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Level 10 / Open / Masters and Regionals and Nationals

HortonHorton Posts: 28,774 Administrator
edited August 2017 in Rules/Politics/Issues
This Spring I was joking around with @Dirt about how I was going to beat him in tricks at Regionals. It got me thinking and I thought that I could compete for the win in M4 tricks at Regionals. It was going to be fun to get on the dock with the guys I skied against when I was a kid. If I skied bad I thought McNerney or @Dirt would win and I could laugh at my failure and if I skied good I could win. It would be a competition. I actually practiced my tricks for the first time in 25 years.

My dream of Regional Gold was based on the assumption that Forrest Fisher would ski MM or Open. Yes, we all know assumptions are stupid things. Forrest is clearly be best M4 tricker in the west and at Regionals he did trick almost exactly double my score.

To be clear, Forrest deserves the Gold. I have no issue with his win. If he had skied in MM or Open and I had won it would have been fun but only because the best skier in the division was not there. Yes, I am a little conflicted.

My aggravation is with the fact that Forrest was allowed to choose his division. My aggravation has got to be only a fraction of the guys at the top of M3 /M4 /M5 slalom who wonder every year who will ski MM and who will ski their age division. The same goes for M1 & M2 wondering who will or will not ski Open.

The solution? I prefer that everyone ski their age division at Regionals and Nationals. Yes Everyone. Why should any competitor show up to a major event and wonder who will ski in what division? Forrest Fisher for Western Regional Tricks and Nate Smith for National Slalom. That way the rest of us really know where we stand.

To me the current state is 1/2 way between ability based and age divisions. I say we would be better off one way or another.
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  • MillerTime38MillerTime38 Posts: 373 Crazy Baller
    @Horton especially when you look at how many skiers in MM/MW registered for nationals. 7 MM slalom 2 trickers and 0 jumpers MW 2 slalom 0 trick and 0 jump.....granted there is still a day to register, but can we get rid of these already?
  • RazorRoss3RazorRoss3 Posts: 1,355 Mega Baller
    Considering we already have what you would call a pro tour where you see these guys against each other I would agree with you that regionals and nationals don't need an elite division and all skiers should simply ski division. My only addendum to that would be that in the interest of, well, more interest, it is not the worst thing in the world to allow those "elite" divisions for the sole purpose of letting the little guys have a real look at the podium even if it is a little watered down. It probably doesn't matter, the people who are "next in line" were likely going to ski nationals and continue to participate in the sport regardless of if the elites in their age group were skiing age group or not but it is something to think about. I agree with you that if the elite divisions are kept or not, that the ability to choose should likely go out the door. You shouldn't be choosing to be the best or the worst or the worst of the best, you should compete where you belong.
  • BoozeBooze Posts: 402 Crazy Baller
    My opinion is skewed. I'm not a fan of the flipflop option BUT I don't want to ski against Chet, Jeff, and the Boys either when I'm trying to simply trying to place. Once I feel like doing that I'll bump up to MM (as if I could....what's the minimum for MM?)
  • Texas6Texas6 Posts: 2,197
    Watching @Chad_Scott stroke that 39 1/2 at regionals was absolutely fantastic
    Daryn Dean - Lakes of Katy, TX
    ***Robbed out of Hundreds of Panda Worthy Posts***
    [Deleted User]
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,975 Infinite Pandas
    As one of the two MM signed up for Nationals, the system is flawed. I want someone to ski with. The level 10 rule would have fixed it but was rescinded. Instead, the promised big division dwindled.

    It gets worse, Kirk skied Open tricks. Since he wanted a M1 overall, he had to ski M1 tricks for no placement. OK, but he had to pay another entry fee!!?

    Age divisions have rather arbitrary age cutoffs. Open has no cutoff and Masters has just one. Narrows down the "who's the best" question. The age divisions are fun and worthy competition. How do we make it work?

    I propose waiving the entry fees for the elite divisions. These skiers are a draw that will attract spectators. They have worked hard to earn the rating and should be rewarded, not punished. Maybe free AWSA membership to those that choose to ski Open or Masters.

    Not many skiers can't afford the fees and entry. But it would be an appropriate token of recognition. We should try to keep our best skiers engaged.

    @Horton isn't far from a MM qualification. I'd love to see him try for it. A M4 title would be a good stepping stone.

