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Four Towboats Approved For 2015

HortonHorton Posts: 25,491 Administrator
edited December 2014 in Rules/Politics/Issues
Four competition towboats from four manufacturers have been approved to pull athletes in American Water Ski Association-sanctioned tournaments in 2015. The American Water Ski Association (AWSA) is one of nine sport discipline organizations of USA Water Ski.

Towboats approved for AWSA competitions in 2015 are: Centurion Carbon Pro, Malibu Response TXi, MasterCraft ProStar and Ski Nautique 200. To view the engine and propeller specifications for each boat, click here (PDF).

Members of AWSA’s Towboat Committee, technical experts, drivers and top water ski athletes conducted this year’s evaluations for AWSA, which were held Oct. 27 at Lake Grew in Polk City, Fla.

In 1983 AWSA established its first set of comprehensive technical evaluations of inboard and outboard water ski towboats. These procedures have been updated every year since then to take advantage of the most up-to-date technology available.

To have a boat evaluated, a manufacturer must be a USA Water Ski Gold Corporate Member, and a member of the American Water Ski Educational Foundation and Water Sports Industry Association. While successful completion of the towboat evaluations allows a manufacturer to pull tournaments, there also are several other advantages. Private-lake communities continue to be built all over the country. Most developments require any boat used on the lake to be on the AWSA-Approved towboat list. Many city and community-owned lakes also only allow AWSA-Approved towboats on their waterways. Public and private lake communities have the peace of mind knowing these boats have been put through the most rigorous testing in the industry. Approved towboats also carry more value to marine dealers in terms of marketability.

Once a model successfully completes the evaluations, the manufacturer is encouraged to pull skiers at AWSA-sanctioned tournaments. By pulling a predetermined number of sanctioned tournaments at various levels of competition, a manufacturer’s towboat model becomes eligible to participate in AWSA’s regional and national championships. While the Towboat Committee compiles a vast amount of test data for each towboat, it is important to note that this information is confidential and only released to the manufacturer. Currently, the purpose of the evaluations is to determine if a towboat has suitable characteristics for water ski competitions.

Before a boat even hits the water, the test team runs through a detailed check-in procedure. All aspects of a boat are measured, including the overall length, width, fin placement and depth, prop pitch, and shaft angle. Engine and transmission serial numbers are recorded along with technical data from the power package. The boat’s hull characteristics are noted, and pictures of the stern, side, cockpit and interior are taken.

To be used in competition, three-event towboats must meet certain performance standards that are designed to give skiers, drivers and officials optimum conditions during tournament competition. These standards are established by AWSA’s Towboat Committee to achieve tournament-capability status. Each boat must pass a series of 11 tests and sub-tests: power and acceleration, handling and maneuverability, engineering, drivability, sound level, slalom course center-line deviation, slalom spray, jump course center-line deviation, and slalom, tricks and jump wake evaluations.

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Comments

  • WishWish Posts: 7,291 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited December 2014
    What was the most tow boats approved in a single year? What year?
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
    Rpc29
  • MattPMattP Posts: 5,973 Mega Baller
    In 2000 there were 20 boats approved but I'm sure @Edbrazil‌ would know he used to run the tests
    Wish
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,070 Mega Baller
    edited December 2014
    @Wish‌
    http://www.usawaterski.org/pages/divisions/3event/AWSAApprovedTowboatHistory.pdf

    Interesting to me that the VTX was approved in 2008 - hull hasn't changed since then.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,070 Mega Baller
    So out of curiosity for those in the know. Why do the mfg's only put up one boat a piece now - is it that hard to pass the tests or too expensive to do more than one?
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 2,413 Mega Baller
    @oldjeep
    The market today is much smaller for these types of boats then that of the past as in before the Wake boats. Engineering and development Cost to build and market these boats do not provide the profit margins that the same amount of resources to a manufacturer can bring for the wake boats just do not make building and participating in waterski boats that appealing to manufactures. Along with the fact that our purpose built sport is declining and the number of customers for these boats are thinning at a very rapid rate.
    Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.


