Powervest in Big Dawg

BoneHeadBoneHead Posts: 5,999
edited June 2010 in Other Stuff
I realize this might be opening a big ol can of worms. But after the Big Dawg this past weekend, this has been stuck in my craw.   But what is everyone's thought on the PowerVest in tournament usage? The reason I ask is that I spent most of the day and evening Saturday in the tower.  I watched a LOT of skiers, watched a lot of boat paths, and listened to Tyler Boyd and Charles Mueller flap their gums a whole lot. LOL. During the evening events Dave and Dawn Goode were up there, too. I think Jeff Milford, you were there, but it didn't register who you were until the next day. Had I realized it, I would have introduced myself.  Anyways, one of the things that Dave said when he was talking over the PA with Charles about the powervest was that he has it set up to take 75% of the load and it allows him to make 20-24 passes in a set in practice.  At the time I didn't really think about it. But the next day during the sweet 16, Bruce Dodd had to ski a lot. He was in the semi finals and had to ski deep into 39 to advance. Immeadiately, he was pulled back to the dock and had to get ready to ski against Todd Johnson in the finals. He's lucky if he had 5 minutes to rest. That's when I realized that not only is the Big Dawg(or any heads up slalom event) about skiing, but it's about endurance.  For someone to reach the finals, they'd have to ski 4 times in around 3-4 hours. And if a device is used that would increase endurance in practice, it only makes sense that it increases endurance in a tournament round too. So how would I feel if a competitor, wearing what the manufacturer claimed in front of hundreds of people was an endurance enhancing device,  beat me in a round? Personally, I wouldn't like it very much.  Jeff, I know you use the powervest and I'm not meaning to single you out or offend you in any way. But is everyone really ok with this?  I never really gave it a lot of thought before hearing Dave speak about it, but the more I think about it, the less I'm ok with it. 
Shane "Crash" Hill



  • Thomas WayneThomas Wayne Posts: 550 New Baller
    As long as a piece of equipment - ANY piece - meets AWSA specs (or is not forbidden by AWSA rules) I don't see why it wouldn't be perfectly fair and legal to use in a tournament.  Certainly the MasterLine Pro-Lock gloves give a grip advantage, and no one has a problem with those.

    The Goode Powervest  is available to all skiers on an open market, which means if you believe it's an advantage to use one then you are as welcome to do so as anyone else.  If it were denied you (or any other competitor) and only available to Jeff Milford (or whoever) then that might be a different story.

    Mind you, I've never tried a Goode Powervest, and have no idea if it lives up to its advertised benefits or not, but I don't think you can consider it unfair, since anyone is free to use one.

  • MrJonesMrJones Posts: 1,749 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    I have thought about this a good deal in the last year or two. Here is what I have come up with.

     As a very traditional and conservative guy who is also a physical therapist I do not believe the powervest should be allowed in competition. The reasoning is this. Say you have two skiers of equal physical skill, technique, and mental toughness competing against each other. Given that any skier at this level is reasonably fit, one has put in 50% more time in the gym/offwater developing core stability and general strength and endurance than the other guy. My feeling is that this work should earn that skier an advantage, especially in competition where endurance is a factor. (I am not saying it is cheating. There is no rule against it. Just my belief about how it "should" be)

    On the other hand. I had back surgery 4 years ago and still struggle with being able to ski (and work, and pick up my kids) due to recurrent episodes of  pain. I own a private lake and have a wife who skis along with young children who are getting into skiing. There is a strong possibility that in the future I may be a "powervest" user to to allow me to still participate in the sport I love spending time with family, friends, etc.

    Life is full of decisions/opinions that are not so clear cut...   
  • dislanddisland Posts: 1,253 Mega Baller
    That ridiculous, are you going to outlaw carbon skis, adjustbale fins, hard shell binders, how about jump slings. Maybe we should all ski on wood skis, on the atlantic ocean with manual driving so no one is excluded
    Dave Island- Princeton Lakes
  • 94009400 Posts: 585 Crazy Baller
    I see both sides of the argument, I feel strongly the way Shane does...but also agree with Thomas and Scot.

