If you can’t water ski all week long, then try out the Koastline Katapult. If you want to find out how good spell check is, just try spelling that like the inventors chose to do. Every time I spell it with the letter K at the start of the words, my computer corrects it to Coastline Catapult. I may well pull my hair out by the time I’m done writing about this.
The Koastline Katapult is an inflatable water toy that you float off the back of a house boat or dock. The fun comes in rolling out to the far end, then having a friend jump onto the Koastline Katapult which launches you into the air and drops you into the water.
Kenny Gallegos says that the Koastline Katapultt only takes about 20 minutes to inflate, then provides a whole week of entertainment on the water.
While this is not a water skiing device, it is a great way to get other people off the boat – or off the lake – so that you can get some better water and some time for skiing. Or, if you’ve had all the skiing your body will take for the day, then you, too, can leap onto the Koastline Katapult, roll out to the end, and fly through the air before you cool off and do it again.
If you want to see what this is all about, check out the video below:
Koastline Katapult (the link may be down, but it is the only official contact that I have)
I was introduced to these strange discs at the Utah Boat Show this past February. At first I didn’t know what to make of them, then I started talking with Joe Sassenrath and watching the promo video and realized that I had to have them. (Yes, I really am that easy a mark.)
Is that a tube?
Although the RAD may look similar to a standard tube, the rigid stricture makes it into a different type of water toy. As Joe explains in the interview, HO uses the same construction used in inflatable paddle boards to make the RAD and FAD noticeably different. There is no squishiness like a tube. These are solid toys that allow the user to try lot of different things on them.
When compared to a standard tube, these will stow away in about the same amount of space, either inflated or deflated. We had a big towable for the last few seasons that took over our entire dock closet. Deflating that behemoth and putting in two of the HO Sports RAD toys opened up a lot of space for us.
Tons of Fun
Do you remember those LIFE cereal commercials from the ’80s where the kids pass the cereal off to Mike because he won’t try anything? That’s what my kids are like with water sports. They just don’t try anything, much to their father’s dismay. When the RAD and RAD+ first made it to the lake these were the same way. However, once my kids did finally try them they became a favorite almost instantly. There is a stability to them that makes them easy to start on, then as you get faster, they behave predictably allowing kids to play around while being towed behind the boat.
Aaron Sanford recently commented about how slalom water skiing and bare footing are declining. This caused me to think about the many reasons that our sports may be struggling. As I considered this, I remembered an interview I had earlier this year with HeyDay Inboards.
HeyDay Inboards WT-1
HeyDay Inboards is a new boat manufacturer who currently produce only one boat: the $39,999.95 WT-1. Their big push is that you can finance an easily towable wake surf boat for $299/month. Now, this is not a tournament boat. In fact the 19-foot hull had been designed to throw a wake like a 22-foot boat usually does. However, if HeyDay can produce a boat that can shake up the burgeoning surf industry, how come a company can’t produce a budget tournament boat?
A lot of skiers buy used boats to reduce the cost of entry. Aaron, for example, bought a classic Hydrodyne and put some extensive repair work into it. Others just accept that a used tournament boat could still run $40k – $70k for a late model. In my household, we’re discovering that a used tournament boat is now costing nearly as much as our new one did just five or six years ago.
It all leads to the question of whether the cost of entry to get a new – or even used – tournament boat is one reason for the decline in slalom, three-event, or barefoot skiing. On the flip side of this question is a conversation I had with a salesman at my local Mastercraft dealership a while back. I asked about people financing their purchases, and his response was that many of his customers just pay cash.
I’d love to get your thoughts on the role of the boat in the growth or decline of towed water sports. Is it a factor or not? I’d also love to hear what you think about this HeyDay Inboards WT-1.
With all of the 2015 boat show episodes up now, I’d love your feedback on what was covered. Please fill out the poll below to let me know your favorite interview or product from this year’s boat show episodes.
This episode of the Weekend Water Skier Podcast wraps up the coverage of the Utah Boat Show for 2015. As usual, I bring you something directly related to water skiing, and an unusual product from the show.
