It's time to change the rope lengths

After watching the pro's last year at Bell Acqua, I realized its time for the pro's to change the rope lengths. Back in the day, there could be 3 passes a skier may or may not make it through. Now, its pretty much guaranteed everyone is getting into 39.5, so you have one exciting pass to watch before 41 off, then Nate wins. I enjoy watching how easy they make 32, 35, 38, look, but to me the tournaments are not as exciting as they used to be. I think the ultimate pro men tournament rope lengths should be 33, 36, 39, 40, 42, 43. I'd love to watch them run 39, then have to come right back at 40 off.
Or, how about changing all tournament ropes to 16, 20, 24, 28, 31, 34, 37, 39, 40, 42, 43? I think those lengths would make amateur and pro tournaments funner to watch! Pro men start at 34, pro women start at 31. Anyone else interested in getting rid of the current standard?


  • HortonHorton Posts: 32,395 Administrator
    edited August 2015
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  • Ralph LeeRalph Lee Posts: 492
    I just want to see two exciting passes before watching everyone get 1 to 3 buoys
  • dislanddisland Posts: 1,518 Mega Baller
    Good luck, You cant get the IWWF to agree the sky is blue much less change the basic rules
    Dave Island- Princeton Lakes
  • andjulesandjules Posts: 874 Mega Baller
    @Ralph Lee you're blurring a few thoughts here, and I'd encourage you to think metric when wondering proposing new line lengths (the logic of the progression is more clear when you look at the metric lengths).

    But I agree, at a world class tournament,* results are compressing and watching every guy run -32 and to some extent -35 is definitely not adding to spectator excitement.

    *Is it just me, or is this year an off-year? Seems like most world-caliber tournaments this summer, we're only seeing one or two guys get in to -41, and lots going down at -39. Last year in Calgary, 15-ish guys got into -41.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,998 Mega Baller
    edited August 2015
    Here's the metric for reference:

    Loop Color


    Meters Off


    Feet Off



















































    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,998 Mega Baller
    So, the last three rope lengths are each .5 M shorter than before. Prior to that point, each shortening was a smaller increment than the one before (i.e. removed 4.75 M, then remove an additional 2.25, then 1.75, then 1.25, then 1, and so on).

    Given this progression of smaller increments, there has been some thought given to adding take offs between 39/41 and between 41/43. Recently, the idea of a 42 off seemed to gain some anecdotal traction.

    However, I suspect one reason for not having that small of a take off section is the process of fidding the rope and the subsequently difficulty of making a section that short with a loop on each end. Rope sections that are .5M are already less than 20 inches. Thus, a .25 section would be less than 10 inches including the loops and knots and fidding work. So, I suspect that is why once the rope gets to -39.5 / 10.75M, all increments after than are .5M long.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • RogerRoger Posts: 1,616 Mega Baller
    The difficulty of making the loops after 9.75 is actually addressed in the IWFS rules:

    f) Tow lines to be used for the Slalom event shall have loops spliced into the line at distances from the handle of 16m, 14.25m, 13m, 12m, 11.25m and 10.75m to permit quick change of line length.
    Additional loops should be added if there is a reasonable expectation that they will be used. The lengths are as follows:
    o 10.25m
    o 9.75m
    o 9.50m
    Due to the physical difficulty of adding splices for a 25cm shortening, a different rope may be used for the 9.5m shortening if necessary.
    Roger B. Clark - Okeeheelee skier. Senior driver, Senior Judge
  • andjulesandjules Posts: 874 Mega Baller
    edited August 2015
    @Roger and @ToddL this is why I think the sport would benefit from a 10m loop... I think it would make the next 10 years more interesting, with less compression of results. One could make the same argument for a 10.5m loop.

    And surely someone can figure out a .25m length by looking at the rope design a little differently.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,998 Mega Baller
    Things that make you go hm... If a -42 length was added to the rope:
    If a skier can run -41, but can't run -43, then we can't just assume that he can also run a full -42 pass. If a -42 rope length was added, the current WR's a partial -43 are not really valid any more until some of those skiers can master the new -42. I suspect that skiers who are only getting 2-2.5 at -43 may not get a full 6 at a -42 line all that often if at all.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 7,043 Mega Baller
    I love crazy ideas, but so far I am not sold on the major changes suggested by some above. I need to hear more convincing arguments that consider and refute the downsides.

