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Level 10

LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,417 Crazy Baller
What happened to the L10 rule? I see that no level 10 has yet been established in the rankings.
Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge


  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,417 Crazy Baller
    Thanks Paul.
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
  • Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 3,124 Mega Baller
    The Battle is brewing at this time. The level 10 mandate rule is a bad rule for the sport. This rule is nothing more then a personal agenda deal that the president of AWSA has pushed through with very little for thought and is widely objected by the general membership of awsa. As the southern region will bare the brunt of this rule as will florida skiers as they make up the highest percentage of skiers affected. Many of the affected skiers have declared that they will boycott both the regionals and Nationals and may redirect their efforts towards other sports or just not renew membership. The Leadership of awsa had a mandate to increase membership yet a rule like level 10 only counters this mandate in a non productive manor.
    Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.

    [Deleted User]RichardDoane
  • jcampjcamp Posts: 914 Mega Baller
    @Jody_Seal Not to pick on you in particular, but this seems like it has the potential to turn into another sh!t storm where people make a lot of threats and accusations without any real data to back them up.


    "is widely objected by the general membership of awsa." How "widely objected"? 10%? 50% Just a few commenters on BOS? Any real data to back this up? It would be good to know what the real size of the dissenters on this issue is.

    "Many of the affected skiers have declared that they will boycott both the regionals and Nationals and may redirect their efforts towards other sports or just not renew membership." Anyone that's willing to actually go on record as saying they'll boycott Regionals or Nationals? Seems to me that a boycott threat isn't very effective if people aren't willing to make that threat public.

    I don't have much of a dog in this fight and the Level 10 rule is a long way away from affecting me personally, but I'm sorta tired of all the negative crap in this sport right now (luckily we can all just start skiing now that spring is here for most of us) and over generalizations (on both sides) don't help.

    Anything to help pinpoint the level of concern about this would be helpful.
  • santangelosantangelo Posts: 192 Solid Baller
  • BRYBRY Posts: 585 Crazy Baller
    edited May 2017
    I don't see why someone with a high score of 107 and an average of 106.17 is not too good and can win but someone with a high score of 108.5 and an average of 106.5 it too good to win.
  • Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 3,124 Mega Baller
    Regional council and directors from all regions have been asked to vote on not implementing the level 10 mandate until scoring programs and more membership feed back can be obtained. So far the southern region has voted pretty unanimously to not implement this rule.

    The question from many older skiers in my state and region is why should a 60 year old be mandated to ski against a 35 year old. Or why should a 5'.6" jumper be mandated to ski against a 6' pro jumper?

    Bottom line is "Mandate inclusion" should not be the rule, voluntary inclusion and qualification needs to be the policy.

    This level 10 rule was implemented via ambush politics and needs to be reviewed and reversed.
    Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.

    [Deleted User]RichardDoane
  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,575 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Since it passed at the board level I'd be interested in the actually votes. Close? Who voted yes, who voted no?
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Chairman of the Board
    AWSA Southern Region EVP
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,977 Infinite Pandas
    I kind of like the rule. Last year there were only 3 MM trickers at Nationals. MM slalom was quite small as well. Making the elite divisions big enough for meaningful competition is a worthy goal.

  • JeffSurdejJeffSurdej Posts: 682 USAWS Official
    @Bruce_Butterfield First Bruce, thank you for your respectful opinion. Contrary to what some think this is not my personal agenda, hell it puts me into L10, there is just not enough overall 35 plus males yet to make it mandatory, but this rule has been in the works since before I was president.

    Did I back it? yes. Do I like it? yes. Do I think it's going to change the sport or increase membership/retention? not that much. Is it a step towards ability based skiing? yes. DO I think we are giving a big middle finger to our membership when pro skiers like Nate Smith are winning age division rankings? you betcha.

    What I see happening here is a system that is hard, if not impossible, to make work for both open and masters and for all 4 events. The intention is good, I don't think anyone would agree that mens 2 slalom should be dominated by Nate Smith, jon travers, cale burdick, and corey vaughn, and other divisions with regina, erika, and the list goes on. And all these skiers dropped down into age divisions for use of boat 1-2 times, but once they do that they take ranking spots on amateur divisions and take spots away from national qualifiers. So the intent of the rule started with these scenarios, and got even more heated when pro skiers such as erika lang, anna gay, and brooke baldwin skied G3. Is it right that the greatest womens tricker to ever walk the face of the earth should be able to ski G3. Depends who you ask.

