EZ-Slalom Portable Course Comparisons
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The EZ-SLALOM Portable Slalom Course Comparison
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
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
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).
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).
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)!
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.
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
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
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
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!
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
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!
EZ-Slalom is the OFFICIAL SLALOM COURSE of the INT LEAGUE
and OFFICIAL NATIONAL SPONSOR!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!