Gates, Buoys, Rules, Whatever... How would you do it?

ToddLToddL Posts: 2,744 Mega Baller
There is a lot of noise about gates and change. Forget that for a moment... Assume that the status quo lives on, as is.

If you were to create a NEW ADDITIONAL division/event of slalom skiing where you could start from scratch on all rules and course layout, what would that division be like?
-- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.


  • gsm_petergsm_peter Posts: 709 Crazy Baller
    Great subject.

    Who will be the target group?
    Personally since I am not so much of a competing person there must be something in it for me.

    Pros might need strict rules similar to current system.

    The audience needs something easier to understand.

    Folks like me might get attracted to a handicap system like in golf but taking age in considiration?

    Life is too short not to enjoy every day!
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,212 Mega Baller
    One thing I've spent a little time thinking about is how many buoys I'd use if I were doing the exercise here: totally start over.

    It's borderline disappointing that my answer is:


    I claim only even numbers can be considered, for two reasons: 1) Must be the same from either end, 2) Don't want undo advantage to one particular foot forward. However, note that BOTH of these problems go away if there are buoys on both sides and the skier can choose which way to start. I actually don't love that, though -- yet more buoys to install and maintain.

    2 is clearly too few.

    4 also seems to be too few. If only trying to get 4, I think a slightly different strategy can be employed where you aren't necessarily "on" the pass the whole way. But if forced to pick a number that was not 6, I'd probably go with 4.

    8 just seems like drudgery. I doubt it's really all that much harder to get 8 than 6, but it sure is gonna tire you out more, making it even harder to get sufficient practice at a variety of speeds/lengths.

    And so I'm back to 6. Boring answer, I know.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,281 Crazy Baller
    I don't advocate an additional division, but some of us were standing on shore watching B2 slalom at the KY state championships this weekend. The comment was made about two competitors, one of which is 5'11 and probably weighs about 150 and the other who goes about 75 pounds and maybe stands 4'11 Just the way it is, but ........
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
  • DragoDrago Posts: 1,345 Mega Baller
    5 or 7 buoys, that's fair for both(!). Thought I would have one start buoy where the current right-hand gate is, but the boat needs both, so leave them where they are and don't zero a hard-side miss. Can't touch right hand gate buoys.
    SR SL Judge & Driver (“a driver who is super late on the wheel and is out of sync”)
  • AndreAndre Posts: 1,029 Crazy Baller
    Inflate right side gate buoy to 20 inches and let it sit high in water.
    Nobody gonna cut that gate anymore and no way you can ski over that gate buoy!
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,744 Mega Baller
    @gsm_peter - Target audiences... any. Just specify if your idea is directed at novice level, "Class C"-like level, or pro events.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • skidawgskidawg Posts: 3,225 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    @Kelvin....that is a great idea!
    Mr. Mom is Horton's favorite movie!
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,386 Mega Baller
    edited July 2013
    The skier should obtain their score at their first miss/fall, but be allowed to ski a minimum of 4 passes if they miss/fall before their 4th pass. This is already the case for novice, but I would extend it to all class C. You still have to deal with a score based on your performance off the dock, but potentially get extra passes to smooth out for the next round. Going to a tournament to ski less than a pass and getting out of the water is a deterrent. Yes, I realize it will lengthen the tournament somewhat. But, the idea was to get more participation. There are some good skiers (shortening lines at their max speed) who may struggle with inconsistency and be wary of a very short round for their money/time.

    If the weekend tournaments get too full, hold some on a weeknight with a smaller cap on the number of skiers and run the weeknight tournaments with the original "fall/miss/get out" rule.

    I would not change any tournament other than C. So, the other class tournaments would be tailored toward advanced skiers.

    And, I would keep the current gate rule. I am on the fence about a right-handed and left-handed course option.

    Some of the tournaments in Michigan run an ability-based handicap system alongside the regular tournament. So, your best score from the first 2 rounds (only) is also considered in that system. When you beat the max score in your division, you move to the next division and compete there. You earn points for skiing the most buoys within your division's buoy count range compared to the other skiers. The division does not include a specific speed, but judges each skier against their max speed and line length. So, you can have M3, M4, G1, B1, M7, W6 skiers in each division, according to their PB at their current max speed. There are divisions for skiers who have not completed a max speed pass at any length. It adds competitiveness across a broader range and mix of skiers. It really puts your toughest competitor at the forefront - yourself. I'd like to see this secondary scoring/competition at a wider, national level.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,744 Mega Baller
    @MISkier - 4-pass minimum, "Yes, I realize it will lengthen the tournament somewhat. But, the idea was to get more participation."