    oldjeep
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,070 Mega Baller
    OK. Just curious why Malibu doesn't bring the VTX and Nautique doesn't bring the Sport 200 in for testing. If they couldn't pass the new tests on the hulls they were previously certified on, or if it was expensive - or maybe nobody cares if a v-drive gets AWSA certified any more. Not sure if you can get a tournament ZO in either one of them, but there is a ZO option of some sort for the VTX.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • BoneHeadBoneHead Posts: 5,879
    edited December 2014
    The Nautique 206 is a perfect example of why they don't do it. Nautique spent the $ to get it approved, and no one wanted to ski behind it in a tournament. Malibu could certainly get the VTX approved again and it would be the exact same result. At one point, and I doubt it's gotten any cheaper, the first boat a mfr submits for testing costs them $6100($5000 fee, plus $1100 to be a USAWaterski Gold Member) plus expenses to send the boat to the test. Additional boats would be $5k plus expenses. By the time testing is done, a manufacturer could have $20k+ per model tied up in approval. If you're not going to drive the sale of a dozens of boats with the "approved" nomenclature, and no one will want to ski behind it at a tournament, it doesn't make fiscal sense for most manufacturers to submit a v-drive or larger boat any longer.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

    oldjeepThan_BoganAndrechris_logan
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,039 Mega Baller
    I'd take what ShaneH said even a step further: If I'm a boat maker, I really only want my best {slalom, jump, trick} boat to be used in {slalom, jump, trick} tournaments, because otherwise it leaves the impression that my boat is not good.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • WishWish Posts: 7,291 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Hmmmm...No Gekko
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
    6balls
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,070 Mega Baller
    Thanks, that is informative. I guess there is a bit of a conundrum then. On the one hand you have a shrinking sport that would like to maintain/grow - but some of the participants are too picky to ski behind the kind of boats that people new to the sport might have - folks who are unlikely to purchase a single purpose brand new boat.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,070 Mega Baller
    Be interesting to see if Gekko tries next year. I suspect they are plenty busy this year having moved their manufacturing to MN.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 2,413 Mega Baller
    Actually manufacturers will pay the licensing fee's (test fee's) for cross over type boats approved due to some lake restriction site's that require AWSA/USAWS organization approval in order to use on these sites. Also if a manufacturer's dealer base as a whole want's Sanctioning body approval for these crossover boats.
    Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.


  • DWDW Posts: 1,833 Crazy Baller
    I would also think applying the reverse sort of logic to Shane's comment would be a valid consideration for a manufacturer - targeting a shrinking client base with more options would potentially reduce the sales of a boat you desire to sell to a particular, small client base. Diluting that with multiple models could hurt those sales.
  • igkyaigkya Posts: 501 Solid Baller
    Curious to see a list of any make/model that was submitted for approval and failed... or is it simply pay the fees and get approved?
  • BulldogBulldog Posts: 982 Solid Baller
    Remember if a boat gets approval it does not automatically mean it is a good boat to slalom behind. (like the v-drives)
    Mike Loeffler - "Someone somewhere is having a real problem today...My bad skiing is NOT one of them"
    Jody_Seal
  • Ed_ObermeierEd_Obermeier Posts: 1,339 Crazy Baller
    Also just because a certain boat didn't get put through the tests doesn't mean it's not a good slalom boat. Probably not worth the investment for a smaller manufacturer i.e. Gekko or Moomba.
    Ed Obermeier - owner, EZ-Slalom Course Systems
    www.ez-slalom.com
    BulldogJody_Seal
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 4,865 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Gekko and Moomba could also have the same issue as an approved v-drive if it existed. No one wants to ski it when the other choice is one of the 4 currently approved boats.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,070 Mega Baller
    Moomba doesn't make DD boats any more
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • DWDW Posts: 1,833 Crazy Baller
    So how much value does paragraph 5 hold if 2 mfg's of slalom tugs didn't participate? What is their market share risk by not participating (I am going on the assumption that they would pass the tests and be approved).
  • WishWish Posts: 7,291 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    So does that mean a Gekko.., previously approved hull, I think..cannot be used in a tournament? I thought that hull was approved several times over the years. And what is the rule for previous yr boats? How far back can you go and say it's ok to use in a tournament?
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,070 Mega Baller
    @Wish‌
    http://www.usawaterski.org/pages/divisions/3event/AWSATowboatUse.pdf