    The debate gets even more 2 sided as we enter the 35 plus divisions, where should jeff rodgers, greg badal, chad scott, april coble, mark shaw, and others go. And then there are those that feel age is age, if you are 60 and run 3 @ 41, then you should not have to ever ski against a 35 year old.

    So you take all this in and now try to form some criteria that works for it all.....and I think we are finding that to be a challenge. Slalom has great #'s, so setting a % works across the board there works out pretty good, but try and do that in tricks, jump, and overall, and this barrier starts to grab skiers that don't quite seem like they should be forced.

    You will always have a gap in scores in our sport, we just don't have the #'s to make the competition close enough. You can get into Nationals in W1 tricking 1,063, then you need 6,000 to win it, but force them up and now they need 10,000 to win it. The spread is huge, this is where ability based skiing across the board would help but I'm not sure our membership will ever get away from the tradition we have of age based divisions.

    Other sports have the #'s and can afford to break ability and age together, which is the perfect scenario, but god knows we have too many divisions as it is now. Just do the math, 32 divisions, 3,000 competitors across the nation, that's 100 per division on average across the whole nation. Pretty hard to make local events competitive that way!

    So what's a pro? Are masters considered on that same level? What is the proper score to be forced? All debatable and very different answers. It's a fine line between a good age division skier and a pro.

    If I had to edit 2 things to L10 just based on the feedback from members, it would be 2 things....

    1) The rating score for L10 should be set at a score that makes everyone say "yep you are elite and you belong in open/masters and then get rid of the 5 minimum rule. WT at 5690, although good, does not tell me...go pro.

    2) Perhaps M5/W5 and up should not be forced.

    Not sure if you guys have seen the list of L10 skiers but we have posted it here.

    Just giving a little background on L10 as I see it from being involved in it daily.

    There will be an announcement on the state of L10 within a week from the AWSA Board.

    Feedback always welcome and I'm happy to answer anymore questions.

    BTW, this rule passed with as many votes as any other of the rules that passed, 18 affirmative votes. 25 total can vote, but no other vote had more than 18 so although I can not say it was unanimous it certainly had as much support as anything else on the agenda.

    AWSA President
  • Chad_ScottChad_Scott Posts: 553 Open or Level 9 Skier
    @JeffSurdej While I do not agree with Level 10 either for several reasons. I do not think it should have been implemented in the middle of a season. And since this season began in August, change to a rule should be for the following season. The NFL rules committee does not implement new rules during week 8 of the season.

    While I agree someone 60 should not have to ski against a 35 year old. If you set the cutoff based on performance as you have. I don't see how you can then allow someone to opt out of it now due to age. It's either based on performance or it's not. If men's 5 is skiing 34mph and reaching the performance as set forth then what logic would keep them out.

    I remember when the men's 3/4/5 titles were prestigious. Now suddenly we have decided to make it a 2nd tier national championship. While I chose to ski MM after I won a Men's 3 championship. I should be allowed that option as long as we are divided into age divisions.

    Seems like soon we will want a level 11 so people won't have to ski against Nate. It is a National Championship after all. It should be the best that win. Not those who just can't beat the guys in their own age divisions.

    As for Open skiing in Age division. AWSA could stand up to IWSF and allow sponsored open skiers to ski their boats at record events. Would solve the problem of open skiers skiing in their age divisions
  • JeffSurdejJeffSurdej Posts: 682 USAWS Official
    @Chad_Scott I too agree, ability is ability, no matter the age, which is why I think juniors should have been included. As for the middle of the season, good point, odds are this will now not take effect until ski year 2018 anyways so it might work out. With our rules always meeting in winter I think we run into a lot of mid year changes. So let me ask you this, I do agree with you that the m3-4-5 titles have taken a back seat due to MM, so what is the point of MM, why even have it? I feel like the reason for it in the beginning is no longer the reason skiers ski in it now. I just don't think its good to have an ability based division, which is what Masters and open but have no rules rules around where you must ski, I doubt any other sports have such optional criteria.
    AWSA President
  • Chad_ScottChad_Scott Posts: 553 Open or Level 9 Skier
    Make MM another speed 57k
  • Chad_ScottChad_Scott Posts: 553 Open or Level 9 Skier
    or the nearest equivalent to 35mph. Will give other former pros a place to go. Most of the open skiers don't want to ski their divisions. They do it because of boats which should be addressed. If they are on the elite rankings list don't allow in age division.
  • Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 1,818 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    @JeffSurdej, thanks for posting and explaining. Like I said, I have mixed feelings on this rule, but the real issue is how it was arrived at and why.

