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AWSA Proposed rule changes

sunperchsunperch Posts: 248 Crazy Baller
One of the proposed rule changes that I am opposed to is the change in the top age for junior skiers. The proposed change:

U10, 9 years and younger, no changes in speeds from current B1
U12, 11 years and younger, 45kph/28mph Ramp Height 5 Feet, Slalom 52kph/32.3mph
U14, 13 years and younger, 48kph/29.8mph Ramp Height 5 Feet, Slalom 55kph/34.2mph
U17, 16 years and younger, no changes in speeds/ramp heights from current B3
M1 Age 17-24, no changes in speeds/ramp heights from current M1
U10, 9 years and younger, no changes in speeds from current G1
U12, 11 years and younger, 45kph/28mph Ramp Height 5 Feet, Slalom 52kph/32.3mph
U14, 13 years and younger, 45kph/28mph Ramp Height 5 Feet, Slalom 52kph/32.3mph
U17, 16 years and younger, no changes in speeds/ramp heights from current G3
W1 Age 17-24, no changes in speeds/ramp heights from current W1

That rule change would make kids with bad birthdays - after Nationals and before Jan 1 - move into MI/WI as juniors in high school. That is not right! 2 years left in high school and they would be considered M1/W1.


  • Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 1,634 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    @sunperch, I agree and have not heard this proposed rule before. Making smaller divisions makes the birthday benefit/penalty even more of an issue. Perhaps a small number of 17yo juniors will be ready for M/W1, but the majority are not.
    Whatever group of rocket scientists that came up with this need to go to the membership and those affected.
    I'm Ancient. WTH do I know?
  • nikandstevenikandsteve Posts: 83 Baller
    It was already unfair before. There is a ton of growth in a year for boys & girls. Our son was in 8th Grade and in Boys 3, so the proposed rule change would have had him in 7th grade competing at 36mph. He will always be the youngest in his division unless they do straight age and not based on date of Nationals.
  • DragoDrago Posts: 1,588 Mega Baller
    There is always a cutoff date that make someone's kid the youngest. (Hockey parents in Canada plan so their kid is the oldest within an age group.)
    The 4 mph jump from U12-U14 boys SL simply never made sense. A 17 yo vs a 25 yo doesn't make sense either (I happen to think a 14 yo skiing @ 36 is ludicrous, too)
    SR SL Judge & Driver (“a driver who is super late on the wheel and is out of sync”)
  • RLWRLW Posts: 68 Baller
    edited December 2018
    I feel like my son, who just turned 17, just got robbed of his last year of B3 since this forces him into M1. I don't understand why M1 was changed; it would have been better to include 17 yo in a U18 bracket.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,989 Mega Baller
    I don't have a horse in the fight anymore as my son is 19 now but I like the step to 32 mph and I could see another year at 34 mph then another year or two extension on the oldest age maybe make it U19. I agree that high school kids should still be competing with kids not with college age men.
    Mark Shaffer
  • John BrooksJohn Brooks Posts: 367 Crazy Baller
    I recall a recent AWSA survey with these questions. I think it was around the end of summer 2018.
  • jcampjcamp Posts: 837 Mega Baller
    Adding an additional kids division is a good move and making the age divisions cover fewer years will lessen some of the huge differences in development that you see with the current system.

    There may be some quirks that need to be worked out, but derisively calling people who are working on this issue "rocket scientists" is not helpful.

