2008 EZ-Slalom

EZ-Slalom Portable Course Comparisons

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The EZ-SLALOM Portable Slalom Course Comparison

FOREWORD

Probably the most often asked question we get here at EZ-Slalom is "What is the difference between your EZ-Slalom portable slalom course and your competitors course?" That is our purpose here, to lay out clearly the differences between our products and the others and to explain why we believe that of the available offerings the EZ-Slalom Portable Slalom Course should be your portable of choice.

We knew coming into this market that we couldn't just offer another "Me Too" product. It ws obvious to us that we could do it better. We've invested a very significant amount of time and energy into investigating and testing the materials, methods, and engineering that go into our EZ-Slalom courses. Because we knew that we had to do it better. Because we knew that we could do it better.

In all likelihood you're reading this because you're considering making a slalom course purchase at some point. We'd like to tell you as much as we can about how we build our products before you make that final decision. We want you to know and understand how we do what we do and why we do it the way we do it.

 


All slalom courses
are the same only with respect to the shape they take. Just like a baseball diamond in example, from one to the next the shape and dimensions are always identical. So the issue then is how to arrive at those dimensions in the water with a course system that is easy to install, easy to transport, and that will stand up to many years of frequent usage while requiring little or no maintainance. This is where the differences between EZ-Slalom and the others lie, in these important details.

To build the best possible portable slalom course the specific issues that we believe must be addressed are: 1) accuracy of buoy placement (dimensional accuracy); 2) ease of setup/takedown (or lack thereof); 3) durability of the courses structure (mainline and buoy arms); and 4) ease of portability and storage.

These are the issues that set EZ-SLALOM apart from the competition.

 

The EZ-SLALOM Portable Course Mainline

The most important and most notable difference between EZ-Slalom
and the others is the manner in which we build our mainlines.

From end to end and from anchor to anchor our mainline is one continuous, unbroken length of rope as opposed to the numerous-pieces-crimped-together, sectional design used by others. We use one continuous length of rope and then add the other halves of the boat lane and end gate sections onto it (which creates what is known as the “diamond” because of the shape it makes when the arms are attached - see photo below). Why does using one continuous rope rather than using a pieced-together sectional design matter?

From a structural engineering standpoint one-piece construction is stronger physically and is more durable structurally when compared to a put-together-in-pieces, sectional design. Why? It's simply basic engineering. The higher the number of connecting points there are in any mechanical structure the higher the potential for failure. By building a one-piece, continuous mainline we've reduced the number of structural connecting points on our rope mainlines to zero, thus engineering in the lowest failure potential possible (see photo below).

Model EZ-Slalom Portable Course Diamond - not built to scale

The worst thing that can happen with a continuous, unbroken rope mainline is that you might possibly break it, which is extremely unlikely. We tested rope from every U.S. manufacturer we could find before selecting a supplier for our mainline rope. In fact for the past ten plus years now we've had our rope custom manufactured to our standards to make certain that we're using the absolute best possible rope available. Our mainlines are built from rope which is break-strength rated for over 1250 lbs. of tension! The EZ-Slalom mainline uses the best tested-tough 1/4” poly rope throughout our entire mainline where others use much lighter 3/16" rope in the most important section of the mainline, the diamond. The rope we use is rated stronger by over 70% compared to the mainline rope others use for what is the important section of the mainline. Clearly we use superior materials for the most critical component of the course, the mainline.

We could cut corners here to save money in materials and labor cost by not building our mainline in one continuous length or by using cheaper, lighter-weight rope as others do. We don't because we'd prefer to build it as tough as we possibly can so that it will last for many years of use without problems or failures. From an engineering stand point building the mainline in one continuous length from the best rope available is absolutely the most structurally sound way to do it. That's the reason we do it that way.

Every EZ-Slalom mainline is built in one continuous length using the same rope throughout. At EZ-Slalom we simply don't cut corners. We invest the labor and the funds necessary to build it right! Result - Better materials and better engineering make for a tougher, much less failure prone, much longer service life mainline.

 

Important Mainline Construction Specifics

Rather than use metal crimps to form the mainline loops that attach the buoy arms to the mainline as others do we use tough, heavy-duty nylon cable ties and a specially formulated adhesive to form the arm attachment loops. On the surface a metal crimp might seem like it would be the best way to do that. If that were so, why would we do it differently?