HO Skis 2015 with Joe Sassenrath
For the past three years I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Joe Sass about what HO is coming out with in their line. This year we focused on the Syndicate ski and HO’s new boot mounting system.
The new Syndicate V-Type ski combines the best characteristics of last year’s S-Type and A-Type ski into one ski that helps simplify the HO precept line, and can work for skiers who favored each of the previous skis. This new ski combines the angle of the A-Type ski with the speed across the wakes of the S-Type Syndicate into one.
We discussed some of the features in this ski, including the speed skin and clean edge technology on the ski as well as a new feature: the damper. The damp is a small weight that attaches to the front of the ski that holds a dampening pad in place to reduce the vibration inherent in carbon water skis. The weight can be moved forward or back to accommodate different skiing styles to keep the optimal amount of ski in the water.
When I learned that this was a functional adjustment on the ski and not just a decorative feature, I thought back to the (yes, I am this old) PSX Power Stix system. However, Joe let me know that this addresses the internal vibration of the ski, rather than attempting to stiffen or soften the ski for various water conditions.
Direct Connect Boot System
Joe was also really excited about a new boot mounting system that HO designed for this year: the Direct Connect Boot System. This new system allows you to connect a boot with only 2 bolts per boot, rather than four, and moves the bolts closer together to improve the flex pattern in the ski compared to traditional bindings that have limited the flex under foot. This also helps reduce the stack height of the binding by eliminating the plate between the ski and boot.
There have been a lot of ideas about how to address the boot-to-ski interface over the past years, some more promising than others. This one takes a simple approach to the problem that seems like it would work pretty well. As I look at it, the only concern it raises for me is with the bolts being center mounted, how much will the boot roll before moving the ski onto edge. Not having ridden a ski with this system yet, I can’t address that question. However, beyond that, the new Direct Connect Boot System looks like an elegant solution to a long-standing problem.
Lillipad Diving Board
Lillipad makes an innovate accessory for pontoon boats: a diving board. This diving board is designed to mount over the side of a boat and allow kids and adults to jump into the lake without rocking the boat. They do this by creating a system of gas shocks that absorb the energy of the bounce within the board rather than pushing it through to the boat.
This diving board has no direct relation to water skiing. However, it stopped me in my tracks as I walked around the boat show. Seeing a diving board hanging off the side of a boat, over the aisle, was quite a surprise.
This would be a great accessory to suggest to your friends who invite you to the lake with them so you can have the best of the pontooning relaxation experience and the waterskiing experience. After wearing yourself out with a couple of morning water ski or wakeboard sessions, you could then relax on the pontoon, and use the diving board to cool off between sessions of sun baking.
The upcoming episode of Weekend Water Skier will be delayed a week. I had a sore throat that made recording a problem, then a family vacation. While you wait, it’s a great time to catch up on back episodes that you may have missed. Check out the library here on the website, or by using one of the subscribe buttons on the right on the home page.
Continuing the focus on crossover boats, I stopped in the MasterCraft pavilion at the Utah Boat Show. The local dealer set me up with Josh Palma to talk about the boats.
Josh Palma is a sponsored wake boarder with MasterCraft. He is a great guy to talk with, and knows the boats in the Mastercraft line quite well. While he’s not a dedicated skier, I felt that he represented the various disciplines who will use a crossover boat effectively. I mean, these aren’t dedicated boats either.
Josh described the NXT as MasterCraft’s “price point” boat. It is a boat that you can get into – with a trailer – for about 60 grand. I know that a 20′ Bayliiner is still cheaper, but a Scion is also cheaper than a small Mercedes.
The NXT has a lot of the same design features as the other boats in the line-up, but pulls back on the automation and control areas. Rather than the full Gen2 system on the other boats, this features a system with more manual controls. Other than that, this boat has many of the same features as the X10 that Josh talks about.
We spend most of our time looking over the X10 to get an ida of the features in a MasterCraft. As we talked, I was struck by the way that software now defines the product. I think that it was BMW who said a few years back that we would buy a car based on is software rather than its hardware soon. It appears that boats are heading the same way. While the hardware on boats – particularly the hulls – continues to evolve rapidly, the software is making the driver’s job simpler every year.