    Interesting point. To take that further, if we increase participation, we'd have more skiers at tournaments and they would take longer anyway... If 4-pass minimum would work to help advance newer skiers to full competitive levels and thus increase participation, then that makes sense. The additional time invested in newer skiers could be equivalent to having more full competitive skiers participating. Maybe the 4-pass minimum for class C is limited to skiers who's last attempt was no further than max speed @ 15 off, or does that really matter... I've benefitted from a non-scoring ride home through the course after my class C ride was over and I was at the far end of the lake.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,386 Mega Baller
    I would have the 4 pass minimum be for anybody, regardless of the line length or speed attempted. I've seen skiers who can run 32 off at their max speed miss their 22 off max speed opener in all rounds. Good skiers having a bad day or a bad start. These are people that can advance competitively and support the sport well if they don't succumb to initial frustration while building their skills into rock-solid, consistent performance.

    I've also received the non-scoring practice ride back to the dock - many, many times. I am saying that the 4 pass minimum gives a chance to actually work something out before the next round after an opener miss/fall. And, the current non-scoring ride back is only if you didn't fall. The minimum pass allotment would allow a fall and still get the practice.

    I would lessen it to 3 passes, but it would be 4 anyway with the return to the dock after the 3rd. I don't think 2 passes is enough to smooth anything out. 1 pass is your initial failure and 1 is your immediate practice/recovery after that failure.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,386 Mega Baller
    To find some medium ground, perhaps the 4 pass minimum applies to only one round. That provides the opportunity to correct something without unnecessarily extending each round or extending the overall tournament as much.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • Skoot1123Skoot1123 Posts: 1,786 Mega Baller
    Not everyone will get a trophy.

    With that said I like the idea of a 4 pass minimum in the first round. That way if someone really messes up (and even the best do too) they won't feel like they have blown away 45-?? dollars for a trip in the drink. Lets face it, how many people want to spend money just to fall and be done? I know I don't - not only that but if they had to travel a great distance to get there, that is seriously some major bummin'! Obviously that many passes in a tournament would have to be accounted for in the planning stages, but I think it would be doable.
  • gsm_petergsm_peter Posts: 709 Crazy Baller
    Since I am a beginer and only seen one tournament and been in one fun adhoc race I will tell my story and ask if some one can make some rules out of this.

    The planned race was canselled and I was a guest at Nyköpings VSK for training.
    But since they had got one guest they decided to run it anyhow -sligethly against my desire.

    The rules was set to make me happy.
    First round set the base line. Each skier gets six passes.
    Entrance gates was optional as long as you tried to resonable close to them.
    I made 6 at 26,7mph 15 off so this was my target to beat second round.

    After lunch each skier got six more passes.
    I failed 3 times but got 6 at 26,7 forth time.
    Then made my first 28 (all six) and then very tired 0,5 on 30.
    This gave me 6,5 Points improvement.
    It took me 9 weeks amd 30 sets to repeate my 28 mph.
    I have also managed one full pass on 26mph 22 off.
    That was actually easier and more fun than the 28mph.
    Can one compare a shortening to one higher speed?

    So in order to attract me to race again most of these should be fullfilled.

    Sorry for wording and typos.
    Writing on a small mobile.
    Life is too short not to enjoy every day!
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,386 Mega Baller
    @Skoot1123, your mention of a trophy made me think of an additional condition: the skier is out of any applicable awards or localized placement acknowledgement if they exercise the minimum 4 pass option. That is the incentive for nailing their best (or at least acceptable) off-the-dock performance consistently. The minimum pass option is designed to provide a little extra insurance on the value of the tournament investment and allow the skier to potentially post better scores in subsequent rounds. The scores themselves would still count for AWSA, but the skier forfeits any local recognition of their performance when using their 4 passes.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,744 Mega Baller
    edited July 2013
    Let's push this a little further out there...

