Get To Know Ski Paradise Guest Coach Mike Suyderhoud
It’s an honor to host guest coaches in Acapulco like hall of a famer Mike Suyderhoud. The former world jump record holder and five-time world champion was a dominant figure in the water ski world in the late 60s and 70s, and anytime you can spend a week with a person that has immersed themselves in a sport for more than 50 years, there’s plenty to learn. Forever a student of the sport, Mike continues to seek new ways to improve his “West Coast Technique.” “It’s the thing that’s kept me motivated,” he says. “It’s making skiers better and increasing the knowledge of the sport.”
How often are you skiing these days and what are you working on at the moment to improve your skiing?
These days I ski about twice a week. I love the exercise, and I love to work on technique. I label myself as a lab rat in that endeavor. Lately, I have been working on countering the rib cage (letting it lead the rest of the body on the acceleration) while moving it sideways into the direction of travel (cut). To do this, you have to lean away from the boat with your trailing shoulder, which allows your torso to position itself ahead of the rope pull, freeing it up and allowing the body under the ribs to swing the ski through for the edge change.
Most exotic skiing locale you’ve enjoyed?
The most exotic locale I have experienced in my skiing life was in the Philippines, at a lake where they were filming Apocalypse Now. Ski Paradise is not far behind.
For our clients that aren’t familiar with West Coast slalom technique, what exactly is it and how will it make them ski better?
“West Coast” skiing technique is predicated on body motion rather than on pull power. Not only does this give you the best performance but it does so safer, with the least wear and tear on the body.
How would you describe your coaching style?
My coaching style starts with dry land instruction and to drop at each end of the run to discuss it. I’m very good at picking out skiers’ trends that prevent the successful completion of what I am teaching.
Are you a fan of open water skiing and instructing your students outside the slalom course?
Open water skiing is the best way to work on new technique for most skiers. Slalom is all about course rhythm, which can be worked on more easily outside of the course. People who ski the course all the time can work best on new technique on their easier passes.
What would you tell a fellow skier who is considering a vacation to Ski Paradise?
I tell skiers that Ski Paradise gives you the best in water skiing combined with the best in luxury vacation accommodations
What do find that most intermediate skiers struggle with and how do you help them?
Most intermediate skiers struggle with their natural instincts to lean and pull. They resist skiing lighter and coming off their cutting edge at the second wake.
~ Mike Suyderhoud