As we moved to the X30, Josh got really excited. This is his favorite crossover boat. He explained that using the Gen2 Surf System, the X30 can actually produce a better slalom wake than the X10 because the weight is distributed across a larger hull surface for lower displacement despite a slightly higher total weight.
This boat is great for taking out larger numbers of people on the lake. The only reason to not get the X30 instead of the X10 is if you have a length restriction either in your garage or at your lake.
Gen2 Surf System
A big part of our discussion was about how the Gen2 Surf System makes it so easy for a driver to set up for surfing, or skiing with just the touch of a button. Rather than having to decide how much ballast to add to each tank, how to adjust the side and center trim tabs, the driver just tells the boat what the activity is and it sets everything up.
When I compare this experience to the way I used to have to manually fill and drain each ballast tank, and figure out how to adjust the wedge on a boat we used to own, I can’t believe that we even tried to surf.
Josh explained that this system is designed to automate the set up for the driver. That has been the hard part of surfing. Tabs, ballast, etc. Tap the button on the touch screen for the sport you want, or the side you want to surf on and the system sets it up.
MasterCraft uses a symmetrical surf fill system so that the boat doesn’t tilt to one side, and you don’t have to shuffle passengers around to get the right wake.
There are products that make help you ski better, there are products that make boating more fun, and there are products that make life in a boat better. Jacket Rack-It is one of the products that makes life in a boat better.
If you’ve ever had to put on a cold, wet life jacket, then you start to understand the need for the Jacket Rack-It. Sure, if you’re already roasting on a hot summer day, you don’t mind cooling off a bit with a cold life jacket. But for many of us in northern climes, we are usually putting on a cold jacket just before jumping into a cold lake, on a temperate day. There goes the fun.
Jake Randall, founder of Jacket Rack-It, had this experience one time too many, so he did something about it. He created a product that efficiently dries life jackets out of the way. Now, instead of piling all of the life jackets into one corner of the boat until their next use, you can hang them outside the boat where they can dry in the wind, and drain the water back into the lake rather than into your bilge.
Using the Jacket Rack-It, you can hang four life jackets off each side of the boat on this ingenious tower accessory. The product has some amazing design. There are no straps or hooks to use. The jackets simply slide into the slots on each bar, then gravity and wind do the rest of the work to keep them in place while you drive.
Listeners of this podcast were offered a promo code to get the Jacket Rack-It at the boat show price. I don’t know how long they’ll honor this, but hopefully at least through the summer of 2015 you can get a Jacket Rack-It at a great price using that promo code. Unfortunately, Jake told me the code after our interview, and I misplaced it. I’m working to get it set up. I’ll update this as soon as we get it worked out so you can order from their online store at http://www.jacketrackit.com/shop/jacket-rack-it with the discount.
As a skier, and as an entrepreneur, I think that the Jacket Rack-It is a great invention, and it is executed incredibly well. I recommend that you check out their web site, and consider how it can make your time on a boat better.
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At the Utah Boat Show 2015, I had the chance to talk with Chris Sullivan about the Radar Water Skis line for 2015. We focused on their Senate ski, Profile boot, and the coolest thing ever for girls on the water: the Total Radar Awesomeness for Girls.
The Senate is Radar’s most popular ski for non-competition skiers. This year they gave the Senate the same treatment as the Vapor with a Lithium version. This started life as a limited edition ski, but pre-season sales were so popular that it is now part of their regular line-up. This brings the PVC core and carbon fiber construction of the Vapor to the Senate range, allowing weekend water skiers to get all of the advantages of a top-level competition ski in a slightly easier to ski shape.
Continuing the trend of bringing their top technology down for the rest of us, Radar introduced the Profile boot. This is based on their Vapor boot, but is cut a little wider for more comfort. So, we can now get the feels-like-a shoe comfort of boots made foot specific cut. While the Vapor focuses on total control, the Profile aims to add more comfort for you and me.