    Simple Suggestions:
    1) Class C judged from Boat only - good idea, thanks @Kelvin

    2) 4-pass minimum for Rd 1 - thanks, @MISkier & @Skoot1123

    3) Entrance Gates - must be able to see light between the ski and the outside of the right buoy for a scored miss, "tie" (a.k.a. can't tell it was missed) goes to the skier, left gate buoy for skier reference only, not scored (if you want to "miss" the gates late, that is fine but it won't result in a zero score)

    4) Trick event (yes, I know this is the wrong site/thread for tricks talk, but this popped into mind...) - Run it based upon score-ability levels groups, not age divisions - judges could then be rated based upon ability to score certain levels of runs. Premise - many trick judges dropped out when local skiers get too good for that judge to be able to call the run. Thus, by grouping by ability, this allows for more trick judges to be rated to score lower-level tricks without the fear of messing up a more advanced skier's run. Maybe @eleeski has some thoughts...

    More ideas...
    1) Exit Gates - add a left hand exit buoy exactly 41M down course from the 6ball boat guide (a.k.a. 14M past current exit gate), Note: this is the same distance required to score a 4-ball full turn now would apply to a 6-ball full turn - Rathburn gate but only for exit?

    2) 6 Turn buoys on both sides, skier choice as to initial cut direction - no more foot-forward advantage question - yep many have suggested this

    3) Rope length in terms of buoy width (+ feet, or - feet) - makes more sense to newbies and non-competitive audience members.

    4) Handle section varied and adjusted to skier span standard of 2.5M (standing with arm raised fully) - thus if the skier's hand is over 2.5M, the handle length would be shortened to offset the height. if the skier's hand is under 2.5M, the handle length would be increased to accommodate the deficit. The handle lengths would be standardized to 150CM with +/- 5CM adjustment options. So, handles could be purchased in lengths of 140CM, 145CM, 150CM, 155CM, 160CM, etc. Just imagine what Regina could do with this?

    5) Add style factor to pro event scoring. Just like Olympics for artistic "sports", have the judges hold up cards with scores of 10 or 8.5 from the US judge, etc. These scores would be used to determine the winner of the Radical Skier award, separate from the actual buoy count. The most clean or intense skiers would likely score high on this add-on competition. Would likely speak to non-competitive audience members.

    6) Most number of valid wake crossings at max speed from entrance to exit gate competition - no concern for significant width. skier just has to fully exit the 2nd wake. Remove all mid-course buoys. Skier can start on any side/finish on any side. Skier skiers start with -15. Top half of skiers move to round 2 at -22, and so on.

    7) Throwback Competition - pull out that late 70's wooden competition ski and hold a competition where everyone uses that ski only

    8) Biggest Spray along one side - skier must lean out to one side and throw a big spray the entire length of the course (not just at one turn?). No actual measurement, but subjective judging on coolest, biggest spray down the lake

    9) Reverse competition - Slowest speed at long line - start at the skier's standard opener and see how many buoys slower the skier can successfully navigate

    I'm just throwing some stuff out there to get the synapses firing.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • tbrenchleytbrenchley Posts: 120 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    @toddl I'm down with the handle length being adjustable to the height of the skier to make it more fair for guys like me that are under 6 feet tall....I don't like that pros like CP and Nick Parsons pretty much have a line length advantage over me with their reach
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,212 Mega Baller
    edited July 2013
    To get a little more into the spirit here, I'd get rid of 1/2 and 1/4 buoys entirely. Someday I may write up a big treatise about why this makes sense (and everyone will be so surprised that I've spent a lot of time thinking about it and analyzing its potential impact...). But for now it'll be more fun to not defend the idea at all and let people go nuts. Here's how it would change:

    old new
    1/4 -> 0
    1/2 -> 1
    1 -> still 1
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • KelvinKelvin Posts: 1,101 Mega Baller
    @Than_Bogan I have the same feeling about 1/2 vs full credit. I've seen skiers that aren't in great shape coming into a buoy just stand up to get the full buoy credit under today's rules, but the skier that is in better shape around a buoy makes a turn to head for the next buoy and falls and gets 1/2 credit. In my mind the second skier had a better pass, but gets a lower score.
    Kelvin Kelm, Lakes of Katy, Katy Texas
  • WaternutWaternut Posts: 1,511 Crazy Baller
    edited July 2013
    Same dimensions with 7 Buoys and no gates. Get around them however you want. Strategy can then lie with whether you want to opt up so you can run a harder pass starting with an o.

