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How can we competition back into your typical weekend water ski tournaments???

MrJonesMrJones Posts: 1,807 Mega Baller
It has been two years since I've skied a tournament. Partially due to injuries, but also just due to a lack of interest. Being at regionals and then Bennett's for Nationals is giving me the itch again. Why? I think because there is actual competition vs. just going to a lake for the weekend to ski with your friends. Nothing wrong with that, but what we call "tournaments" could realistically be called "classifiers" as there is no actual competition involved.

It seems to me that having tournaments with ability levels would be good. In example all 32 off skiers regardless of age or gender ski against each other and there is a "winner" of this division at the end of it. How great would it be after a tournament weekend to actually give a reasonable answer when someone at work asks "how'd you do"? (I'm not saying change regionals/nationals by the way as there are enough skiers there to make age group viable and competitive.)

What do you guys think? Those of you who ski local tournaments and those of you who ski the course but don't bother to go?


  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,120 Mega Baller
    Even if there are several skiers in my age group, I’m only really competing to better my own score.

    However, at one of our weeknight tournament series, there is a traveling trophy awarded to the skier who records the best performance compared to their own average. I admit that winning that is fun. So, ability competition seems to a good motivator.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,178 Administrator
    @MrJones I have fought the idea of ability based tournaments for decades but I am slowly seeing that ability based might be exactly what we need.

    It is critical to get the groupings right.
    I believe divisions should be cut off at 2 ball of every pass. Any skier who can only get to 2 ball on their best day is in peril at the previous pass. If you do it with whole passes you get the skiers who can barely run the previous pass and can't get past 2 ball - they are stuck at bottom of the groups. Is this clear?

    If anyone has a better idea, I am all ears but I have thought about this a lot so do your home work.

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  • elrelr Posts: 328 Mega Baller
    Handicapped double elimination tournament.
    Ed Rink - LSF Texas
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,178 Administrator
    @elr WTF does that mean? Is that a real idea? How does that work?

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  • elrelr Posts: 328 Mega Baller
    @Horton - Yes real thing. Its the way beach volleyball tournaments have been run for decades (minus the handicap part).

    Double Elimination = you ski until you lose twice. Winner stays in the "Winners Bracket" and competes against the winner of the next match. Loser drops to the "Losers Bracket" and competes against the loser of the next match. If you lose in the Losers Bracket you are eliminated. Final match is the winner of the Winners Bracket v the Winner of the Losers Bracket. The winner of the Losers Bracket would have to beat the winner of the Winners Bracket twice to win the tournament. Losers Bracket skiers ski twice as much as Winners Bracket skiers if they advance so there is an element of fitness involved. Attached is an example of an eight skier set of brackets.

    Handicapped = any handicap system that works to make the matches competitive - it could be scoring all max speed skiers at the 34 mph buoy count like your cash prize event, or something based on zero based scoring. There would need to be a tie breaking rule. For high level tournaments it can be eliminated.
    Ed Rink - LSF Texas
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,178 Administrator
    @elr seem logical but how were must of us to know that?

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  • elrelr Posts: 328 Mega Baller
    edited August 2020
    @Horton - yep I spent my twenties playing beach volleyball so I wrongly assumed familiarity with the format. Also I didn’t see your first post before I made my first post.
    Ed Rink - LSF Texas
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,120 Mega Baller
    edited August 2020
    @klindy, one of the reasons that the Michigan Ability Series ( ceased a few years ago was the amount of time and effort it required of our representative to collect and tabulate the data to determine ability-based placements. Improved scoring programs or automated extracts/reporting could revive that. The management of the data was the only thing that stopped us.

    Even the weeknight tournaments I mentioned (skiing against your average) could benefit from just that simple data point being added to the WSTIMS display. Right now, we are calculating that manually. It's simple enough that we can do it, but it would also be valuable to have it handled in the program.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • MrJonesMrJones Posts: 1,807 Mega Baller
    Horton: Your idea of the cut off being 2 buoys is excellent. At 36 mph I maxed out at [email protected] Pretty consistent, but that was it. It does seem that 2 at whatever pass is the common cut off point.

    On Matteo's podcast interview Will Asher mentions ability based skiing in England and how much he enjoyed it as a kid. Does anyone on here have knowledge of how that's structured?
  • jcampjcamp Posts: 929 Mega Baller
    As @klindy mentioned, ability-based tournaments can and do happen now. It just takes an event organizer with a little bit of imagination. So why haven't ability-based tournaments taken off? My guess is that more people simply like the standard tournament version.
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,120 Mega Baller
    @jcamp, I really believe it is the management of the data to tabulate the results that is the obstacle. I think a lot of skiers would be quite interested in the side competitions that could co-exist alongside a standard tournament.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • dislanddisland Posts: 1,463 Mega Baller
    We have done head to head bracket events at our lake using handicap scoring. It was super fun. Be aware it takes

    1. more boats (we dont have many promo's as it is)
    2. It takes more drivers. (For this reason when we have done this we didnt always sanction it)
    3. Its a lot more pulls so you really cant do a lot of skiers
    Dave Island- Princeton Lakes
  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,587 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @jcamp @MISkier I agree that the scoring program can likely be tweaked to provide a couple/few simple formats with some options to really get some traction.

    One big hurdle for those who want to do some kind of handicap format is using the AWSA ranking list score for the baseline number. Since the ranking list just looks at the top 3 scores and, depending on the scores available, can apply some kind of penalty to the score, the reported ranking score isn't the best option to use in a handicap.