Total Radar Awesomeness Girls
As the father of a girl — who I want desperately to love skiing — I am really excited about the new Total Radar Awesomeness for Girls ski. This brings a youth-specific ski design and puts a face on it that my daughter would love. I say “would love” because my family was out of town for the boat show, so my daughter hasn’t seen this ski yet. But the hot pink and purple top plate, with strawberry scratch-and-sniff accent is something that will appeal more to her than a camo pattern meant for boys. This is the first performance ski that I’ve seen aimed at girls. While the different graphics won’t make my daughter a better skier, having her want to ride a ski will. Way to go, Radar!
There was some home-grown excitement this year as Defy WaterFlight introduced their new Jet Deck product at the Utah Boat Show.
Defy is a new, Utah-based company that is putting a new spin on the water flight industry. They have innovated a way to actually spin while flying behind a personal water craft. Their new product also makes it easier to learn this sport.
Defy has taken the standard one-axis product that was introduced a few years back, and added two more degrees of freedom, allowing you to move your feet in a full circle forward and back, and side to side. Their three-axis design lets you hold your balance better, avoid crashing as much, and opens up the door to a whole new range of tricks that you can do while flying over the water on a jet stream.
I’ve not had a chance to try this yet, but it looks like a major leap forward in a young new sport.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed the interviews in this episode of Weekend Water Skier. Please let me know what you thought, if you have more questions, or if you wish that I’d done something completely different. Leave a comment below to let me know.
You can also follow Weekend Water Skier on social media by clicking on the floating links on the right. You can join in a conversation there as well.
This year marked the 50th Utah Boat Show. While I think that I celebrated this landmark more than the promoters did, there were some great things at the show. This is the first of four episodes highlighting new products, or upgraded precepts.
There were a number of brand new, surprising products at this year’s boat show. The UFloat was one of those. This is a life jacket designed for the inaction on the water. This is not a skiing PFD. This is a hang-out-behind-the-houseboat PFD. This is a day-on-the-pontoon PFD.
The UFloat pulls on like – okay, I’ll say it – a toddler’s pull up training pants. Out of the water it kind of looks like that, too. However, the function it serves is to let you float comfortably in the water without haveng your life jacket ride up into your arm pits and bounce off your ears. Admit it, you’ve had that experience while floating around your boat during down time
Yes, they readily admit that for years we’ve turned our life jackets upside down and slid our legs through the arm holes. However, they say that this is more comfortable in the water and is designed for floating. I didn’t have a chance to float in one. I’m pretty sure the rail jam pool wasn’t deep enough to try it even if I had been in my suit.
The jury’s still out. It’s a clever idea that may provide the solution to a problem that you have.
The UFloat retails for $110 – a little steep for me personally – and you can learn more or buy one at www.theufloat.com.
On the Pond / Dave Scadden Paddleboards
It’s been a pretty mild winter here in Utah, so there were plenty of yoga pants around the boat show. However, I only noticed about three people using them to do yoga. One of them was Rachel, the founder of On the Pond Fitness. What could have been just another stand up paddle board booth caught my attention when I saw some acroyoga on a paddle board. So, I stopped to talk with them.
Locally On the Pond provides paddle board rentals and fitness training. They will bring boards to you, and give you instruction on paddle board yoga, including making sure that everyone does a handstand on the board before they’re done. Rachel says that she’ll travel anywhere someone wants to pay her to go. If you want to test that theory, contact Rachel and she’ll let you know.
On the Pond also features inflatable paddle boards by Dave Scadden. These boards feature a lifetime warranty backed by manufacturing in the USA. Rachel tells me these are really stable boards, and they are easy to transport.
So, why feature paddle boards? Well, I constantly see them running up and down my lake between people’s sets. They’re a great way to get in some quick, easy exercise, and they’re fun for the whole family.
To leran more about On the Pond, visit their website at www.onthepondfitness.com. To learn more about Dave Scadden Paddle Boards, visit www.dsppaddleboards.com. You can watch a video of yoga on the DSP boards at http://onthepondfitness.com/#contact.
This year, I looked more at crossover boats than direct drive thoroughbreds. As part ofthis focus, I was introduced to the Tigé RZR. It’s a 20 foot boat with the ability to lay down surf wakes or clean it up for a pretty clean slalom wake using the TAPS system.