Important point - our research and experience have proven that the most failure prone point on the mainline is at the arm attachment loop. At the loop, over time a metal crimp will wear into the rope causing it to fail and requiring repair or replacement of that entire section of mainline (see photo below). This is an issue that our competitor who builds mainlines using this method is well aware of. The photo at left compares a six year old EZ-Slalom prototype mainline (top) to a six year old mainline built by our competitor (bottom). Both mainlines were used regularly and frequently during that 6 year period but only one (our competitors) had failure issues. With our design we have eliminated the potential for failure at the loop by eliminating the cause of the failure, the metal crimp (see photo below).

EZ-Slalom Diamond Loop

Our competition is happy to tell you (incorrectly) that the weak link in our mainline design is the way we build the arm attachment loops. It should be obvious from the photo above that the weak link is the way they create their arm attachment loops, not the way we build ours. The damage to the arm attachment loop in the photo above is not the result of a one-time-only incident; we've seen this same failure in a number of their mainlines over the years. Over the past 15+ years we've replaced exactly ZERO mainlines due to arm attachment loop failures (or for any other failures for that matter). For comparison ask our competition how many mainlines they've replaced under warranty.

Our unique two-stage combination of heavy-duty nylon cable ties (for a tough mechanical connection) combined with a special space-age adhesive (reinforcing that with a tough chemical bond) holds as well as or better than a metal crimp, and it doesn’t cut into the rope!

We use only the most highly rated cable ties available. Our adhesive is a rare and expensive formulation made especially for polypropylene. Our method is time tested, proven over 15+ years of use, and absolutely guaranteed against failure.

Proof? In the past fifteen-plus years of business we have not had a single mainline returned to us for warranty repair of a failed mainline attachment loop. Not a single one!

Building our arm attachment loops in this manner is definitely not cheap. Using crimps to form the arm attachment loop is much easier, much faster, and much less costly (by a factor of 10) than doing it the way we do it. Again we went with what from an engineering standpoint was the best way to do it first, and then worried secondly about the cost and labor. A bit uglier perhaps than a metal crimp but highly effective, extremely functional, and proven by customer experience to be failure proof. Better by design and proven by experience (see photo below)!

Rope Diameter Comparison Photo

Result - EZ-Slalom mainlines are structurally superior in both materials and design. As such they will give you a much longer service life resulting in better value over time.

It’s a lot more time consuming, involves more labor, and is much costlier to build the mainline the way we build it. But we do it because it creates a proven tougher, proven less failure prone mainline. Period!

 

More About the Materials EZ-Slalom Uses

The EZ-Slalom mainline uses a much heavier crimp just to add the other half of the diamond section (the point at which the buoy arms attach to the mainline) onto our mainline. Ours is the bottom crimp in the photo at right. Others use smaller, lighter-weight crimps to connect their diamond sections, and in fact to hold their entire mainline together.

EZ-Slalom Mainline Comparison

The photo above also illustrates the difference in the poly rope we use for our mainline compared to our competitors mainline. Look closely at the rope in the photo and the difference becomes apparent. We use the same heavier rope throughout our mainline where others use lighter-weight rope for the most critical sections of their mainline, the diamond. Yet another example showing that EZ-Slalom goes farther to engineer and build a better mainline by using superior materials and methods in our construction.

 

The Issue of Portable Course Accuracy

One of the issues some have with using a portable slalom course for training versus a permanent course is the issue of the accuracy of the course. Is it really possible for the accuracy of a portable course to be within the tolerances required by AWSA and IWSF rules?

We agree that dimensional accuracy is an extremely important issue. The factor most affecting a portable course's dimensional accuracy is the fact that polypropylene rope has an inherent amount of stretch under load. That is just the nature of the material. Poly rope is the material used for almost all portable slalom course mainlines and is used in this application primarily because of two factors; 1) ease of handling while installing or removing a portable course; and 2) cost. Steel cable can be and is used for portable course applications, and obviously it is much easier to build a dimensionally accurate mainline from steel cable because steel cable has basically zero stretch. However due to its much lower cost and decreased difficulty of handling most portable course users prefer poly rope for the mainline.

