CDX.

08-22-2013, 03:00 PM
What I do:
In the water, knees tucked up close to my chest. Lean back so tip of ski is above water. Arms tucked in to chest. I have my left foot in the front binding, right foot in the rear slide-in binding. My buddy drags his right foot, but that feels unnatural to me. Next time I go out (which might be a while), I'll try dragging.

When the boat starts the pull, I feel pretty stable in the water (not leaning to one side), but as the boat accelerates and the water starts coming over the top of the ski, I just can't hold on. Let me say the ski tip isn't under the surface of the water, but rather as I plow, a pressure wave builds up in front of the ski. I've tried to tuck my rear leg back, tilting the nose of the ski forward, to try to get it to plane faster, but I haven't been able to hold on long enough to make anything happen.

I do have a pair of doubles (67"?), I'll bring those along next time and see if that makes it easier. I am definitely a 'learn by doing' person. If I can get up and feel what it's supposed to feel like, body position, pull on my arms and all, I'll get it figured out.

I've been on the lookout for a used boom, but getting availability of a used boom and availability of $$ for boat-related stuff to occur at the same time... That being said, if anyone knows of a complete boom for sale cheap, let me know. :)


08-22-2013, 03:05 PM
I would def try getting up on two first. The pull out does not need to be nearly as hard for us big guys. I hurt my shoulder playing softball this summer and have just been getting up on two and kicking a ski. Much less fustrating for me.
When I get up on one...im a big guy I ride a connelly FX1-69 and im 6-1 250. I try to sit on the back of the ski. I start with both feet in.

08-22-2013, 10:44 PM
Stop leaning back. Don't fight the ski, it's designed to ride flat on top of the water.
I've taught others to slalom who never rode combos. Depends how athletic you are, and how good your sense of balance is.

Table Rocker
08-22-2013, 11:24 PM
One thing I feel qualified to talk about is being a beginner. (I'm 6'2" 215-220#)

I bought a Big Easy when I had a 4 cylinder boat. It was big and it was easy to get up on, even behind 140 hp. What wasn't easy was trying to cut on that thing, Horrible once atop the water.

I had a HO comp freeride magnum which I felt was a good beginner ski. It's wide and 71", so plenty of surface to get up and it still performed like a regular ski. Wiley's has what looks like a good deal on older blems.

I now have a 69" HO Triumph. It was harder to get up on at first, but after improving my form it's easy.

One thing to consider is what is going on at the other end of the rope. The driver plays a part too. If the driver isn't hitting the throttle hard enough and you are already struggling, you can really have some problems. When the rope is popping out of your hands, it's hard to think you need more throttle, but it can often be the cure. Not giving the skier time to fight it, sink the ski, etc. can be a good thing. When all you can do is hang on, you have less time to make mistakes.

I always tell people to keep their chin on their front knee, their butt on their back heel and their arms extended. If you can stay in a ball in that position as long as possible, you will get out of the water. I don't know if any of this is by the book, but it is what has worked for me.

Watch this guy get out of the water at 0:45

08-22-2013, 11:51 PM
I always tell people to keep their chin on their front knee, their butt on their back heel and their arms extended. If you can stay in a ball in that position as long as possible, you will get out of the water. I don't know if any of this is by the book, but it is what has worked for me.

I don't claim to be an expert instructor, but this is pretty close to my instructions. Put both feet in the bindings, stick your back ankle into the crack of your heiney, arms straight and around the outside of your knees, lean back so the tip is 12-18" out of the water. Once the pull starts, stay tucked - I show them that you can come up and ski as far as you want in that position; you don't have to stand up quickly. Once you're on top of the water, stand up slowly.

If you're "building a pressure wave", you've probably pushing with your rear foot, which is putting the ski vertical.


Table Rocker
08-23-2013, 08:28 AM
Once the pull starts, stay tucked - I show them that you can come up and ski as far as you want in that position; you don't have to stand up quickly. Once you're on top of the water, stand up slowly.
Good advice. I tell people "Try to stay down and you will get up." Trying to "get up" is a big problem for beginners. After someone gets up once, the next pull is almost always a failure. They think "I've got this" and they forget to stay down as long as possible.

08-23-2013, 06:10 PM
i'm a beginner as well. i'm 6'2" and about 225lbs. i double ski'd some a few years ago, but once i got my first wake board, i never ski'd again. last year we did tons of surfing so my goal this year was to get more exercise. i scoured the forums looking for advice and ended up with a 71" HO Triumph with double bindings. I also use the trainer rope. My deep water starts are reliable but not really pretty. the ski feels more comfortable on edge but never unstable. my goal at the end of the summer was to lose the trainer rope but my motor died before i got the chance to try. i'd love to try to ski a 69" as the 71" is starting to feel too big.

08-25-2013, 01:02 AM
All these are great suggestions. I watched the deep water start in the youtube video table rocker linked. I think I was trying to do something similar, but obviously not quite like that, as it didn't look like water went over his head as the pull started. I think I see though, the front of his ski looked like it was tilted forward, where as mine was more vertical. That would explain the pressure wave forming instead of the ski starting to get on plane.
My truck's in the shop, so no way to pull the boat trailer, but maybe next weekend I might be able to get a friend to give me a pull so I can try again.

Jafo- if you decide you've outgrown the 71, let me know, I might be interested in taking it off your hands, if I haven't found something yet.