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Nationals - Same as it ever was

HortonHorton Posts: 30,412 Administrator
edited March 2015 in Rules/Politics/Issues
The American Water Ski Association's board of directors held its annual mid-winter board meeting on Jan. 24 with the priority item on the agenda being to increase the skier participation at the 2015 GOODE Water Ski National Championships. There was a lengthy discussion of several options ending with the appointment of a Special Committee of five members to study the details of the discussed proposals and to report to the board with their recommendations by Feb. 28, 2015. AWSA President Bob Mayhew has issued the following statement regarding the Special Committee.

"The Special Committee developed a number of interesting concepts applicable to future AWSA national tournaments; but, in the end, it was decided by the Committee, the officers of AWSA, and the board of directors to continue with the same format used in past Nationals for 2015."

The schedule for the 73rd GOODE Water Ski National Championships, set for Aug. 11-15 at Okeeheelee Park in West Palm Beach, Fla., is expected to be released in the coming weeks. It will be posted at USAWATERSKI.org as soon as it becomes available.

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Comments

  • mmosley899mmosley899 Posts: 693 Water Ski Industry Professional
    Great! That should help...
    Mike's Overall Binding www.mobsystemrelease.com
    Sweet Home Alabama Skiing
    Senior Judge, Senior Driver, Tech Controller
    Horton[Deleted User]MattP
  • ZmanZman Posts: 1,734 Mega Baller
    Do we really think a drastic change in the Nationals set up fixes all that ails our sport (assuming something seriously ails our sport in the first place)?
    Scratching my head......
    BRYchris_logan
  • ZmanZman Posts: 1,734 Mega Baller
    Keep in mind this comes from an old fart who has only competed for 7 or 8 years - and thinks Nats are a blast the few times I have attended, including last year and my first one about 20 years ago.
    chris_logan
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,412 Administrator
    I have expressed my opinion and offered a few ideas. After all of this conversation about Nationals my conclusion is that it is no longer the pinnacle of the season for me. Perhaps there is no format change that would change that. The landscape and the culture of the sport has simply changed.

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    Horton
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,412 Administrator
    @Zman the association membership and competitive participation is a tiny fraction of 20 years ago. If that is not a sign of doom I do not know what is.

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  • RichardDoaneRichardDoane Posts: 4,577 Mega Baller
    It is a shame that the "Nationals" is no longer the event that skiers look forward to the most.
    BallOfSpray Pacific Northwest Vice President of Event Management, aka "Zappy"
    HortonBruce_Butterfield
  • WishWish Posts: 8,235 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I look forward to it this year based on location. But it's a whoooole lot less now given the current bad news.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
    Horton
  • WishWish Posts: 8,235 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @boarditup well said.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • Mateo_VargasMateo_Vargas Posts: 912 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I blame the internet. I don't have to go to nationals to see where I stand and who is skiing well. Now we can just look at the rankings list every week.
    Success is failure that just hasn't happened yet
    Horton
  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,616 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @boarditup it's ironic that many of the "elite" or old timers involved with 3 event waterskiing cite the social aspects as one of major drawing cards to participation. Comments like "seeing old friends" and "seeing people I don't see all year" come up time and again as reasons to attend the 'bigger' tournaments like regionals and Nationals. That said I do believe some of the things that are missing are dedicated "social events" which are geared toward bringing people together. That can be anything from a big BBQ to a volleyball night to able exciting event finals. In other words a reason to show up and stay "lake side".

    One comment I don't agree with is that AWSA has "abandoned most other elements of towed sports". AWSA is the competitive 3 event sport division or USA Waterski. As such it IS the sanctioning body of 3 event competitive waterskiing and wakeboard, wakeskate, barefoot, show or whatever are separate divisions focused on those disciplines. Maybe it shouldn't be that way. Maybe there's enough common ground to be one big happy family - maybe not. Either way, currently it's USAWS job to support the other sport divisions to grow overall participation and promote competition in those sport divisions.

    I do think AWSA (specific sport division) has catered to the elite or upper level skiers more than the beginner or mid level competitor. A couple important points - first is the person identified with a specific discipline - 3ev, barefoot, snow, whatever - AND they want to compete! A recreational skier of any type has a different level of participation and focus - or no focus. For example someone freeskiing up and down a public lake could probably care less about a ranking list or what it takes to aspire to ski at the nationals until a competitive bug bites them. That's ok but those skiers are not AWSAs target until they want to go to tournaments.

    Once at those tournaments do they appeal to what the skiers - elite or new - want? Currently the age based divisions allow us to compete against our peers (age wise) but ability wide we may be far apart! Which means tiles you care about mean nothing to me. I think we've appealed and catered to the upper echelon skier at the expense of the mid to lower end skier. Why should a level 4 or 5 skier put in the time, effort and money to aspire to level 6 or 7. Maybe a chance to ski at a regional tournament? What keeps them around? Why do they buy a new boat or ski unless they have significant disposable income? Simulating and encouraging competition at that level is key to growth!