    I'd also like to see the concept of a single "fault" or "mulligan" for the entire set if you miss something.

    Neither will ever happen but I kinda like these two concepts and it's a dream thread anyway.

    On a side note, I do think it would add a new challenge if the boat actually ran a zig zag course while the skier ran a set buoys outside of this. Would add a new perspective of sling shotting. Would be kinda fun.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 26,537 Administrator
    edited July 2013
    What if ..when you arrive at a tournament all you know is the balls are between 35 and 40 feet wide of the center, the boat max speed is between 33 and 35 mph, the first shortening is between 10 and 20 feet off and the next is between 20 and 30 off and so on. You do not know all the specs until you are done. Maybe there are 6 balls or maybe 8 or worse 7.

    Every skier gets the same rope and speed but no one knows what it is...

    One thing. There will be gates and you will need to go between them.

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  • DUSkierDUSkier Posts: 143 Baller
    @Horton I think I've had all of those in a tourny plus being on public water!!!!
    Nigel Sparrow
  • ScarletArrowScarletArrow Posts: 774 Crazy Baller
    I would like to see an option where you can still score by shortening the rope at a lower max speed than your division.

    Everyone wants the thrill of shortening the rope, why not let them do so even if there is a penalty in the scoring for doing do?

    For instance. If a M1 skier (58kph) wants to shorten the rope at 55kph, why not let him/her do so? Perhaps apply a 6 buoy "penalty" to their score.

    Or perhaps create a division similar to the INT "wide ride" division where anyone can participate and the max speed is 30mph, then you shorten the rope.
    Anthony Warren
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,744 Mega Baller
    @ScarletArrow. FYI - currently, the rules allow a skier to shorten the rope at anytime at any speed. The score is the same in the books as long line until the skier completes a pass at max speed. Only then does the score account for the rope length. So, a skier can currently start at 28 off at 4 passes below max if desired. If a skier started at 28 mph @ LL, then wanted to ski 28 mph @ -15; then the -15 pass is merely a repeat since the speed didn't change. I don't see the point of that. However, a skier could go: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], 36(max)@-28, then get 1/[email protected] It would score the same as: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], 36(max)@LL, -15, -22, -28, then get 1/[email protected]
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • gsm_petergsm_peter Posts: 709 Crazy Baller
    edited July 2013
    Would it be equally diddicult to ski a full pass at 30mph 15off as full pass at 28mph 22off?
    Could those two passes get same score?

    I would like to see such rule in this new rule book.
    Life is too short not to enjoy every day!
  • gsm_petergsm_peter Posts: 709 Crazy Baller
    A second thought.
    If we add the componet to attract more people into the sport Paralell slalom migth be more intresting to the non waterskiing audience.
    I also promote to describe the actual line lenght instead of how much was taken off.
    Life is too short not to enjoy every day!
  • KcSwerverKcSwerver Posts: 389 Baller
    @ToddL I'm really frusterated with this rule because I complete passes at 30, 32, 34, then get [email protected] 15 off yet I am still scored at 3 @ 36 long line.
  • KelvinKelvin Posts: 1,101 Mega Baller
    @KcSwerver Yes, but when you finally get that [email protected] pass, it will count as a 12 buoy run. Alternatively, enter Class L tournaments where they don't recognize longline.
    Kelvin Kelm, Lakes of Katy, Katy Texas
  • woolly110woolly110 Posts: 121 Baller
    and pairs slalom 2 skiers one boat.
  • ScarletArrowScarletArrow Posts: 774 Crazy Baller
    @ToddL I realize you can start at a shorter line length than your max speed, e.g. M3 32mph 22off.

    It's how you are scored I'm talking about. For example (IMHO) - M2 skier - 4 buoys 34mph 22off > 4 buoys at 36mph LL.

    Why not just recognize the difference and score them at their actual speed and line length instead of backtracking it to LL?

    There are plenty of "older" M2 skiers who have no intention of skiing 36mph when they know in just a year or two they can ski 34mph and shorten the rope.

    Why not let them do it now and let them be scored on a separate scoring matrix?

    I can think of at least 2 instances where this occurred in an INT tournament - i.e., someone didn't know they were M2 and started shortening the rope.

    They never skied 36mph in practice and had no intentions of doing so, but they were interested participating in the tournament.

    Just a thought...
    Anthony Warren
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