    Shane, how many people were using it?  Was Jeff the only one?
  • BoneHeadBoneHead Posts: 5,999
    Dave mentioned that 20% of the top 16 had them. So I would assume there were 3 in the finals.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • ski6jonesski6jones Posts: 891 Crazy Baller
    Yet the winner was NOT wearing one.

    I think it provides an unfair advantage, even though it is allowed by the rules.

    Use it in practice, ski tournaments without it.
    Carl Addington, Lakes of Katy, Texas
  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,300 Crazy Baller
    I have to agree with Thomas.  It's a piece of equipment that's available to everyone.  I don't have one and don't plan on buying one but I won't complain if someone skis better and/or longer than me while wearing a PowerVest.  Having said that, I have a hard time believing that it can be that much of an advantage.
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
  • MrJonesMrJones Posts: 1,749 Open or 55K Rated Skier

    Carbon skis, adjustable bindings, and hard shell bindings are differnt arguments in my opinion. Now I can see the jump sling being a much more direct comparison that I had not previously thought of. It is a piece of equipement that  skiers wears to decrease fatigue and improve resistance to pull from the boat. With it as a precedent I guess the power vest would be very similar in the slalom event.

    That is why these discussions are good to have.
  • slowslow Posts: 343 Solid Baller
    Outlaw the power vest and clinchers. We don't need the crutches in the sport.
  • Ed_JohnsonEd_Johnson Posts: 1,978
    It is disturbing that the people complaining about the Powervest have never skied with one. I have owned one that I bought at Nationals last year and used it only 5 times. The first time I tried it I ran 24 passes. Yes, it does improve endurance but I only view it as a training aid and would never use it in a Tournament. It simply feels a little cumbersome and slightly restricts angulation. It is great if you suffer from back pain and still want to ski. It would probably benefit Old School style skiers better than New School.

    As far as banning it, you can't ban something that is available to EVERYONE. In fact, if anyone wants one I will sell them mine XL for only $375. It is in New condition and only used 5 times and has been hanging in my closet for months.

    Bottom line is while I can ski LONGER with it, I can ski BETTER without it.

    Best Regards,   ED
    Loving the new ZO Rev. S Plus Mode C3+
  • MrJonesMrJones Posts: 1,749 Open or 55K Rated Skier

    I broke my ankle 6 weeks ago. Unfortunately crutches are frequently needed in (or because of) our sport!
  • BoneHeadBoneHead Posts: 5,999
    Scot, I think most people would consider a jump sling a safety item too.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • DWDW Posts: 1,945 Mega Baller
    This discussion should get very interesting when a new record is set with one.
  • skidawgskidawg Posts: 3,238 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    As a retired jumper the comparison between PV (power vest) and jump sling doesn't correlate.  It is a safety item, jumping without a sling (for any distance) would be very unsafe.  Now jump on this comment how ever u dogs may?   ;-)
    Mr. Mom is Horton's favorite movie!
  • skidawgskidawg Posts: 3,238 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    Personal opinion about the PV, looks to me like it allows a skier to use less technique and get away with holding on to big hits and keep skiing,  Not really what I am chasing when I ski ( I personally like that feel you get when you do it right).
    Mr. Mom is Horton's favorite movie!
  • Jim NeelyJim Neely Posts: 291 Baller
    Good discussion
    68" Vapor
  • HO 410HO 410 Posts: 351 Baller
    I don't think the effects on endurance are insignificant, but it does not seem that it would provide the same kind of increase in performance that something like a bench press shirt would. (This might not be a great example because I think the unassisted bench record is something like 40% lighter)