    The Open and Masters divisions are the true competition @Horton seeks. The age divisions are the fun competitions that build the base and develop the skier talent. We need both and we need both working.


    PS @Dirt deserves special recognition for skiing up from Masters to Open
  • dave2balldave2ball Posts: 672 Crazy Baller
    MM creates an issue with M3/M4/M5. If USA waterski wants to increase participation in the sport it would not make sense to due away with MM. I don't see too many skiers flying 3000 miles to get beat by a MM who decided to ski in his own division. Maybe MM should bump the speed to 35 mph and make it more challenging and more prestigious.
    This has been an ongoing issue for years. One of 2 things have to happen. If you are MM you must ski MM. Or due away with the division all together.
  • MrJonesMrJones Posts: 1,786 Mega Baller
    We discussed this at length at Regionals. I agree that MM needs to go away. It does dilute M3-5 which have traditionally been some of the most competitive and anticipated divisions at nationals. I agree that when Chuck was in M3 it was the most exciting division going and he absolutely dominated for a decade. Jeff Rodgers and I are the same age. It's tough luck, but you will for sure know where you stand.

    I do also agree with Chet's suggestion that we adopt the rule that you can continue to ski at a higher max speed by staying in a division after you would have otherwise aged out. I did all of my practice and tournament skiing, except for Regionals and Nationals, at 36 until I was past 40 years old. (It is still chick speed you know...)
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,975 Infinite Pandas
    @MrJones , @Chad_Scott Wait a couple years. M6 skiers, Don, Stan (healthy) and I have a thousand points on every MM aged skier except Forrest (Open qualified sandbagger) in the west (Brandy Nagle is there as well but she skis Open). @Horton , @Dirt and a couple others might be competitive with us if they worked at it (please do!). Take away MM and the only competition is amongst grey haired guys with titanium parts in a has been division. At least anyone over 35 could take a crack at us by qualifying for MM ( @Horton thought about it this year - or at least talked the sh*t with me on the starting dock - before I kicked his ..score - by skiing the fine run I needed to beat him. This informal fun competition keeps us in this non paying sport).

    It absolutely sucks to be the only skier in a division. Even when you win... The system is flawed now. Make it mandatory so at least the elite divisions have a few skiers. Make the rules stable so planning can happen in advance - not when the schedule comes and people decide what group to ski in based on when you ski. And put the elites on the best days not Tuesday at 7:30 am (not this year, thanks, but it has happened in the past). Maybe offer additional elite qualification paths - win your division and you get to ski again. It can work but the skiers have to be a part of it.

    The speed issue in slalom (that MM can solve) is a disaster. AWSA age speeds do not line up with IWWF speeds. Skiers should be skiing at the IWWF speeds so their scores carry across and give them credit in AWSA. That's a ZBS scoring problem that needs to be addressed and worked into the Masters division. Don't create an orphan division with 35mph.

    It seems like a complex problem -but it's not. Just ski elite when you qualify. Sandbaggers suck but should not drive our sport. It is an honor to ski Masters (or Open) and I will do so as long as I can - proudly!


    Apologies to my friend Forrest for coming down on you personally. The rules let you do it and you should ski what fits best for you. I was looking forward to skiing against you in MM until they changed the rules - and the schedules came out. Next year? After a rule change?
  • LLUSALLUSA Posts: 283 Crazy Baller
    @Chad Scott as for someone that skied against Chuck, get rid of MM and let the best win. Everything in sports is measured against the best not an almost best.
    LLUSA, Sr Driver, AWSA Board of Directors, Towboat Committee,Lake Owner
  • TriplettTriplett Posts: 209 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    edited August 2017
    I have skied my age division when I have had an Open rating and even after I have competed in professional events. On the national level I would never enter an event if it wasn't going to be competitive, and I am sure there are others that feel the same way. If I would have skied regionals this year at my average, it would have been the same as Chad, but on the national level I would have been competitive (in M2). Without a requirement to be in your elite division it will always up the scores and the level of competition. This is OK but when guys are competing in professional events (Big Dog, Malibu, etc.) I am not sure it remains an amateur competition for the age divisions.

    That being said, we need to decide if we want to have an elite division or not. Having it there as a choice will never work, people will do what I have done and select based on what everyone else is doing. Forcing to ski elite is not watering down the sport so everyone gets a trophy. It is simply separating those of us that have the ability to make money from the sport, which any elite has the opportunity to, and those that are truly amateurs.
    Brent Triplett - Michigan
  • Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 2,901 Mega Baller
    Please be reminded That our sport sanctioning body does not recognize A professional Status in our sport.