  • DragoDrago Posts: 1,588 Mega Baller
    @Chef23 has it right
    SR SL Judge & Driver (“a driver who is super late on the wheel and is out of sync”)
  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,097
    U17 and U23 are pretty common in indivualized sports around the world. In a LOT of sports, those 17 and 18 yo high schoolers are competing against the 20-23 yo crowd, too.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • John BrooksJohn Brooks Posts: 367 Crazy Baller
    @drew I agree with most of what you are saying but I also see instances where the speed acts as a barrier to entry in the sport by new skiers, kids and families that have not started the sport from earlier in age. Many times these kids don't start skiing until ages of 10 or older. If we push that group too soon, I've seen a number of instances where those families leave the sport.
  • JeffSurdejJeffSurdej Posts: 624 USAWS Official
    Good feedback and discussion, so the premise here is not to align with IWWF as much as it is to break up the 4 year cycle of junior divisions. let me be the first to say that I hate to add any more divisions but almost every sport has gone to 2 year age groups and if this is a move that will keep more kids from choosing another sport over water skiing I think its worth a try. This is not an "everyone wants a medal" idea. Its the same principle as to why older divisions are 5 years apart, b/c the physical changes in those years are so different, 10 vs 14 and 14 vs 17 are big differences in ages and growth.

    So U12 fits in nicely but we do have issues with formatting the rest I agree. Canada has gone to U12 already, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to follow IWWF if we can but if we stick with B3 or U18 then we are keeping the 4 year group of B3 so not really accomplishing as much as we can. The alternative is to add U21 like IWWF and go U10,U12,U14,U17,U21. We would need to decide what to do with M1 then but the U21 might smoothen the transition from a high schooler skiing against a 24 year old. We could add U16 and U18 but is that too many divisions then? or we can go 3 years U9, U12, U15, U18 but while we are doing this it would be nice to align worldwide as well which has U14 and u17 so not sure the best route.

    BTW here is survey results from the membership, 40% in favor, 17% against, 41% dont have kids dont care, when filtering by kids divisions, 75% in favor, 25% against
    AWSA President
    John Brooks
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,989 Mega Baller
    @JeffSurdej what about changing U17 to U18. I know that gives you a four year gap in the top age group but by that time kids are a little more mature and understand it may take a year or two for them to be really competitive in that age group. You could then migrate from U18 to M1. There are always going to be a few kids with bad birthdays but that is bad planning on their parents part :).
    Mark Shaffer
    RLWJohn BrooksjimbrakeWaterSkier12
  • JeffSurdejJeffSurdej Posts: 624 USAWS Official
    @Chef23 its certainly an option, so we would basically just be adding a U12
    AWSA President
  • nikandstevenikandsteve Posts: 83 Baller
    If we make any move wouldnt it make sense to align with IWWF? Do their age groups follow the calendar year or something similar to “after Nationals”? Most sports are based on birth year, versus aging out after a specific event. (Like Nationals) Not sure what IWWF observes.
  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 2,698 Mega Baller
    @chef I disagree with you. It’s “horse in the race” or “dog in the fight”. There are, to my knowledge, no horse fights. But I digress.

    In my view, the second most important set of records after Open is Boys and Girls 3. We kill those divisions and lump the majority of potential record breakers into M/W 1? I think that totally diminishes the record side of the sport. So to me, whose dreams of a B3 record are years gone by, I think there should be a darned good reason to change around the junior divisions, and so far I haven’t heard one.
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
  • DragoDrago Posts: 1,588 Mega Baller
    For the few Elite skiers, skiing up should be an option. That track is very rare, and unless the Mission Statement of awsa is to create world -class water skiers ( @JeffSurdej ?), rules should not be based on those 4 kids per decade progressions. They will handle themselves just fine.
    If the mission statement is to create world champions, then take the Canadian father/coach/manager's advice as he built one of the best skiers in the world
    SR SL Judge & Driver (“a driver who is super late on the wheel and is out of sync”)
  • JeffSurdejJeffSurdej Posts: 624 USAWS Official
    @nikandsteve IWWF uses calender year but so do we really, the only difference is that after nationals skiers change divisions for the upcoming year so for a few months yes skiers are younger than they should be perhaps but overall AWSA and IWWF use calender year to determine what divisions one will be in.
    AWSA President
  • skiinxsskiinxs Posts: 573 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited December 2018
    @JeffSurdej I would be in favor of the two year scenario which would add yet another division...U10, U12, U14, U16, U18, M1, M2, ....Jump speed / height in U16 & U18 / same as current B3. Or leave out U16 and have U18 a four year division. That way you don't bring a lot of kids into 35 MPH 5 1/2 jump who may not be physically ready. They will bump up the speed and height to try to compete. I don't have a horse in the race but the is my 2 cents worth.
  • JimboJimbo Posts: 20 Baller
    @skiinxs - I have a horse in the race and I agree with you. I've got a 12 year old currently in B2. In fact, I am in favor of the U14,U16,U18, U21 Jeff described (or something close). I think this is important for the sport.