    Remember that when an elite level skier doesn't show up for a regionals or Nationals or makes room for one more lower level skier to move and qualify. But when a lower level skier gives up and drops off it moves the bar for everyone. Said another way if you bring on a new skier who can maintain a level 3,4,5 or 6 level it "improves" the quality of skier at the upper levels (8 & 9) percentile wise. Point is if you want to see improved quality of skiing at the nationals it's better to add 10 lower level skiers than it is to add one elite skier - both are important but for different reasons.

    @boarditup is right we haven't found a way to attract the lower level recreational skier to get involved. Crossing over from another discipline is a valid path but what are we doing to encourage it? We're even having a hard time keeping collegiate skiers who ARE 3 event skiers by definition! So the solution is wide and deep. Attract the newcomer, make competing valuable and exciting, showcase the elite athlete so others aspire to that level. And most importantly invite and enable those who are interested to be involved as much as possible.
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Chairman of the Board
    AWSA Southern Region EVP
    Wish
  • randy menyrandy meny Posts: 51 Baller
    My son won nationals four times. After the last one, in pouring rain, he said dad is this really worth it. You get a five dollar metal. He is sixteen now and does not miss it. I think they need to recognize the young skiers more. How many fourteen year olds have won nationals four times, three times in a row.

    walleye
  • WishWish Posts: 8,235 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @randy meny congrats for starters and sad to hear that. But he speaks the truth when the perceptions are that way. I get a kick out of "child pageant trophies". The trophies are literally taller then the child. Not saying it needs to go to that extreme but something perhaps better then one is given. Unless you get close enough to read my 3rd place finish at states yrs ago, you wouldn't know it wasn't a Nationals first place medal. They all look about the same.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
    randy meny
  • boarditupboarditup Posts: 585 Crazy Baller
    When working with the federal government, if it is not documented, it did not occur.... they don't care if they are occupying the building, if the documentation is not produced correctly, the building does not exist. For kids, if it is not on Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat or other forms of social media, the event never happened. It is a whole new world socially from "Hot Summer Nights" and we need to adapt as a sport or the next generation will not know about us other than family and tribal knowledge.
    Karl DeLooff - Powered by the wind
    WishMike Gile
  • gt2003gt2003 Posts: 726 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited March 2015
    "For example someone freeskiing up and down a public lake could probably care less about a ranking list or what it takes to aspire to ski at the nationals until a competitive bug bites them. That's ok but those skiers are not AWSAs target until they want to go to tournaments."

    As a super brand new, haven't even ski'd the course yet but am going to soon skier, this concerns me. I am not young but I do like to stay athletic. I chose slalom because it's something I did 25-30 years ago and enjoyed back then, NOT because I've seen any type of outreach, advertising or any other type of "draw" to the sport put out there by the AWSA or any other organization. Wakeboarding/surfing stuff is more abundant pretty much everywhere. They capitalize on it. It's the new "slalom/trick/jump" so to speak. The question is, will the AWSA begin some kind of "renaissance" of the 3-even sports or will they let them die a slow, painful death? Just my 2 cents from a new guy. I am one who has a little disposable income, not tons but would like to get others into at least slaloming, maybe even attend a few tournaments as a guest but maybe very minor tournaments as a competitor as I improve. AWSA, get your advertising/marketing folks to "draw me in". I just don't see any of that out there now. The sport will likely continue to decline unless it is given more attention from the top down. If there isn't advertising by the organization, interest in growth by those currently involved and a nurturing of newcomers by the old timers, I don't see much hope.
    2014 HO TX
    1996 Malibu Echelon
    ToddLTyler_RHorton
  • WishWish Posts: 8,235 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @boarditup Ha...another good thought. I noticed once @The_Krista had landed the position with the USAWS, social media seemed to be the go to. At the very least a much greater presence. Here's hoping her successor continues this trend. This also points to @ToddL suggestion.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • Tyler_RTyler_R Posts: 46 Baller
    The body that rules over us doesn't love us....


    /sarcasm

    They don't want to change so we need to elect new leadership if we want things to change.
    The John Daily of Watersking

    Formerly TylerR and personal nuisance to Matt Page
    walleye
  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,616 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @gt2003 since you quoted me I'll reply to your thoughts. Frankly I think you are spot on! I meant my comment literally and would suggest that you have enough of the "competitive bug" that you're seeking tournaments and other ways to 'compete' (either against someone else or your own ability). You ARE the target of AWSA and clearly you're right that the organization does little to attract and retain you unless you follow the same ole routine of years past.