    Level 10 and it's associated Mandates needs to go away and not be implemented and also Rescinded and our leadership needs go back to the drawing board and find other avenues to approach this perceived problem (Sandbagging).
    Funny as usual in our sport our leadership makes more rules that will enhance a group of skiers, yet turn a blind eye on those that these rules affect negatively.
    One of my questions is: did any body (fearless leader) reach out to those that the level 10 will or could affect? Absolutely not! Those affected skiers should have had just as much a say and opinion as those that whined and complained before a decision to proceed was implemented.

    No mater what any ideas of our sports competition division's you have it has become obvious that this level 10 mandate needs to be rescinded. please contact your regional director, State counsel, EVP or even the president of AWSA (Fearless leader) and let them know that this needs to go!
    A petition will be available on site at the nationals, please by all means if you are presented as a member and agree that this level 10 is not a good direction for the sport sign this petition. If enough signatures are obtained it will be presented at the national membership meeting and I encourage all those that are affected be at that membership meeting as no one asked you what your opinion or direction was on all this !
    Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.

    Bruce_Butterfield[Deleted User]
  • Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 1,634 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    edited August 2017
    @Jody_Seal I'll be hunting you down with pen in hand.

    I also had some lengthy discussions with our Regional leadership at Regionals and for the most part, no one really cared about those adversely affected. Several of them had the attitude that we would try it for a year and see how it works, or if some are adversely affected, that's the breaks - they have to do "something" about all this sandbagging. They had the deer in the headlights look when I made a wager that the "sandbagging" will actually increase with the new rule. Totally clueless about the adverse consequences and didn't seem to care.
    I'm Ancient. WTH do I know?
  • dave2balldave2ball Posts: 672 Crazy Baller
    @Jody_Seal I agree with you on a lot of points you have brought up today and in the past. I Don't have enough information to say weather or not level 10 should be done away with or made a mandatory class you must ski in. I do know that the nationals were at one time many years ago a very prestigious event to go to. Getting an EP something to be proud of. USA waterski has watered down the nationals when the numbers started to drop in M3/4/5. And the kids would not go because the parents were not qualified. So the EP's qualification dropped and nationals started to get watered down to where we are today.
    Why don't we due away with level 10 and the performance levels. Reenstate the EP and raise them to an appropriate level. Make the nationals worth something vs. just another tournament. Bring the big dawg finals during the week and also the US open as it was in the past. Something has to be done. This is a circus act that has been going round and round for years.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,989 Mega Baller
    I don't see how it is sandbagging at Nationals particularly for those that ski 34 mph. To me it is about finding the best skier in the age group. I can see having Open Men's for professional 36 mph skiers but I don't think anyone skiing 34 mph falls in that category.

    It is different than a sandbagger in golf who is generally using an inflated handicap to win competition where there is some money on the line whether it be $20 in a weekend match or more in a member guest.

    If it were ability based like INT then I guess I could see sandbagging being an issue.
    Mark Shaffer
  • Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 1,634 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    @Chef23 thats right, but that is the argument being put forth by a small group at usaws. A very bogus argument IMO.
    I'm Ancient. WTH do I know?
  • IlivetoskiIlivetoski Posts: 1,186 Crazy Baller
    The difference is you don't really need to sandbag in this sport... If I am OM and decide I want to ski against easier competition in M1, all I have to do is check a box on my registration and I can be a mid 41 off skier skiing against 32 and 35 off skiers
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,975 Infinite Pandas
    Why are there only 3 Open trickers when at least the top 5 M1 are Open rated? What is really happening if not sandbagging? Plus there are a bunch more in other age divisions. That should be a big healthy division. Something is wrong.

    Is mandatory the right solution? It does make sense. Ski the division you qualify for. Proudly.

    Are there other solutions? Maybe. Free entries, free memberships or some recognition to the Open skiers. Giving consideration to the age division overall - not a disadvantage and additional fee. Allowing age division records from any class of competition. Showcasing the Open skiers at the best times of the tournament.

    If someone qualifies for Open and skis age division, I look down on them as sandbaggers. The sandbagging has been going on so long that some claim that the competition is better in age division. That wouldn't happen if people skied where they qualify.

