The Katana is a ski that many intermediate skiers will find to be a great ride. The reason is, it is designed to be skied at 30 mph or less. 26 to 30 mpg is a very comfortable speed for less aggressive, more of a freeride, open water skier. Most water skis are based on shapes that are intended to ski much faster. Simply making a ski wider does not make it significantly better at slower speeds. So instead, Radar started with a clean sheet of design paper, and engineered a shape that is actually better at 30 mph and lower because it is designed from the ground up to be skied in that speed range.
The result is the Radar Bent V series of open water, freeride skis, and the Katana is the intermediate level ski in this series. Yes, it starts with a wider shape. This is important, because it makes the ski easier to get up on from a deep water start. But where it is wider is also important. With more width under the back foot, the back of the ski comes up out of the water quicker, helping the ski plane on top of the water faster, and with less effort.
Another important difference is in the sidecut shape of the ski. Between the widest part of the ski in the area under the back foot, and the narrowest point at the front binding, there is an inside radius shape. This inside radius shape in the center of the ski creates a natural turning shape. The result is a ski that not only skis well at slower speeds, but it also turns very, very easily. If you stand a bit too far forward, the wide tip shape helps keep the tip up. If you get more weight on the tail, the wider section at the back helps keep the tail up. And, the inside radius shape creates a natural turn when the ski is tipped on edge.
And then, Radar also rethought how the tunnel should be shaped on a slower speed ski. Simply making the tunnel wider makes a ski less stable. But, having a narrow tunnel on a wider ski also creates lots of flat surface on each side, which also makes the ski more slippery. So, the solution is to add two grooves down each side of the tunnel. These grooves help guide the ski through the turn, keeping it tracking and predictable throughout the arc of the turn. Additionally, a flat spot was added down the center of the main tunnel to reduce drag, and also to create a natural spot for the skier to stand on the ski through the turn.
The final result is a ski that is super easy to turn, incredibly predictable and very easy to deep water start. If you are looking for a new design to make skiing more fun and less fatiguing, Katana is a great choice. Or, if you are looking for a first ski that will make learning to ski easier and more fun, this is it!