    For reference I bounced back and forth between my age division, OM and MM for many years and the arguments were the same back then. There were several years where I was the only entry in MM at South Central Regionals, but I thought it was a good idea and wanted to support it. It sucks getting old and my buoy count isn’t where it use to be, so its not an issue for me anymore, but I still have that perspective and opinions.

    It really comes down to what is the problem you/we/USAWS are trying to solve?

    Looking at the list, I don’t see any OM slalom who have skied their age division at Nationals in the last several years, or would likely plan to, so OM slalom is not really an issue. Outside of MM slalom, you can probably count on one hand the number of skiers being forced up who wouldn’t ski Open/Masters, so I don’t buy that as the problem at hand.

    So can we dispense with the superfluous arguments about Nate and Jeff Rodgers and agree that this is strictly a MM slalom issue?

    Again, looking at the MM slalom list, most have consistently skied MM for the last several years. The ones who did ski M3/M4 may have placed, but certainly didn’t run away with medals the way Chuck Forrest did in his heyday. Doesn’t this boil down to some number of influential people wanting to thin out the top ranks of M3/M4/M5? If that really is the issue, we should have an adult discussion about it and not confuse it with 16 yo world record holders.

    FWIW, I think moving toward ability based divisions would be a good thing, but understand the conundrum our organization faces in simply not having sufficient numbers. A better approach would be to create an incentive and make it very prestigious to qualify and be able to compete in Open/masters divisions instead of forcing it. You want the same level of enthusiasm that the first time Nationals qualifier has (I GET TO GO TO NATIONALS!!!!) instilled for the higher end skiers (I QUALIFIED FOR OPEN/MASTERS AND I GET TO COMPETE AT AN ELITE LEVEL!!!!) Sorry I don’t have any specific ideas how to achieve it, just that is where we should try to go.

    Bottom line is that the membership perception generated is that this was a shotgun solution to a very narrow issue.
    I'm Ancient. WTH do I know?
  • A_BA_B Posts: 4,294 Mega Baller
    I guess it depends on how you want to reward skill and success. Kind of like creating a loser bracket and having a champion of the loser bracket. I see no reason to force someone who puts in the work year round, and is successful, to ski in a different bracket just because they have achieved success. If you win M3 slalom, and the best skiers from M3 are up in MM, are you really the best M3 skier in the Nation? I thought that was what the Nationals was for?
  • Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 3,124 Mega Baller
    edited May 2017
    Plane and simple this is a lop sided affair. Slalom justification level 10 aligns with the top 20 of world rankings in most all division's however jump and tricks does not! AGAIN how does an organization justify mandating a 5'6" 195' jumper ski against a 6' pro men 225' jumper? where is the fairness in this? If the mandate was more in line with world rankings then it would be more palatable.

    @JeffSurdej "Do I think it's going to change the sport or increase membership/retention? not that much."
    Your mandate was to increase membership! in your own words you seem to reflect that this level 10 is not going to help with the membership mandate! Why would our fearless leader get behind a idea that was not going to increase membership positively ?

    Why is this being implemented half way through the 2017 season? could this not be implemented at the start of the 2018 season the day after nationals? NO! Why? because @JeffSurdej you know that it will be repealed starting at the regional level as membership see's the holes in the system and the unfairness of this mess!

    Hopefully the board packet will be made available soon and not two weeks in front of regional meetings! we are now 8 weeks away from regional meetings, have not seen any thing up on USA waterski web site for membership to read and ingest and make itellegent decisions! Oh wait that is not the style of AWSA leadership! ambush tactics seem to be the Method operand!

    Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.

  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,575 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited May 2017
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Chairman of the Board
    AWSA Southern Region EVP
  • Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 3,124 Mega Baller
    @klindy thanks but that is the minutes from the meeting and not a board packet!
    Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.

  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,575 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    You are right!
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Chairman of the Board
    AWSA Southern Region EVP
  • JeffSurdejJeffSurdej Posts: 682 USAWS Official
    @klindy all good points, We have found a new rankings volunteer that is going to be able to take on these type project in the near future. I am very excited about this.