    Why does the low Open qualifier deserve a National title. If you can't beat Nate or Adam or Freddy, you aren't the best. Get better!

    No way are the best skiers age division skiers.

  • MrJonesMrJones Posts: 1,786 Mega Baller
    "If you can't beat Nate, Adam, or Freddy, you aren't the best. Get better!"

    ....Isn't that an argument to get rid of all divisions and have a best women's skier and a best men's skier?

    Wouldn't getting rid of level 9 make it a least a level playing field among an age cohort?
  • GKGK Posts: 138 Baller
    "Showcasing the Open skiers at the best times of the tournament." That's the best point in this discussion. Shouldn't the open and master skiers be showcased each evening? Wouldn't this be something that a host site could promote and get spectators on site? If people knew that the best skiers in the country were going off the dock at 6:00 every night then that seems like something you could promote as a "show". Make sure the food and beer trucks are on site too! Make the event prestigious and people who are qualified will want to ski in it.
    Greg Kuenning - Cincinnati, OH
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,975 Infinite Pandas
    @MrJones Open transcends everything. The Masters divisions recognize the real effects of age but are essentially an Open for the older skiers who have enforced segregation due to speed.

    If Level 9 is the qualification cutoff, it should be mandatory too. Details like how to deal with declining performances need to be addressed. How does one get dropped from Open or Masters? Maybe that is the Level 9 use - you're not qualified any more but you can still stay in?

    A tournament for the rest is worthwhile. Divisions are fun to compete in. That overall doesn't go smoothly with mixed divisions needs to be addressed (it is, sort of, with the new rule). Have fun with where you end up.

    Kirk is going to Nationals - just to ski Open. Participation in elite divisions is a draw.

  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,975 Infinite Pandas
    edited August 2017
    I went to last night's AWSA general meeting. Lots of talk about the L10 rule. It will be in effect for a year. Maybe I'll have a full division next year - if I can keep my qualification. Skiing MM is a great honor for me.

    The rule is far from perfect. One factor I hadn't considered was the ramp height and speed differences between the elite and age divisions in jump. A separate Open division? MM entry for 5.5 youngsters? I feel bad for those caught in that situation and hope for a good solution.

    There is work that needs to happen still. The rule is here, let's work together to make it right for the skiers.

  • HortonHorton Posts: 28,774 Administrator
    @eleeski if L10 had been the rule this year at Regionals I would have won tricks even though Fisher is the best M4 skier in the region and you would have gotten second in MM. It all becomes meaningless.
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  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,975 Infinite Pandas
    I was lurking by the scoring trailer waiting for my scores. Darren has beaten me in close calls in the past and we were closer than the scores might suggest. I didn't have to do that at Regionals. I would not have had to do that in my age division. Having relevant competition makes it interesting. Thanks to Darren for respecting his skills and the division to join me.

    The Open tricks was really fun for those who opted in. I'm pretty sure at least a couple were bummed about not playing the Open game. Kudos to Nationals registration and officials for making it work for them. There was an Open division and the skiers enjoyed it.

    @Horton WTF? Meaningless? Do you think I ski for a medal? It's just fun. And the challenge is fun. I'm skiing a crappy easy stand up run (and still falling). Having Forrest to shoot for will step up my game. Bring it on!

    Kirk was writing an article about the colera epidemic in Yemen between rides today. Compared to that, all of our recreation maybe is meaningless. But the games we play have a real effect on our happiness (and well being). It's important that they are enjoyable and rewarding. It's worth giving this rule a try.

  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 2,698 Mega Baller
    I am proud to point out that no M6 skiers entered either MM or Open, and I had to ski against the best. On the other hand, had only seven specific guys in fact skied MM or Open, the four guys and I that tied for eighth would have all made the podium. So, like @Horton, I'm conflicted. ;-)
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
  • MillerTime38MillerTime38 Posts: 373 Crazy Baller
    @lpskier I only see one M6 guy on the rankings list with a MM/OM rating?

    Would the level 10 rule effect M6 and above?
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,975 Infinite Pandas
    @MillerTime38 and @lpskier The best skiers are trickers! You are in the wrong event!

    MM tricks at Nationals has been won for the last few years by M6. M6 are definitely part of the rule.

  • dave2balldave2ball Posts: 672 Crazy Baller
    Ahhhhh dam.
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