"Stand Tall When You Cross The Wakes"

Two-time World water-ski champion Thomas Degasperi knows how to connect with people, and if you’re signed up for his guest coaching week January 21-28, you’re in for a real treat. As one of the most well-known pro skiers on tour, he has a knack for making his students feel special. Growing up at his parents ski school, Sci Nautico in Trento, Italy, he spent many days in the boat watching his father teach newbies how to ski.

“I adapt my coaching style to suit the individual. You can’t preach the same movements to every skier. The key is finding what works for each person,” he says. While he personalizes his coaching for each student, he believes that no matter who you are, how old you are, or how long you’ve been skiing, the taller you stand on your ski, the better the position.

“Dragging your hips is 99 percent of the problem. The more you use your legs and stay static with the upper body, then the problem is almost solved,” says Thomas.

Dragging your hips is often a subconscious fear response. By tucking in your core, your body feels that it is protecting itself. Not only does standing tall make you look more confident, it impacts the way you feel. By rejecting the body’s natural tendency to protect itself, you assert your confidence. The result is good for your skiing, too. You go into the wakes stronger.

Where do most skiers struggle? Thomas believes this happens crossing the wakes. “Put the ski between you and the boat, elbows attached to your vest with the handle down low toward your thigh. Look in the direction you want to go, and remember to resist the wakes, do not absorb them with your legs,” he says.

Speed and width will give you control and, and last but not least: “try to reach max speed before the first wake.”