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Tow In Big Wave Skiing

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I wanted to see what people thought of this idea. I just recently spent a week in Hawaii (I know, a winter vacation to HI is blasphemous, but hey). Watching people surf on the north shore, and thinking about tow-in big wave surfing...it struck me...the only reason traditional surfing is what it is is because you have to be able to paddle your board to catch a wave, and then jump on it.

But with some of the big wave tow in surfing, they are now using bindings and there obviously is no need to paddle, you are being towed in to the wave.

So.....why not tow in big wave skiing??? It might take some trial and error to come up with appropriate equipment. I am not sure if a traditional water ski would work or not. Maybe tow in big wave skiing already exists...Any thoughts? Why wouldn't it work?? Just curious.

post #2 of 21
I think I've seen this somewhere. Possibly a ski movie/magazine as I don't watch surf movies. Or maybe on Jeep World of Adventure sports or something like that.

I'm not sure why, but I think McConkney was somehow involved.
post #3 of 21
Those guys are nuts ..... not stupid .... just nuts. I guess that's why. :

Major flotation and speed problems actually.
post #4 of 21
actually it is illegal in most places - ex surfer...
post #5 of 21

There's been plenty of tow in jumps shown in ski films using snowmobiles. I think one of the Warren Miller films had a segment of an annual party in Alaska somewhere that has a "downhill" race with an uphill component involving sleds traveling at very high speeds.

Otherwise tow in skiing is not very big because of the simple reality that it's not very useful most of the time.
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
But I literally mean tow in skiing on waves....in the water. As an alternative to tow in surfing.

I have seen the tow in jumping in W. Miller's "50." I some times wonder if those farmer brothers still have knees left.
post #7 of 21

If you haven't done so, you gotta go back to the Nor' Shore in the summer and see how different the waves (or lack there of) are. Unbelievable. Go rent a surfboard for the week and learn to surf in the small waves. You can swim and snorkel in places that would maim or kill you in the winter. You won't regret it.

As for the tow-in, I basically think of the ski lift as a tow-in. Paddling out through the waves of any size is like earning your turns on the slopes. I've done both.
post #8 of 21
People have tried it but traditional waterskis have too much drag.
post #9 of 21
How about jumping skis?
post #10 of 21
I watched "Riding Giants" the other day on HD. It explains the history of big wave riding from the 40s until today. The jet ski tow-in allows surfers to gain enough speed to ride even bigger waves. Otherwise, these waves are unattainable by conventional paddling.

I don't think they're "cheating", they're just taking surfing to another level.

These guys are definitely nuts...imagine skiing down a slope, but you're being chased by an avalanche that runs 30-35 MPH, so you can't slow down. Also, if you wipe out, there's only 3" of snow underneath so you get slammed on the rocks. And when you come up for air, another "avalanche" knocks you back into the rocks, and over, and over...that's what big wave riding is like.
post #11 of 21
I don't look at tow in surfing as cheating. My take is that the wave would not be ridden at all without the use of the tow.

Essentially the take off would be too late in the big surf but with the speed of the tow an earlier take off is the only way to survive. To do a paddle in at that critical point .... you may as well toss yourself under a bus.

Has anyone ever ridden a wave on skis?
post #12 of 21
I've ridden a water ski without a skeg (that's the fin under the ski) after it broke off, for about 5 seconds. I'm sure it was quite entertaining for the observer in the boat. It's not something I'd recommend as a fun activity.
post #13 of 21
post #14 of 21

That's cool.

post #15 of 21

JC...I love your sig!

post #16 of 21

Well, I'll have to give Tom Robbins credit for the first bit.


The second I'm working on; so far, so good!


Cheers!   ;-)

post #17 of 21

It's cool to see that type of innovation -- in a way it makes sense that athletically skis would work better in waves with enough juice, just like skis on snow and inline skates can allow people to outperform related sideways stance sports in an athletic sense.  Of course, inline skating has died off more or less, so there can be more to life than athletic performance. 

Edited by CTKook - 5/30/10 at 12:49am
post #18 of 21

Watch.  5 years from now there's going to be a forum discussing why he wipes out (2:19), another on which wax for 75 deg water temp om the Pacific and then debate if it will work in the Atlantic let alone if Pacific skis will work in the Atlantic.  Of course the importance of fitting boots correctly


Then someone is going to design some sort of "skins" for the skis so they can go where the jet ski can't and tell us how we're missing the best part .


Can't wait until everyone debates the best way to teach a never ever wave skier.  Think they'll have a beginner area and the "liftie" is a fat guy that does cannonballs in a pond ?

post #19 of 21


Originally Posted by L&AirC View Post


Then someone is going to design some sort of "skins" for the skis so they can go where the jet ski can't and tell us how we're missing the best part .


Funny but probably prescient.


Attach some rear-facing urethane baffles to the underside of inflatable personal pontoon touring skis and you should have a new path to ... well, I'm not sure to exactly what.  No goofier or less elegant than floattubing...

post #20 of 21

How bout' those "waves" in the water theme parks? 


I mean other than riding in water that every 5 year old has peeeeed in, what the heck.


Actually at Beach Haven NJ, we used to surf on Sunday night.  Guys would park cars and shine the headlights on the break.  Then one night I saw a few "brown eels" go swimming by and occasionally there was an "odor" ... then my buddy a local, told me that the town blew the holding tanks at the sewage plant after the tourists left on Sunday night.  Yeah, we were surfing in raw sewage.  This was like in about 1965 .. 66 ...


post #21 of 21

I'm pretty sure I'd rather use water ski gear on snow than try to use alpine gear on water, especially salt water with waves.  It was neat to see that it can be done, but surfing on a surf board works fine for me

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