    What model year Towboats can we use in 2014?
    Class C tournaments may use 2014, 2013, 2012, or 2011 Approved towboats (current and three years prior). For any boat 2014 and earlier, the manufacturer must also have a boat on the approved list for 2014. In cases where dual boats are required, both boats must be the same model and year.
    Record Capability (Class E,L,R) tournaments must use a current year 2014 USA-WS Approved boat or a prior year 2013 USA-WS Approved boat. In cases where dual boats are required, both boats must be the same model and year.
    Following the 2014 National Championships, a 2015 model year towboat may be used in tournaments (between the Nationals and the boat tests) where the boat is unchanged from the 2014 model; or in the case of a manufacturer that tows the 2014 Nationals, where the new model is intended to replace a manufacturer’s current boat.
    On an exception basis for individual boats only, a request may be made to the Chair(s) of the Towboat Committee requesting the use of a 2015 unchanged boat prior to the Nationals. (Rationale – allows a promotional boat owner to sell a current year boat in early to mid- season and take delivery of an unchanged new model year boat and still meet tournament commitments.)
    Exceptions for Use – Approved Tournament Towboat
    a) Exceptions for use of any other boat not on the “approved list” may be made by the Chair(s) of the AWSA Towboat Committee. The boat shall be considered an “Approved USA-WS Tournament Towboat” for that event.
    b) Older Boats – If there are not sufficient numbers of approved boats available in an area for use, the LOC may apply to their Regional AWSA Towboat Committee member (or Chair of the AWSA Towboat Committee) for use an OLDER model year towboat. Consideration will be given to the condition of the boat, speed control system and version of speed control software in the boat.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • dislanddisland Posts: 1,201 Crazy Baller
    Why even charge for the testing. I bet if asked, volunteers would be happy to test the boats. No offense to the current testers but do we really need people flying cross country for this?
    Dave Island- Princeton Lakes
  • bowtybowty Posts: 75 Baller
    With the price at roughly 6k for testing, are companies like Gekko, Moomba, etc. not able to afford this? I'm not sure of an exact price on either of these boats, but selling one boat ought to cover the testing cost. Or are they just choosing not to go through the process?
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,070 Mega Baller
    @bowty I'm guessing that the 6K for testing pales in comparison to the $$$$$ they would need to kick out for a promo program if they really felt like pursuing the competitions. (And Moomba has nothing to sell - they stopped producing their DD boat)
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • HortonHorton Posts: 25,491 Administrator
    @gman‌ You have any comments?

    Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

    Babes / Connelly / D3 / DBSkis / Goode / Hobe Lake / HO Syndicate / KD Skis  

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  • BulldogBulldog Posts: 982 Solid Baller
    @gman great post! Thank you for taking the time to tell us your perspective.
    Mike Loeffler - "Someone somewhere is having a real problem today...My bad skiing is NOT one of them"
    evolski
  • gmangman Posts: 11 Water Ski Industry Professional
    Here's more information on the statistics on the earlier post, per a request. The data collector is Infolink (www.info-link.com) who collects registrations which means sold boats in the US. Boat companies can subscribe to their data services and they're generally regarded as the go-to source for data about the industry. Here are their results for 20' registrations for 12 months rolling through March 2014 by manufacturer:

    MasterCraft 209, Malibu 209, Nautique 264, Moomba 93, Tige 129, Axis 83, Centurion 6, MB 1, Sanger 1.

    Some interpretations:
    - VD and DD boats are mixed in these numbers.
    - DD numbers mixed in include Mastercraft, Malibu, Nautique, Centurion and Sanger.
    - If Moomba, Tige and Axis are selling roughly 100 VDs in the category one might conclude that the big 3 are also selling at least that many.
    - Thus, at 50% for DD, the numbers may look like: Mastercraft 104, Malibu 104, Nautiques 132 and Centurion 6. Centurion gets 100% since they don't have any 20' VD models.
    - These figures are for the US and don't include exports or unregistered boats.

    Personal insights:
    - In talking with a number of top Mastercraft and Malibu dealers, few sell more than about 5% of their new unit sales in DD. Some don't stock DDs at all. I'd love to be proven wrong on this and there are some dealerships owned by skiers who do sell more DDs as a percentage but those dealerships are few.
    - I do try to take an objective look without bias in attempting to form accurate assumptions and make sound decisions about the realities of the market.
    - We used this data for market review purposes a few months ago and while the numbers have probably improved overall the percentages may be somewhat static.
    Bulldog
  • dislanddisland Posts: 1,201 Crazy Baller
    @gman If someone buys a boat but doesn't register it because its used at a private ski lake does it count in your numbers.

    I dont have my boat registered but maybe it got counted when we first boat it from the dealer?
    Dave Island- Princeton Lakes
  • ALPJrALPJr Posts: 1,613 Crazy Baller
    @gman‌ great posts. Thank you. At some point in the next year or two I hope to be in the market for a dd. A ski buddy and I have been talking about the GTS 20 as the best solution for our situation - a handful of passionate skiers who have access to a wonderful slalom pond, ski about two days per week from April to October, take the occasional cruise and free ski with the fam's on public water, and are not really interested in skiing tourneys.
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