    Nikon D80, 50mm f 1.8, Tokina 12-24mm... Sorry, wrong forum. Josh T.
  • MilfordMilford Posts: 88 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    I agree with TW.  The powervest is available to everyone, so if you feel it gives a competitive advantage, you should try one.  I have personally been using the vest for over 2 years and it has allowed me to ski pain free, as I had lower back surgery 5 years ago that did not completely fix my herniated disc.  The powervest has been designed to give skiers with back injuries an option to help alleviate some of the pressure on your back.  Similar to other products on the market, such as back braces, clincher style gloves,  and knee braces, the powervest is there to help, but does not fix the problem.  I have witnessed many skiers try the powervest that do not feel it is an advantage.  It really comes down to personal preference and choices.  The skiers that are using the vest seem to have suffered from some sort of injury mainly to the forearms, shoulders or back.  These are the skiers that realize the benefit as they are forced to explore all options.  In a sport that is aging and back problems are a real concern, I am a huge supporter of this vest and will continue to use it as I have personally experienced how much pain back problems can cause.  I have 3 children who are getting into the sport and as they progress, I will strongly urge them to consider wearing such a vest, so they don’t have to go through all of the pain/surgery/rehab and stress that a injured back can cause. Before you get to worked up and think the vest is a competitive advantage, I would urge everyone to set their ego aside and try one.  You may find that the guy skiing with the vest has a significant disadvantage.
  • 94009400 Posts: 585 Crazy Baller
    Jeff, thanks for your insight and your story. I have to admit I'm very ignorant of the PV. Do you feel there is any technique enhancing value or is it something that distributes the load when you're in the right position? I thought Ed had an interesting take on this from someone who has tried it but did not need it. Jeff, I guess my real question is ...if you did not have back trouble would you still use it and why?  Thanks again
  • MilfordMilford Posts: 88 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    That is a difficult question.   The bottom line is you have to ski correctly and do all of the things you would normally do to ski well. The vest does not make you a better skier.   If you change your style because of the vest, then your scores will drop significantly.  The vest is there as an insurance policy if you need it.  If you are running the vest to tight, it is difficult to get free of the boat and wide on the buoy.  So to answer your question, I probably would not have considered it pre-back surgery, but now that I have used it, I really like the way I feel.  Everyone that I ski with that has started using the vest have not increased their scores, however, they are pain free, which is a really big deal.  I normally ski 6-8 passes per set and am ready to come in, so for the guys that are running the vest so tight that they can ski 20+ passes, well I think that they are missing out on the true value of the vest and I don’t think any of you will have to worry about competing against those guys in a head to head finals.  I still hit the gym regularly, work on my core strength and operate as I would without the vest, as I do not want to injure myself and miss out on a season.  If you are healthy and don’t have any arm, shoulder or back issues, then the vest may not be for you.  It is a personal choice and is available to anyone who feels it will help them.
  • bmiller3536bmiller3536 Posts: 298 Baller
    I say ban the powervest in the Big Dawg competitions but allow in regular AWSA competition.


    Brad Miller
  • StevenSteven Posts: 307
    Thanks for the insight Jeff. On Fathers Day I injured my back pretty bad. I ended up bulging 2 discs in my lower back. It took 2 days for me to be able to get off the floor and has taken a full week to be able to walk un assisted. My fear now is that I'll never get to ski again. In the past 2 days I've seen some improvements and have been able to do some light stretching. I'll be seeing a therapist soon. But in your opinion, will the PV decrease the pressure enough to allow me to ski again (eventually)


    Steven Haines

  • Ed_JohnsonEd_Johnson Posts: 1,978

    I would say the main purpose of the vest would be to relieve back pain, since the load is transferred from your shoulders to your Center of Mass. It will also help you to keep a quiet upper body. Everything Jeff said is exactly correct and the only competitive advantage is it allows you to ski when you have physical problems that may otherwise prevent your participation. No 35 off skier is going to strap it on and go run 39. As I stated in my previous post I could ski LONGER but not BETTER. I do believe it would help you in your situation to ski when you otherwise could not.

    Hope This Helps,   ED
    Loving the new ZO Rev. S Plus Mode C3+
  • StevenSteven Posts: 307
    Thanks Ed,

    All I'm hoping for now is to be able to ski again. I think I'll be able to, but not for quite some time. I've pretty much written off the rest of the season.
  • MAD11MAD11 Posts: 577 Crazy Baller