    Thumbs up to a 10m line, though. The jump from 10.25 ("41") to 9.75 ("43") is just too gigantic. It's more interesting to watch when there is more differentiation at the end. If the very best can get some 3 and 4's at 10m and the damn-near-that-good can "only" get 1-2 at 10m, I think that'll be more entertaining.

    And 9.75 is still there to go next. There's some pain around bringing the current records forward with this change, but I feel it's doable since this would be an insertion rather than a total rejiggering.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,328 Mega Baller
    @andjules 39 was run 38 times at the Malibu cup by 25 different skiers. Not an off year.
  • andjulesandjules Posts: 874 Mega Baller
    edited August 2015
    I agree @ToddL, it would have a deep effect on how we view any current/past records at -43. But as we approach the limits of the sport as it is currently designed, and we struggle with compressing tournament results and ponder what would make the sport more exciting... a -42 (10m) loop might be worth the questions marks it puts on current/past records. Put another way, in my mind, it's time to start experimenting.
  • rabrab Posts: 71 Baller
    @ToddL Making the small loop is possible. It would be easiest to splice it as one big continuous loop and then sew the center together.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,998 Mega Baller
    edited August 2015
    @rab - With some of the newer slalom rope loop methods it may not be too hard:
    Some ropes have a loop for the pylon on one end of the section and at the other end, the "loop" is just big enough to fit over next section's pylon loop.
    Look at this InTow rope as an example:

    I imagine that this type of section configuration might allow for a .25M section to be feasible.

    Another idea is to have the final main line (currently the 43 off section) include a adjustment section. By this I mean, the main line could be 9M long, then come with a .75M extension and a .50M extension to the main line. The default extension is the .75M one. When the skier runs 10.25 (41 off), the rope handler swaps out the .75M extension for the .50M extension. Thus the pylon still has the 10.75 loop on it, but the main line is .25 M shorter due to swapping the extensions out for a total rope length of 10.00 (or 42 off). When the skier runs that length, the rope handler switches back from the .50M extension to the .75M extension and moves the pylon loop to the 9.75 loop (43 off). With this idea, all current ropes are still usable once the 10.25M mainline is swapped for the 9M mainline with the two extensions. Then, if a skier ever runs 9.75M (43 off), the rope handler can swap out the extensions again to the .50M one creating a 9.50M or (44 off) line.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • rabrab Posts: 71 Baller
    The current rule for IWSF about splice bury length makes it impossible to splice a loop on each end of the section the traditional way for a .25M section. The problem is that the rule is splices must be .15M long. The two options I see are the continuous loop and possibly overlapping the splices of a normal section. I'll draw up a sketch on what I'm talking about later this evening.
    Rule 10.04 c
    Splices shall be 15 cm. (minimum) long secured with tucks before and/or after the splice, or
    knotted to prevent slipping.

    This isn't a big issue for the current line lengths seeing as there is only one length that messes everything up and we have yet to see it used in a tournament. For now the option of having a dedicated rope for 9.25M is the logical one since no one is needing it.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,998 Mega Baller
    @rab - I totally can envision what you mean by overlapping splices.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • Ralph LeeRalph Lee Posts: 492
    What about 37 off, what ever that is in meters? I think that would be an awesome line length for amateur tournaments, and it wouldn't effect the pro's. Anyways, it's time to change things up, and we need to do more then picking which boat you ski behind, and who goes first. That being said, I will be driving over 500 miles to Bell acqua again this year, cause slalom is still the ultimate sport!!
  • EdbrazilEdbrazil Posts: 1,396 Historical Baller
    Note for @rab The next loop beyond 9.75 is 9.50, and that is allowed to be a separate line. See IWWF Rule 10.04f. If it is ever needed, that line should be retired to the Hall of Fame Museum.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,998 Mega Baller
    Just some facts about the current slalom rope and the rule specification...

    Excel file behind the pic is attached below.

    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
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