USA Water Ski & Wake Sports

Slalom - Perfect Position-Proceed To Power

Note: This article first appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of The Water Skier magazine, the official publication of USA Water Ski & Wake Sports. If you are not a member of USA Water Ski & Wake Sports and you are interested in receiving the quarterly magazine, join now.


Written by Seth Stisher

Photography by Todd Ristorcelli


Perfect Position-Proceed To PowerI grew up with tons of instruction about how to get in a strong position behind the boat. This was defined as how you can be strong in your “tug of war” against the boat. Over the years my philosophy has evolved into my current mode of thinking that refers to the boat as your power source rather than the power you are fighting. To effectively capitalize on the power of the boat, it is imperative to properly position yourself in the approach to the turn. The stance you have at the apex of the turn is what you are stuck with as you re-connect with the rope…so get it right!


1. Transition - It begins: It is critical that you stay strong and connected through your transition from the cutting edge out to the turning edge. By staying strong and connected, you can control your approach, have upright posture, and control your outbound path.


2. Pose As You Reach: As you begin the reach, keep your hips pressing through toward the tip of the ski and keep your upper body upright. It is very common to drop the handle to the inside of the turn and therefore compromise your skeletal alignment such that your inside shoulder is dipped through the turn and therefore overloaded at the finish of the turn.  If your inside shoulder is up and moderately level with the outside shoulder, you will have great skeletal alignment as you make your way through the turn.


3. Ride The Ski Through The Turn: Now your posture is set, and patience and proper pressure is the key from there. By keeping your upper body stable and aligned, you can then focus on keeping the lower body shifted, slightly forward and slightly toward the inside edge of the ski in order to move with the ski/ride the ski through the turn.


4. Connect And Enjoy The Ride: By following the aforementioned steps, you are actually allowing the ski to do its job, and the beginning of your turn blends nicely into a connection with the rope and boat such that speed comes naturally as the load from the boat increases. By sticking to this plan the finish of the turn is a seamless transition to the acceleration phase with much less energy loss than an aggressive turn creates.


So, what is the point? By using this quick guide and prepping your body to maintain the perfect stance you allow the ski to do its job and carve through the turn. The best part is that you ski right into a position and connection with the boat that yields the most efficient stance to capitalize on the pull from the boat, which translates to effortless speed and energy to swing across to the other side of the wakes!


Seth Stisher can be found coaching at his SkiSeth Training Center at Oz, in Charleston, South Carolina, or at any number of locations around the world through his traveling waterski clinics. Check out, or email to arrange ski sessions with him.  He is sponsored by Connelly Skis, MasterCraft Boat Company, Eagle Wetsuits, PureFood and