    For the Queens Cup every year I literally grab all the scores posted for the previous 12 months and do use some simple statistics to better define the 'true average'. It really doesn't change a ranking score much if the ranking score has a fair number of scores posted but for those with a handicap applied, it does move things enough to better represent a skiers true (current) average. Over the years the handicap winners generally have been who you would have expected.

    To help situations like this I'd love to be able to down load the skiers top 10-15 scores with the date it was skied and without any kind of penalty.

    But back on topic, it would be much easier to have the scoring program manage some of the basic requirements to dynamically develop ability based groupings based on the skiers registered.
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Chairman of the Board
    AWSA Southern Region EVP
  • jayskijayski Posts: 995 Mega Baller
    @MrJones @Horton @elr

    Geez sounds EXACTLY like the tourney we ran at Cottonwood this spring, Saturday 3 rounds, cash prize awarded in each division based on the WWSL (World Waterski League) Divisions, which are not gender specific

    all speeds at 15 off
    22/28 off
    32/35 off
    38 off
    39 off
    41/43 off

    then Sunday was a head to head DOUBLE elimination using a +/- of a skiers highest score on Saturday.

    Cash prizes were given out for highest score each division and highest score and lowest score overall Saturday

    Cash was paid out for the top 3 positions in Sundays head to head, the super nice lady that won walked away with $600 in winnings overall

    I skied 7 times on Sunday and lost to that nice lady...

    FYI we will be doing another one Sept 25-27, c'mon over!!!
  • jcampjcamp Posts: 929 Mega Baller
    @Jayski sounds awesome. Did those scores go onto the ranking list?
  • jayskijayski Posts: 995 Mega Baller
    @jcamp no, it was a WWSL event, the restrictions by most governing bodies do inhibit such events being FUN and EASY to run, we chose to make a choice to go with minimal tech and judges and we achieved a fair equal competition field that was higher than most C class and probably equal to a lot of ELR tourneys, Sure Path was used for the event and ZO of course, which is never wrong, so driving was spot on. All skiers were aware an agreeable to it all. Without a doubt one of the chillest and funnest tourneys we have ever had.
  • MI3EventerMI3Eventer Posts: 21 Baller
    Remove age groups.....seed best skiers ski first, worst skiers at the against your handicap (either percent of your average OR buoy count +- average) head to head or in groupings of 4+. Don't have to have two boats going just run it normal and compile scores at the end of each round. Have a physical bracket, winner get's the bracket.

    I prefer buoy count +- average so that a skier with an average of 1.5 buoys doesn't get a 200% improvement by getting 3 ball.

    You can do this for all 3 events compared to averages and I know plenty of tournaments that do this with a TON of success. I've seen 8 year old kids on the mini course facing off against shortline skiers and the atmosphere is just as fun as the best skiers in a run off.

    Let's encourage people to ski tournaments and not discourage average skiers from skiing tournaments.
  • brettmainerbrettmainer Posts: 344 Crazy Baller
    This is all just for fun and to increase the dock chatter. The scores will still go into the rankings list in the appropriate age divisions. Therefore, I think super scientific but hard to follow algorithms and handicaps are unnecessary. Who cares if Skier A truly averages 2 more buoys than Skier B. Close enough, we aren’t skiing for money.

    Pleasant Oak used to group skiers by a never made format (NM -15, -28, -32, -35 and -38+). It was fun, if for no other reason it was a slightly different group to be on the dock with. Horton’s 2 ball cutoff idea would result in basically the same groupings.

    We have run tournaments that use rankings list averages to set handicaps, which is certainly more accurate but is hard to follow in real time (Skier A needs to beat Skier B by 2.68 buoys but needs to beat Skier C by 5.34 buoys to win, etc). Nobody other than the spreadsheet operator actually knows who is winning and losing, which defeats the point.

    We had fun Sunday with four of us skiing for a $4 pot ($1 to enter). We had a G4 skier who maxes out at [email protected], a M4 skier who maxes out at [email protected], a M4 skier who maxes out at [email protected], and an open skier who typically gets [email protected] He spotted me 6 buoys, the other M4 skier 12, and Makayla 18. Turns out the [email protected] max skier ran his 35 for the first time in a month, got [email protected], won, and went home super pumped. That is the feeling we should be trying to create.
  • unksskisunksskis Posts: 553 Crazy Baller
    I'm working on something for next year that will hopefully be a good model for larger metro areas with multiple ski lakes/clubs.
  • MrJonesMrJones Posts: 1,807 Mega Baller
    What I envision is just a change in how skiers are grouped. Score would go into your age division as normal.

    This was done in North TX/OK 25 years ago. Group was based off your two best scores in the past 12 months. (similar to Klindy)

    Not suggesting head to head. It's cool, but a pain....

    Cottonwood in September sounds great, but 7 sets in a day? That's like a month of skiing for me these days.
  • teammalibuteammalibu Posts: 1,048 Mega Baller
    @jayski just to clarify most fun tourney ever! I took that nice lady’s money for coaching and equipment repair! I combined it with my winnings and gave it back to you for my new ski, which I am not currently riding.
    The only thing that would make it better is if the scores counted on the ranking list as it was was my best round of the year on Saturday
    Can’t wait to do it again!
    Mike Erb Cedar Ridge Canton Miss.
    Horton is my hero
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