    I would think the PV would be a great product to help you get back on the water and would be a smart thing to try. The question of if it should be allowed in a tournament is a different one. The Big Dawg is supposed to be about best skiers competing in an endurance event. The strongest physically and mentally will win that day. The vest takes out the endurance piece. I know when I tested the vest at nationals I was able to pull with almost twice the strength that I was able to achieve without it. When I tested one that a freind had I ran right up through 38 and didn't work at all. Pretty straight forward that it provides a significant mechanical advantage. Also I could hang on to stuff that no way could I have if I wasn't wearing it. We also saw this all weekend by the competitors using it. Don't agree with the comments about it not making some ski better. If that's the case than train in it all you want, but show up to money events and ski without it. I could care less about someone wearing it in a C tournament because they really don't matter at all. No way should someone show up to a record or a money/endurance event and be allowed to wear it. It's an unfair advantage that takes away from all the hard work and training that the others do.  It's a great story to think back to Mike Morgan winning the finals when he was totally exhausted and somehow reached down deep to answer the call and pull it out. Standing there Sunday the guys without the vest looked tired and stressed even though they were in top shape. The guys that were wearing the PV looked like they had hardly skied afterwards. Most sports have great training tools like this available that aren't allowed to be used in competition.  This should be seen no differently. Buy and train in it all you want, just don't try to take home money with it.
  • lakeolakeo Posts: 72 Baller
       I liken it to golf.Certain clubs and certain balls are not allowed. On the other had if you think of it as a safety issue then it certainly is as legit as a hockey helmet. Given that the sport is already so affluent (newest ski, newest speedcontrol etc. etc.) I'm inclined tosay what is one(or$500)more thing.
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,757 Mega Baller
    lakeo wrote, "Given that the sport is already so affluent..."    I've been thinking about this a lot lately.  I teach tons of beginners and some people who are just trying to get past 4 ball in the course.    They ask me if they should replace that 1984 Jobe ski.   I suggest a few intermediate models which now run about $200-400 new.   They are stopped dead in their tracks.   You can see their excitement about our sport pop like a bubble as their smile fades...    They kind of relent to a likelihood that they will just ski on the public lakes with their families and not really compete.  

    Yep, golf is expensive at the top level.  Snow skiing, too.   Little-league baseball is out of hand these days.   Fishing lures are $7 each.   Hmmm... maybe I need to ask for a raise at work...


    But I digress.   Back to the PV - great discussion!!!  Not yet formed an opinion...  Never had an opportunity to try it either.  I struggle with buying a new $100 normal vest.  (currently wearing an Outrageous vest bought at a garage sale for $5...)

    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • DirtDirt Posts: 1,564 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    edited June 2010
    I thought it was already banned. The Berkeley Wednesday night ski league banned it a while ago. I have never seen one, but I think you should have to use something like that in a special division. You have all probably seen the amputees that get carbon fiber lower legs and can sprint and jump much better than before.

    As for jump slings, the jump event is athlete against jump, in my opinion.

    6/30/2010 OWSA Open Lake - Glass City - 1 (10M129)

    Water Ski with our club behind competition boats and experienced skiers. All ability LVL from 2 ski beginners through beginner slalom course skiers.

    Liberty Center, OH

    YES  6/30/2010 NorCal MasterCraft Wed. Night Ski League - 5 (10W191)

    Handicap based scoring for nightly and season end prizes. The PowerVest is banned from this competition.

    Berkeley, CA YES  6/30/2010 Lowe Down Wed Nite 1 (10S091)

    2 Pulls PandC,   Slalom  2C , Trick  1C , Jump  2C

    Hillsboro, TN
    I learned everything I know not to do from Horton
  • StevenSteven Posts: 307
    I really hadn't thought too much about the vest before I hurt my back. It seems like it would be cumbersome and would take a lot to get used to. It looks and sounds like it's a lot of hardware to pack around but if it works like everyone says, I might need to try one. I never really thought about the competitive edge that it might provide but if it lessens the load to your body that much I can see where a person would feel as if they could be at a dis advantage. Since I have yet to try one, it would be hard for me choose sides. As for Jeff Milfords case, I think that it's awesome that he can ski at his level after having a serious back injury. At this time, I 'll thank God when I'm able to ski again with or without a PV.   
  • Mateo_VargasMateo_Vargas Posts: 824 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I'd like to see some stats.  Who are the users and which direction have their scores gone since using the vest?
    Success is failure that just hasn't happened yet
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