    @Bruce_Butterfield you asked a very simply and perfect question....It really comes down to what is the problem you/we/USAWS are trying to solve? Wow that's a loaded question :) and not sure its really one answer. As you said we don't have a huge issue at Nationals, although what you don't see is how many people don't return to Nationals or get a bad taste in their mouth when they feel there is sandbagging. I got some pretty negative feedback last year when April Skied W3, got the same in 2014 when Cale Burdick skied M2S, Ellis jumping M2 back in Houston, and who knows how many G3 trickers don't go to Nationals after they see Erika and Anna tricking. (I'm just stating the feedback here that's all) just as I'm getting negative feedback from those forced into L10 now I got the same negative feedback from those on the other side of the fence).

    But it is perception, I certainly think nationals should be the best of the best and if age is our current divisions structure then let the best win. But when you create open and you create masters and you watch skiers ski professionally and enter big dawg all year and then "drop down" at nationals, it does send a bad taste in the non-top of our membership, a group we continue to not worry about and watch leave our organization by the dozens. Will this solve that though, we don't know until we try. I don't agree with the notion of doing this to make sure a division is won by the division 2 guy so to speak, part of the issue is the going back and forth. You can't let someone win masters and then ski in age division at Nationals, it's not only bad for the general membership but I argue its terrible for us trying to promote pro skiing. Are they pro or not?

    Going back to your question again, the other half is the rankings part, rankings for most our members is what they are after weekend after weekend, so we also make a bad impression on our membership when we let Nate Smith receive a m2 rankings champion certificate. Now I do realize this can be solved without a forcing of L10.

    There are other factors in our rule book that we have passed that also complicate this ability to solve this problem (if it is a problem), we continue to say there is no distinction between pro and amateur, and we allow age division records to be set by anyone.

    Throw all this together and its a tough call, all I can say is this is not the main focus of my agenda by any means, we have a lot of great things in the works, whichever way L10 goes I am fine with b/c there are bigger and better things to spend our time on.

    I suggest you make your voice heard to your regions, this is an option every members has no matter when the board packet comes out. L10 was proposed in 2016, voted down b/c it had juniors, so we took juniors out and it passed. This should not have been an ambush on any level.

    I thought the membership feedback on ZBS was great and I can promise you we will do more of that in the future when game changing rules or changes are proposed. And we will try to get packets out sooner but sometimes that is just not feasible. All of us are volunteers with very limited extra time to dedicate trying to run AWSA, putting together a 140 page board packet from many committees takes time.
    AWSA President
  • BoozeBooze Posts: 431 Crazy Baller
    @JeffSurdej - "But when you create...masters and you watch skiers...enter big dawg all year and then "drop down" at nationals, it does send a bad taste in the non-top of our membership, a group we continue to not worry about and watch leave our organization by the dozens" - I concur. I've seen it numerous times at Regionals and Nationals.

    I also agree with - "don't think its good to have an ability based division, which is what Masters and open but have no rules around where you must ski, I doubt any other sports have such optional criteria."

    Can someone restate what the original purpose/point/goal of MM was?

    I admit I could possibly be be biased. It's been a bit discouraging going to Reg or Nats and thinking if I bust out a good score, for me, I may have a chance to place....then see guys on the running order that had Big-Dawged that year.

  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,846 Mega Baller
    I now present the entire, unabridged list of reasons that Nate Smith would beat me in any slalom round at any point in my entire life:

    1. He is a WAY better slalom skier than I am.

    I am pretty baffled by talk of unfair competition. Nate doesn't beat me because someone wrote "Pro" next to his name. On the contrary, he is a pro because he beats everyone (least of all, but including, me).

    He's not taking steroids or using a Dr. Jim rope. He's just skiing better than us. The best person following the rules and winning is exactly what it means to be fair.

    If we want to have some ability-restricted divisions or events for the camaraderie and entertainment of trying to beat your buddies, then GREAT! But that has nothing to do with fairness.

    As a final note, I repeat what I've said about 20 times on this general topic:
    Nobody should ever have a choice of division. I don't care it we use ability groups, and/or age groups, and/or gender groups, or even a special group for skiers who have 5-letter last names and first name start with N-A-T. But it should always be well-defined, for any given event, what division a skier skis in.
    Choice can only lead to hard feelings AND make it harder to understand what winning means.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
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