Like most corssove boats, the RZR is a V-drive, so there will be more bow rise and the boat will carry more weight at the back compared to a direct drive. However, for a family looking for one boat that will let them open water ski, and chase wake sports in the afternoon, a crossover is a good compromise. The shorter length of the RZR makes it easy to tow and store.
Tigé takes a unique approach to creating surf wakes with its AVX system which actually extends the hull when deployed rather than just adding a wing on the side. They say this pushes the surf wake back a few more feet and extends it.
To learn more about the Tigé RZR you can visit www.tige.com.
More to Come
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Please leave your comments or questions about this episode in the comments section below.
Utah Water Sports brought a MasterCraft ProStar to our lake on Memorial Day for members to try out. (This was the same boat I saw at the Utah Boat Show in Episode 18.) I took a try with my neighbor, brother, and sister-in-law.
Full disclosure: my neighbor is a partner in our local MasterCraft dealership, but he was not there for the demo, nor does he know what my review entails.
Let me start with a huge thanks to Utah Water Sports for sharing their boat with us on a holiday. I know tat they wanted to sell it to someone at our lake, but just having the ability to try it was a great experience.
Water Skiing behind the MasterCraft ProStar
Pull up was not bad. Even with a novice driver. Not the quickest I’ve felt. A little delay, then a reasonable pull up. Other skiers reported they were less impressed with the pull than I was.
Pulled to my own personal best at 28 MPH.
Wakes felt great at 28 and 30. Noticeably and significantly smaller than a Malibu Lxi that I skied later for comparison.
Reported good at 26 MPH as well.
Never hit the rooster tail, although the observer said it looked close the whole time.
Turnaround wakes were wider that I’m accustomed to, but after the second pass, I had adjusted to that.
Wider boat obscured my view of the 55 meter gates so my pull out was thrown off a bit. New driver in the boat who had no way to know that.
The wakes inspired confidence and did not disappoint.
Inside the boat
Ski storage was the star of the interior.
Plenty of space for three people to work around each other when gathering in a skier and trading positions as driver and observer.
Floor pads drained well and kept good grip at all times.
I did thump my shin getting out the back.
The shape of the platform, rolling down on the sides made it easy to slide into the water. The hand holds were convenient getting up, but I almost rolled an ankle in one while putting my ski on. Something I adjusted to the second time, but something to be aware of.
Bimini cover height was perfect. I didn’t set it up but it was a clean install.
Observer seat was comfortable and spacious for two adults.
Used it as a closed-bow boat. General comments were that as long as you use this boat from a dock, the convertible bow could be good, that that for a full day on the lake it could be awkward to try to stow the bow cover before heading out. We didn’t get to try that out during our turn on the boat.
Still in love
Driving the ProStar
Thunky / clunky into gear compared to Malibu’s smooth gear engagements
Steering felt harder than I’m accustomed to. For a steer-by-wire this is a strange feeling.
Knurled metal throttle knob will be durable, and gave good tactile feedback, but I didn’t love it.
Reverse was either hair trigger or slow, but not predictably either.
Ease of talking with the skier was a big plus with the cut-away side windows.
Windshield was a great height for me to see down course, without the bar blocking my view as I’ve experienced in the Malibu.
Low dash also made it easy for our shorter driver to see clearly while driving.
Felt sluggish getting out of the hole. The dealer did acknowledge that the 5.7 L motor may have been under-spec’d for the elevation we were at (about 5,000 feet). And they hadn’t done much with prop changes to get quicker acceleration as this was only the second time the boat had been on the water.
Driver position was good. Seat was comfortable.
Dealer forgot ht bring the mirror, so we were dependent on the observer.
Feedback through the rope was impressive. I felt when a skier did not get up before the observer reported that.
Integrated display was a nice touch.
Push button start was pretty simple to operate.
The infatuation ended.
Would I buy this boat?
This particular boat, probably not.
Rough gear engagements
I love the wakes when it’s up to speed.
Easy to maneuver inside the boat.
Driver seat and position are comfortable.
I welcome your comments about this review, your experience with the MasterCraft ProStar, or this podcast is general. Just post a comment below.