Water skiing is great fun, and is a great hobby enjoyed by millions of people around the world on all sorts of stretches of water.
But, water-skiing can also be a wonderful sport, as well as a hobby, but all sports need some way of measuring a competitors performance against others',
and that's why slalom skiing was invented.
Competitors make a "pass" through a course of buoys anchored, in a zig-zag formation, to the bed of whatever stretch of water they're using. On completing
a pass successfully, the level of difficulty is increased, initially by increasing boat speed and then by shortening the skier's rope.
It's great fun... but, there are drawbacks, here are a few...
You can only do it where there is a slalom course set up
Slalom courses are expensive and need a lot of maintenance
Slalom courses don't really work in deep or tidal waters
The boat driver needs to keep the speed spot-on - sometimes needing technology to help
It's very physically demanding... hard to learn, and those buoys come up so darn fast
Learners can't go through the course slowly without sinking!
So, that's why we came up with Flag Slalom, it's not intended to replace normal slalom, but it's great fun, is very similar to real slalom and certainly provides
a similar challenge that is more accessible to more people.
What is Flag Slalom?
Flag Slalom gives skiers an easy method of competing against each other, without the need for any sort of slalom course. In fact you don't need anything at
all in the water, so you could do this in the mid Atlantic, if the whim took you. Mind you, this would beg the question, "What are you doing in the middle of
the Atlantic in a ski boat?".
Also, Flag Slalom offers many variations on slalom skiing. Anyone who can ski (on 1 ski or 2), knee-board, wake-board or even steer a Ringo can have a go
at Flag Slalom. You don't need to be mega-fit (although it will help to get you fit), and you can have a go almost as soon as you have learned to get up out of
the water. It's easy to drive for, and involves no technology more sophisticated than a stopwatch.
How it works is very simple. There are 2 flags on short poles fixed to the deck of the boat (1 on each side)... like this picture...
When the skier is up and away, they ski away from the
centre-line of the boat's wake until the rope touches a flag pole
to earn a scores of 1 buoy. In a fixed period of time the skier
must try to score 6 buoys.
A judge in the boat keeps score and, just like in real slalom, a
pass can be made harder - first by allowing less time for a
pass, and then by shortening the rope.