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Ski Reviews: From the Lab to the Lake

April 18, 2013
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Guided by the principles of physics and hydrodynamics, as well as years of design experience, ski manufacturers are on a continual quest to craft the most advanced ski to date. Fancy rhetoric and design-philosophy tag lines can only tell you so much however. For a different perspective, we sought input from real skiers – not pros, but talented amateur skiers with no ties to the skis’ manufacturers. So now you can hear what everyday skiers had to say about some of the newest designs of 2013.

SANS RIVAL SR2

Waterski
Waterski Waterski

SIZES: 66″, 68″ MSRP: $1,950 sansrival.eu

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IN THE LAB …
When you insist on using only the finest materials and adhere to the most stringent construction standards in the industry, the result is one of the highest-quality products on the market. Each ski is manufactured for the specific customer’s weight, speed and ability, ensuring that the flex is a perfect match for the athlete. When corners are never cut, the result is near perfection.

ON THE LAKE …
The SR2 is a very fast and very easy-turning ski, but for me that’s secondary to a diferent set of characteristics. With my busy work schedule, I don’t get a lot of time on the water. I need a ski that performs at a very high level without requiring much tweaking. The SR2 is the perfect blend of performance and predictability.

– Rick Oppendlander, Portage, Michigan PB: 2 at 39 1/2 off/34 mph

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D3 QUEST

Waterski
Waterski Waterski

SIZES: 65″, 66″, 67″, 68″ MSRP: $1,299 d3skis.com

IN THE LAB …
The Quest’s all-new bevel design, increased surface area and new rocker pattern work in perfect synchronicity to deliver maximum control and efortless width in the course. The patent-pending Rockerblock fin block creates rocker over the last eight inches of the ski, delivering the perfect shape where it matters most.

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ON THE LAKE …
The first things that stand out on the Quest are its predictability and the symmetry of the turns. The tip is glued to the water through the turn and refuses to wheelie even when I rush and rotate. The next best attribute of the new D3 is its smoothness through the edge change. Instead of snapping from one edge to the other, it smoothly transitions, making it easier to maintain my position and, as a result, my direction.

– Lindsey, San Marcos, Texas PB: 1 at 38 of/34 mph

HO SYNDICATE A3

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Waterski
Waterski Waterski

SIZES: 62″, 65″, 66″, 67″, 68″ MSRP: $1,400 hosports.com

IN THE LAB …
HO’s latest A-Series offering is a complete redesign from the previous two models. “Auto-centering continuous rocker” is the tag line attached to the ski’s new rocker line. The continuous rocker allows for HO’s cleanest, tightest-turning ski to date, making it easier than ever for the pilot to find and exploit the sweet spot.

ON THE LAKE …
I can get away with more mistakes and still run the pass on the A3, more so than on anything I’ve ever ridden in the past. Being a shorter guy, width is always an issue for me, and the A3 carries out from the second wake really well. I’ve only been on the A3 a few months, but I’ve already run my hardest pass; it was better than any I ran last year.

– Marc Shaw, Orlando, Florida PB: 2 at 41 of/34 mph

CONNELLY PROPHECY

Waterski
Waterski Waterski

SIZES: 65″, 66″, 67″, 68″ MSRP: $1,299.99 connellyskis.com

IN THE LAB …
Speed is the name of the game, and the V-step-featured hull on the Connelly Prophecy makes it one of the fastest on the market. The steps on the hull create turbulence, which significantly decrease friction, making the ski ride faster and smoother through the water.

ON THE LAKE …
You will never rip turns with more power than you will on the Prophecy; I literally say “wow” as I hook up my onside turns. Beyond generating amazing angle, the ski is noticeably faster into the wakes than other skis I have ridden, and controlling that speed is easy. I can stand in various positions, from slightly back to over the tip, and the ski still turns on a rail.

– John Wilkins, Lake Placid, New York PB: 3 at 38 of/34 mph

JOBE ROGUE

Waterski
Waterski Waterski

SIZES: 65″, 66″, 67″ MSRP: $1,299.99 jobesports.com

IN THE LAB …
The Rogue utilizes Jobe’s hybrid concave, a unique concave under the fore body that blends to a full edge-to-edge concave toward the tail. Matched with a machined PVC core, the Rogue is incredibly fast and holds unmatched angle into the wakes.