So to assure dimensional accuracy while using poly rope you have to know how much the rope will stretch. As stated earlier, we looked at rope from every US manufacturer we could find and chose the best available to custom build the rope to use in our EZ-Slalom mainlines. Once we had selected our rope we then went the additional step of having that rope stress tested to discover its stretch factor. We test every batch of rope we purchase to make certain that we know the stretch factor. That is how we can guarantee the dimensional accuracy of our poly rope mainlines. By knowing the stretch factor of our rope we can account for that stretch and factor it in as we construct our mainlines. Once in the water and tensioned properly an EZ-Slalom mainline will be dimensionally correct and within AWSA and IWSF tolerances. We GUARANTEE it.

 

The Way of the Future

We build the most compact buoy arms available from any portable slalom course manufacturer. Our buoy arms are built using the same type and sizes of pipe as is common elsewhere. However, our arm section designs are shorter in stored length than existing old-school designs available from others.

EZ-Slalom 7 Piece Buoy Arm

This unique arm design was pioneered and originated by EZ-Slalom Course Systems in 1999 exclusively for use in our EZ-Slalom portable course. We call it the EZ-Slalom Compact. This design is a seven-piece telescoping and interlocking buoy arm design.

First, by building this arm design in seven sections rather than six as our competitors do, each stored section is significantly shorter. The old standard buoy arm sections our competitor still builds when stored are 96" long. The arm sections for the all new EZ-Slalom Compact are only 79" long! A significant space saving of 17 inches in length!

If you have one of the more compact inboard boats (i.e. Ski Nautique 196, Malibu Sportster etc) or a boat that has a trunk in the rear of the boat and/or a slanted or wrap around observers seat (both of which reduce useable floor space), you won't be able to get the old standard buoy arms to lay in the floor of these more compact boats. The EZ-Slalom Compact will fit into the floor of most boats easily, allowing you to transport your course in your boat without having the buoy arms laying up on the rear seat or trunk and possibly damaging your upholstery. And if you do own a full sized inboard boat but would like even more room (or you want to leave your back seat in) while installing, removing, or transporting your course, this may be the solution! Use the links at the top or bottom of this page or CLICK HERE for more detailed information on our innovative EZ-SLALOM Compact design.

We may not have invented the telescoping buoy arm. But we've certainly perfected it!

 

Money Where Our Mouth Is

Our Warranty - We warrant our EZ-Slalom portable slalom courses and their components for Ten Years against failure due to materials or workmanship. Mainline, buoy arms, and all hardware. No fine print to sort through, no questions to answer, and no B.S.! For ten years after purchase if something fails due to materials or workmanship we fix it, period! The only exception is the buoy lines which are covered for three years. For as long as you, the original purchaser, continues to own it you're covered for a total warranty period of TEN YEARS!

We also provide customer service and support that is second to none! The Golden Rule has always been the guiding principal behind our customer service and we take great pride in the reputation we've built for our outstanding customer service. When you purchase from us you're not just another customer, you become a member of our EZ-Slalom family. We will treat you like family and do everything we can to make absolutely certain that you're happy with your purchase! You have our word on it.

We don't just tell you that our portable courses are built tough. WE PROVE IT, WE GUARANTEE IT, and WE BACK IT UP!

 

Value Pricing

Our Price - Finally, if you’ve been shopping around for a portable slalom course you are probably aware that beginning at only $879 shipping included (basic COMPACT portable course) the EZ-Slalom Compact gives you a tougher built, better engineered, more compact course system than the old standard, old ideas designs still in use elsewhere. Our prices are just one more example of why EZ-Slalom has quickly become the New Standard for the portable slalom course!


A famous director once said that to be a great performer one must always give even the smallest details their full attention. Because it’s often the little things that make all of the difference. That is what we’ve done with EZ-SLALOM. We’ve made certain that every single detail has been given our full attention. In doing so we’ve created The BEST Portable Slalom Course Available! Period!

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Thank You for taking the time to review our information. If you have a question about something not covered here and would like additional information or would like to discuss any issue with us person-to-person, please contact us by e-mail to info@ez-slalom.com or call us toll free at 800-216-4461or 913-294-2148 outside the US. We enjoy answering your questions and we'd love to hear from you!

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