    When I say I meant what I wrote literally the comment was about the purely recreational skier. No buoys, no mid- or high end slalom ski, probably not a direct drive towboat with Zero Off. While that group is a large demographic AWSA really doesn't have anything of interest for them. USAWS should!!! Whether that's group boat insurance, learn to ski clinics, ski swap events, advocacy for waterskier rights on public waterways or anything in between. Work with local marinas and boat dealers or the Overtons of the world to make a connection and get them on board with USAWS. From there they can be exposed to the various sport divisions and learn more and participate more. I believe people frequently equate USAWS with AWSA and they are not set up to be the same (despite AWSA being the largest sport division). That said you're dead right that USAWS doesn't do a lot to draw this group in.
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Chairman of the Board
    AWSA Southern Region EVP
    Wish
  • ChetChet Posts: 60 Open or Level 9 Skier
    Randy your son is a water ski rock star.
    If you look on the shelf of the greats they have areas of their homes littered with trophies, bowls, etc.
    Each of these signifies an accomplishment in competitive water skiing. The accolades help drive even the driven like your son.
    I agree with him that they should bump up the prize and give him something to set on the shelf and tell his grandkids about.
    randy meny
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,859 Mega Baller
    edited March 2015
    Some additional thoughts about leadership and change...

    When one is in a leadership role with a lot of responsibility, it is very easy to feel like, "if I don't do this, no one else can or will." The reality is that this leader may actually be holding the organization back. When new blood joins a leadership team, there is a lot of time spent explaining why or how things work currently. That can seem like non-value-added time. However, those "new eyes" looking upon the process and methods should ask "why" a lot. That is a good thing. If fact, the new folks may ask why after hearing your first answer, and the second answer, and so on. Again, this is a good thing. Innovation will come from it. Those "new eyes" aren't stupid, they are just not as informed in certain aspects of history. But they are better informed in other areas that incumbents don't even begin to comprehend or are afraid to learn and master. They are likely going to be the source of a new future.

    Everyone wants improvement. But we must continually recognize that the very definition of improvement is *change* in the desired direction. Without change or doing something differently, there can be no improvement. With small change there can only be small improvement. Innovators take big risks and embrace big changes. They know that some ideas will fail. They also know that it is through the failure that learning happens best. They employ the knowledge from the failure and go forward better informed. However, big changes can also lead to big improvements. That's the reward of the risk. If our organization does not take the risk of big changes because of fear of failure, then they cannot truly desire big improvements. At least, they don't value big improvements enough to justify the risk of big changes.

    Lastly, If you are in a leadership role and feel like the whole organization will implode if you step aside, then you really aren't leading. You are controlling. Leadership is best defined as providing a vision, inspiring others to desire to reach that vision, and most importantly empowering others to achieve it themselves.


    (A quick commentary - my comments are not specifically directed at any one person or persons at AWSA or USAWS intentionally. I don't know the inner workings well enough to specifically criticize the processes or the people who sit in those leadership roles. The comments above are ones I've made when an organization feels like it isn't getting anywhere. That situation seems to apply here.)
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
    santangelo
  • gt2003gt2003 Posts: 726 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Thanks @klindy . Yes, some advertisement for skiing, maybe slalom/trick (not sure about the ability to do jumping) exhibitions where local ski lakes could possibly advertise their services at Marinas, restaurants on the water etc to draw those in who simply might not know these things exist. If it looks fun, more would be drawn to it. I think a decent amount of recreational skiers could be drawn in IF they knew what was availabe. There are actually a decent number of slalom lakes around my area that I had no idea about until I did an in-depth search. But, I could have found out a lot sooner if those lakes had a way to advertise their services to the general lake crowd. Maybe advertising at local boat shows???? Lots of options.
    2014 HO TX
    1996 Malibu Echelon
  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,616 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @gt2003 I agree completely.
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Chairman of the Board
    AWSA Southern Region EVP
  • randy menyrandy meny Posts: 51 Baller
    Leadership, the names stay the same they just change positions. I think their afraid of change.
    Hortonwalleye
  • GregDavisGregDavis Posts: 278 Solid Baller
    Need Three Day Nationals, Slalom Only, Thur. Fri. and Sat. Qualifying Thur. and Friday. All Divisions, Head to Head Finals Sat. all divisions. Hugh banquet Sat. Night, everyone in attendance, Recognize skiers, Sponsors, etc.etc. There is nothing more important than the recognition of your accomplishment from your piers and from Industry sponsors.
    Wishrandy menyMattP
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,977 Infinite Pandas
    @GregDavis Really? Slalom only? Maybe that elitist attitude has gotten where we are now.

    Perhaps we should welcome wakeboarders, approve boats with multi purpose wakes and ski on water that might not be perfect (like Moomba or the Masters?).

    Have more fun with the sport - not more rules and structure to exclude participants.

    Eric
    E_Tskosney
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,412 Administrator
    We should ban tricks and homemade skis that look like cricket bats

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