ON THE LAKE …
The Rogue is really tolerant of my often- unpredictable style of skiing. My onside turns are automatic on this ski, and my ofside turns are dependable, even if I push on the tail. I equaled my personal best on my first set on the Rogue.

– John Horton, Bakersfield, California PB: 2 at 391⁄2 of/34 mph

GOODE NANO ONE

Waterski
Waterski Waterski

SIZES: 65.25″, 66″, 68.75″ MSRP: $1,940 goode.com

IN THE LAB …
Utilizing Goode’s unique nano carbon fiber, the Nano One boasts a superior strength-to-weight ratio. The Nano One’s Genius Bevel design is a major departure from previous Goode bevels,and it produces a perfectly balanced, predictable turning style.

ON THE LAKE …
One word: stable. And while stability and speed are typically diametrically opposed with most skis, such is not the case for the Nano One. I feel 90 percent of the speed I’ve felt on other skis, with 100 percent of the balance and control. That combination makes this the best ski I’ve ever tried.

– Gary Forni, Austin, Texas PB: 1 at 38 of/34 mph

OBRIEN ENDO

Waterski
Waterski Waterski

SIZES: 65.5″, 67″, 68.5″ MSRP: $1,080 obrien.com

THE LAB …
On the heels of the highly successful O’Brien Elite Alpha, the Endo utilizes a highly refined compression-molded lay-up. Lightweight PVC core and aerospace-grade carbon fiber work with Obrien’s “sweet-spot design” to make the Endo incredibly fast, yet easy to turn.

ON THE LAKE …
After demoing every major ski on the market early this winter, I was sold on the Endo after the first day. The ski requires very little efort to create large amounts of space within the course. Its forgiving ride minimized my typical mistakes, tracking solidly into and out of the turn with a very centered feel throughout.

– Jay Kolewaski, Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada PB: 3 at 38 of/34 mph

RAZOR2

Waterski
Waterski Waterski

SIZES: 64″, 66″, 68″ MSRP: $1,760 razorskis.com

IN THE LAB …
The Razor2 utilizes a double resin transfer molding construction process. The resin injection process is computer controlled, monitoring the precise amount of resin used as well as the pressure and temperature under which it is applied. The result is a ski that flexes both longitudinally and torsionally, exactly as it was designed to.

ON THE LAKE …
This is the most aggressive ski I’ve ridden. Coming from a ski more traditional in material and construction, I was amazed at how responsive the Razor2 is. I found that I could go from late in the course to being back on time with one hard lean. I picked up an additional three buoys above my personal best within the first week of skiing the Razor.

Kevin Nevu, Calgary, Canada PB: 3 at 32 of/34 mph

MAPPLE 6.0

Waterski
Waterski Waterski

SIZES: 65.25″, 66.75″, 68.5″ MSRP: $1,600 mappleskis.com

IN THE LAB …
The Mapple 6.0 features the cleanest lines imaginable on a slalom ski. The ski’s designed with full edge-to-edge multiradius concave, and a wider fore body gradually tapers to the tail, which allows the ski to ride faster with greater stability and hold its speed longer through the turn.

ON THE LAKE …
This really is an amazing ski. Trying new skis is never easy, but on the Mapple 6.0, I felt right at home by the second pass. The best word to describe this ski is balance. Both sides of the course felt very similar, and finding the sweet spot to turn from was simple. Jenna Morgan, Tampa, Florida

PB: 2 at 35 of/34 mph

RADAR STRADA

Waterski
Waterski Waterski

SIZES: 63.5″, 65″, 66″, 67″, 68″, 69.5″ MSRP: $1,299.99 radarskis.com

IN THE LAB …
With a thinned-out profile and new tip contours, the 2013 Strada allows for greater torsional flex. By using Radar’s specific 0-90 carbon-fiber weave (fibers woven perpendicularly to one an- other) on the top layer, the Strada is able to control the energy of its torsional twist. Controlling the torsional twist and rebound allows the ski to turn in a very specific and predictable manner.

ON THE LAKE …
One of the biggest problems with my skiing is rushing the turn. The new Strada holds its fin in the water even when I aggressively rotate at the buoy, and that’s huge for me. The edge change is quicker and smoother than most skis I’ve ridden, making my turns more predictable. Drew Lindsey, Lafayette, Louisiana PB: 41⁄2 at 38 of/36 mph

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