Three Common PWC Handling Errors (and How to Correct them)


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Most any person can ride a PWC and have fun on it, but it takes knowledge and skill to ride one correctly. In an article by legendary Jeff Hemmel on PersonalWatercraft.com, he explains how to correctly handle three of the most common riding errors, and we give you the highlights and add some input below:

Porpoising
Porpoising is the up-and-down, leaping and surging effect that can make your ski seem like it’s more of a bucking bronco than a smooth, sleek watercraft. Porpoising tends to occur during hard “start-line” style accelerations on today’s high-powered models, as the sheer power causes the craft to leap out of the water at the hit of the throttle.

Porpoising is a simple issue to correct. The most common mistake that causes porpoising is that the rider’s weight is too far back on the ski, causing too much bow-rise. Most of the time, just moving forward on the ski will make it settle down and stay planted. If you are getting ready to pin the throttle from a dead stop, move your feet farther to the rear of the ski and shift your weight towards the bow. If your watercraft is equipped with trim, set the trim all the way down and begin to trim up once you get the speed up if you are doing a speed run. In a closed course race environment, you may want to leave the trim all the way down the entire race so you have a more aggressive bite through the turns.

Spinning Out
The next handling error is spinning or sliding out. This is a problem that can be quite scary and possibly throw you off, but most of the time, it can be avoided completely by using correct handling techniques. This is an issue that is not near as common as it used to be with older skis, but it still happens from time to time. In the early days of sit-downs, you used to have to actually lean to the outside to avoid breaking loose and sliding uncontrollably. Your instinct tells you to lean into a turn, right? If you are on an older watercraft, you may be in trouble if you follow your instincts. Thankfully, today’s models reward the inside lean, but they can still spin out on occasion.

When you lose control of a PWC, it can be very frightening. With an adjustment to your riding style, though, you can avoid the problem in many cases. Foot placement is an easy solution to this issue. Keep your inside foot(the foot on the inside of the turn) planted firmly towards the front of the footwell, and put your outside foot farther towards the rear of the ski. This will both keep the stern planted in the water as well as give you the leverage needed to power through the turn. Setting the trim all the way down will also help keep more of the hull in the water, which will also keep the ski planted in the water.

Sitting in Rough Water
Even the best rough water hulls on the market can get uncomfortable and bouncy in choppy conditions. Sitting down may seem like the easiest and most comfortable way to ride in this water, when in fact it is not. Standing will allow your legs to act as “shock absorbers” and absorb a lot of the impact. When you are sitting, your spine is absorbing most of the impact, which can really make for an uncomfortable and grueling ride. Standing will also allow you to get a better view of the water ahead.

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