There are 5 main characteristics of waterski design that contribute to how a waterski functions on the water. The following is a brief description of those main design characteristics and what they do for your ski.

 

Shape

The shape or outline of the ski is the single most important design characteristic. It controls the planing attitude of the ski, the ski’s turning radius, contributes to where the ski generates lift, and is a major player in where you stand on the ski. As width and length of a ski are increased, surface area of the ski is also increased. The distribution of surface area plays a large role in how a ski comes up to plane and the resistance the skier feels to the water around them when saying, “Hit It!”. Once the ski has reached skiing plane, the shape determines the pressure points of the ski (think front of ski engagement or tip pull). This changes how much the tail can hold or slide, the attack angle the ski gets through the wakes, the amount of drag that is felt from water friction, and provides the natural area where the skier stands on the ski.

Rocker

The rocker of the ski is the curvature of the bottom surface. Many of today’s skis go with a multi-stage rocker line where there is a flat spot under the skier’s front foot and rocker ahead of and behind this flat spot. The more rocker is added the more pressure is relieved from the running surface. Increased rocker equals quicker turns but at the sacrifice of side-to-side drive and a smaller sweet spot. As the flat spot of a ski is extended, the ski increases its ability to hold angle in relation to the boat and provides an easier balance point but creates a larger turning radius.

Concave

All waterskis utilize a concaved bottom surface to direct water flow lengthwise underneath the ski. This cupped shaped surface traps water under the ski which creates a lifting element and also creates a lipped area where the concave meets the skis bevels, adding a grip element. A ski with no concave on the bottom surface would sit very deep in the water and feel very slippery, lacking the ability to hold side to side direction well. The deeper the concave, the more the skier can stand or push on the ski without it going too deep in the water. This is helpful to make the front of the ski more stable and forgiving. On the other hand, too much concave and the ski will ride so high in the water that it becomes too difficult to control.  One other important aspect of concave is that it introduces drag into the equation.  Drag is inefficient, but some is necessary to help the skier slow down prior to the turn. 

Bevel

This is the curved area connecting the concave to the sidewall of the ski. Bevels affect lift, grab, roll, bite, and slide of the ski. In general, the rounder the bevel is the less water it may grab or harness, allowing the ski to roll more fluidly side to side with the downside of less ability to hold angle. In opposition, sharper, more angled bevels hold more angle, but require more skier manipulation to create tight turns. Also, the side of the bevel affects how deep a ski will sit in the water. The larger the bevel, the deeper the ski will sit in the water and vice-versa.

Thickness

Ski thickness is measured from the bottom of the bevel to the top surface. The thicker a ski gets, the higher on the water it will ride. Typically, the front half of a ski is thicker than the rear. This allows the front of the ski to be propped upward while also allowing the tail of the ski to ride deeper through the water allowing for hard turns where the tail of the ski does not blow out of the water. Flex and edge angle are also affected by thickness, where as a ski becomes thicker it becomes more stiff and harder to roll over, and as a ski becomes thinner it has a softer flex and is easier to roll onto edge.

 

All of these characteristics affect the way the ski rides in their own way and we have worked tirelessly to bring you the precise blend of those elements.

 

Ski Materials

PMI

PMI Foam is the industry leading core with its lightweight, reactive qualities. The use of PMI results in a ski that rebounds back to its original shape at a rate 10x faster than PVC which means quicker turns and an earlier acceleration out of the turn.

PVC

PVC has been an industry staple for well over a decade. It is trusted and proven as a core because of its long-lasting strength and quick response. PVC foam revolutionized skiing in the 2000’s and remains a force to this day.

Aero Core

Aero Core is a Radar Skis exclusive formulation of polyurethane foam. With an amazingly high strength-to-weight ratio these skis sit deeper in the water for a forgiving, consistent ride.

All-Terrain Core

Radar's All-Terrain Core is the most forgiving construction we offer. A polyurethane core with Paulownia wood stringers allows the ski to cross the wakes with ease and initiate turns automatically.

Textreme

Textreme is a manufacturer of a spread tow carbon which allows us to reduce weight and increase strength. It most importantly provides a more consistent flexing and a durable ski. Textreme has been utilized in everything from America’s Cup race boats to Tour de France bikes because of its powerful attributes.

Innegra

Innegra is a dampening fiber that reduces vibration and increases strength. Innegra is woven into the Textreme to improve the performance and durability of the ski. Innegra is also utilized in many Formula 1 race cars because of its incredible strengthening and dampening attributes.

Carbon Rods

Carbon Rods allow Radar to introduce Zonal Flexing. These hollow tubes create stiffness and strength in the ski where it is necessary without creating change in unwanted places.

Sigmatex Carbon

Sigmatex is an industry leader in the carbon fiber world. Their looming process is computer controlled giving them the ability to use ultra-high modulus carbons with complete precision.

CPD Bio Resin

CPD has created a plant-based bio resin that is changing the game. Utilizing a biofuel base that has 28% renewable resources allows them to create a resin with the same molecular makeup as a traditional resin. This means the same strength and performance that you are used to all while saving the planet, now that’s a win-win. 

Race Base

Utilizing a TPU base material reduces drag and increases waterflow. This allows the ski to carry more speed behind the boat resulting in earlier lines and easier turns in the slalom course.

Enduro Tip/Tail

By introducing a nylon block in both the tip and tail of the Radar Vapors they have increased durability and made the water flow more efficiently.

August 16, 2021 — Jason McClintock