Chasing Shortline: A Water Skier s Goal

By Bryan Staub

Have you ever wondered why a slalom ski rope has so many different colors? The different colors represent each rope length, and this is how a slalom skier is scored in competition.

The object in competition is to earn as many points possible while completing consecutive passes through the six-buoy official slalom course. A skier will continue until a fall or miss.

  • The final score is compiled by the total number of buoys or partial buoys completed at each consecutive rope length at the point of the fall or miss.
  • A complete completion ski rope is 75 feet.
  • Red rope section is 15 feet off.
  • Orange rope section is 22 feet off.
  • Yellow rope section is 28 feet off.
  • Green rope section is 32 feet off.
  • Blue rope section is 35 feet off.
  • Purple rope section is 38 feet off.
  • White rope section is 39.5 feet off.
  • Pink rope section is 41 feet off.
  • Black rope section is 43 feet off.
  • The current world record is held by Florida's Chris Parrish: 1.5 buoys at 43 feet off.

Every tournament water skier's never-ending quest is "Chasing Shortline" skiing trough the slalom coarse at the shortest rope length possible.

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