    A lot of posts and discussion about how to keep kids in the sport, and I think that making the 14-18 year old age range more competitive is very important to that goal. The size and maturity difference between a 14 and an 18 year old is huge. If you want kids to stick with the sport, they need to feel competitive and not become disillusioned. Perhaps that is not how it was when we were kids, but every sport changes with the times.

    2 years is a reasonable spread in age divisions. I suspect AWSA has numbers, but I wonder how many small 13-14 year olds give up when they get to B3 and are faced with competing against a 6 foot 200 lb high school senior?
  • Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 2,901 Mega Baller
    my daughter had to spend one full year slaloming 34 mph before it was dropped back back to 32 mph. She had great fundamentals coming out of girls 1 and into g2 yet she was very small. I think if she could have utilized ZBS scoring that first year she might have been a bit better skier but 34 mph at her up!! I think the proposal makes sense as a junior can always ski up and provided when they ski under international divisions R&L criteria they then can get on the worlds standings list.
    Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.

  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,823 Mega Baller
    Does the "U" model mean that ANY age skier under the stated age can compete in that division (i.e. compete up), while no one over that limit can compete in that division? Yes, stating the obvious here.

    So, if there are more U divisions, it doesn't prevent the upper echelon skiers of any age if they want to compete with the higher group, right?

    No number of divisions or rules about when the age is applied will ever solve the physical development differences from one youth skier to another. Boxing is one sporting solution which takes physique size into account for divisions. No one want to do "Weigh-Ins" at ski tournaments. Heaven help us if we ever need a puberty test to set divisions.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,989 Mega Baller
    @lpskier I thought that by making the age group U18 it preserves the current B3/G3 ages but I will admit I don't always understand the when kids move. I think the year my son turned 18 (May birthday) he was still B3 the year in which he turned 19 he became M1.

    I agree with you about those age groups and that was what I was trying to protect. I may have missed the mark somehow.
    Mark Shaffer
  • drewdrew Posts: 83 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    More comment and clarification--"narrower" age divisions within the broad international divisions makes good sense, especially in the US where there is a load of competition at all stages. No issue there.
    Boat speed for boys who are 10 and 11--moving up to 55 km/h is a process, and it is in the junior's best interest to begin this early! 58 km/h comes really soon... No shame in getting stuck at 55, it takes time! And it will actually close the gap in scores between the division leader and the middle-of-the-packer if they compete at 55 km/h more than at 52 km/h (where the bigger stronger kids can run away with it down the rope).
    Adherence to international age divisions and parameters of competition (boat speeds): this is very valuable. And yes, narrower divisions can fit inside this. It is just important that there be an alignment in the more broad "breaks" with international standards. Why not aim to have it all? US kids will benefit with global ranking lists, just as US kids have benefited with US rankings lists.

    For background, this discussion doesn't really pertain to my kids anymore. Neilly is just finishing her final year of U17 competition (end of calendar year), and Charlie (dob 08/02/05) has one more season of U14 remaining at 55 km/h before moving up to 58 km/h. But having just been through the two year period of discussion (boys skiing as 11 and 12 years) with him, my takeaway is that as difficult as 55 km/h was in the beginning, it provided him with the acclimatization to speed that is needed. Now 55 km/h feels slow for him, and he'll be more prepared for 58 in a year.
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