Ski Adjustments: Boots and Fins Explained
When it comes to adjusting your slalom ski there are multiple facets that can come into play. From binding placement, to the fin and wing angle, these can all completely change the way your ski reacts. If you looking to adjust anything on your ski, make a note of where the ski was set from factory. Companies spend thousand of dollars working on these ski's, the way they come from the factory is normally where that ski will work for the majority of people using that model. From this point we recommend working on areas at a time rather than changing a whole heap of things at once. This will allow you to pinpoint the differences of what each part will do and what works best for you.
If you're starting to adjust your ski, we recommend that you start with the bindings, due to the fact that this is normally the easiest to adjust on the fly and easy to revert to standard settings. Almost all waterski companies will factory set the bindings to locate in the middle mounting spot. A great rule of thumb to work with is if you're starting out and skiing slower and on longer line lengths, a slightly more forward position can be better suited and allow the ski be more engaged on the water. For mid range skiers at the 28mph-32mph and stating to shorten, the factory middle settings will normally work fine for you. If you're really pushing it and getting up towards course speeds and short lines, setting your boots a little back to help with ski acceleration out of turns can be beneficial.
The other facet of the ski you can change is the fin, this can cause a drastic change in the way the ski handles. if you are moving the fin longitudinally we recommend that you shift it the same amount you plan on moving your boot to work in with the ski. Moving the fin forward will make the ski feel smaller on the water but allow it to turn quicker. Conversely, shifting the fin backwards will place more ski in the water, creating a more stable feel. Keep in mind when moving the fin not to shift it too far, work in 1/10 of an inch increments. It is also good to notice the depth of the fins from front to back. Changing the depth can lead to huge changes in the ski, raising the front of the fin will cause a ski to stick and take some pivot out of a turn, while raising the back of the fin will drive the ski forward and drive turns more. All in all the most simple way to explain this is that adjustments will control the pressure on the nose of the ski and at the end of your turn. Overall depth becomes dependent on your skiing ability, if you're just starting out and have an adjustable fin, the shallower the better as it will allow the ski to turn with ease. The deeper and harder you're getting into your turns, the deeper you will want the fin to increase hold and stop the tail 'blowing out'. If you find the ski is getting hard to turn, maybe adjust the fin back up a tad.
The final aspect of a ski that can be changed is the wing on the fin. This acts as brake to reduce the speed into the turn, so if you're just starting out you might want to think about making life easier on yourself and taking it out. If you are going to keep it in, factory settings tend to sit mostly around 7 to 10 degrees of angle, this will stop the ski pulling up at weird angles. If your adjusting the fin as a whole, then you will want to adjust the wing to balance and work with these settings. A forward fin movement will leave you wanting more angle on your wing, where a fin that is shifted backwards will require a wing that has less angle.
From this point, the rest is up to you. Or us if you want us to do it for you, we are happy to help in-store. Each company will also have pro recommended settings on their websites if you feel like skiing like the big guns.