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Skiers over 35 - Open rules

HortonHorton Posts: 30,608 Administrator
edited May 2012 in Rules/Politics/Issues
This just landed in my in box

Dear Skiers and Friends,

I have been advised to contact other skiers to support a request for a rule change. Below is a summary of the issue and a potential solution. If you agree with the sentiments that follow and support such a change, please respond to me with your name and AWSA number. If you know others who also might support such a change, please ask them to reply to me as well. Thank you.

Executive Summary Presently, an “older” skier effectively suffers a 6-buoy penalty, based on the erroneous presumption that skiing at 58kph is always 6 buoys more difficult than skiing at 55kph. This unevens the playing field and makes it more difficult for skiers over 34 to gain Open Qualification.

Background As a likely unintended consequence of recently enacted rules, a male skier above the age of 34 is subject to different and more difficult performance criteria than those below that age, should he wish to become Open Qualified.

Regardless of rationale, the fact that different criteria exist based solely on age, is unfair and may represent age discrimination. This has not always been the case, in fact, until very recently, it never was.

Record Tournament Example--How I became Aware of the Rule Anomaly I recently skied 1.5 buoys at 39’off (109.5 buoys) at 58kph in a record tournament. Since the Open Qualification score (“COA”) for Open Men was, and still is, 108.83 buoys, it should have been counted as a score toward Open Qualification….but it did not. Yet, if a male aged 14-34 skied the exact same buoys immediately before or after me, he would have received a score sufficient to count toward Open Qualification. Only because I was "35 and older" was I subject to a 6-buoy penalty and different scoring requirements (by being scored as if I only skied at 55kph).

As a result, the 6-buoy penalty requires, so-called, older skiers run buoys at 41’ off (10.25m) (only a few buoys from the World Record, in fact). Thus, present rules place a performance hurdle on older skiers that it does not do to younger skiers. No one would deny that 41’ off is extraordinarily difficult at any speed and to apply a 6-buoy penalty at, or into that length is unfair to any skier.

The Rule Rule 3.03B.1 presently states:

“A skier of any age shall be Open Qualified in an event (or in Overall) if their ranking score in any reported division for that event equals or exceeds the Open Cutoff ranking score for that event on any date within the past 12 months.”

The Issue Historically, older skiers attempting to attain an Open Qualification were permitted to ski and be scored at 58kph. Because he is now limited to scoring at 55kph, a skier above the age of 34 is subject to different qualification requirements in order to attain Open Qualification. This different standard is based solely on age and, regardless of any justification, is unfair. Presently, an “older” skier suffers a 6-buoy penalty, based on the erroneous presumption that skiing at 58kph is always 6 buoys more difficult than skiing at 55kph. Thus, the older skier is required to complete one full additional pass in order to accumulate and receive the score that would have been obtained had he been permitted to ski at 58kph. Presently, this requires the skier to ski into 41 off (10.25m), a line length that, undeniably, is extraordinarily difficult at any speed. So, while a 6-buoy difference may be appropriate at 22'off, it is excessive at 39' and nearly prohibitive at 41' off.

Potential Solution There is a solution that would eliminate the age-based discrimination without prejudicing any other skier: if a skier attempting to attain an Open Qualification were permitted to ski and be scored at 58kph, then he would be treated the same as a Boys 3, Men 1, Men 2 or Open skier—that would be fair. To avoid prejudice to skiers skiing and being scored at 55kph, in accordance with the specifications of their age division, any scores recorded at 58kph would only be allowable toward Open Qualification and would be subject to a 6-buoy penalty for scoring in the skier’s age division (i.e., 55kph)…as they are now.

This is a broad issue which affects more than just male skiers above the age of 34 attempting to gain an Open Qualification. Women above the age of 52 attempting to gain Open Qualification and men above the age of 64 attempting gain a Masters Qualification presently suffer the same penalty outlined above.

The “Elite” divisions are designed to be based on a skier’s ability, not on his or her youth. We should act with haste to correct this unfortunate, unintended discrimination in the rules.

If you agree with the foregoing. please respond to me with your name and AWSA number. Thank you very much.---Michael Ise

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  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,913 Mega Baller
    The proposed fix sounds easy and sensible. Is there any objection or is this basically just an accident that all parties will be happy to rectify now that it has been pointed out?
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • MrJonesMrJones Posts: 1,809 Mega Baller
    Okay Mike. What is your e-mail address?
  • schroedschroed Posts: 163 Open or Level 9 Skier
    This problem has been bothering me for a couple years and I believe it brings up a broader issue of speed, age divisions, and the ability to properly handicap skiers skiing at different speeds. I do believe that there is basically a 6 buoy difference between skiing at 55K versus 58K, but this starts to break down at 39.5 and 41 and hence, causes problems for getting open ratings. I think a simple solution that would make people many people happy would be for USA Waterski to not set an upper age limit for age divisions. In other words, if someone is over 35 years old, allow them to ski in Mens 2 at 58K. This would allow for proper scoring of people over 35 that want to qualify for open, not hurt the rankings list for M3 and other 55K skiers, expand the M2 division to more than 165 skiers nationally, and give skiers who don't have their open rating, are over 35, and do not want to go 55k, a division to ski in. I know that when I turned 35 I didn't want to stop skiing at 58K.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,608 Administrator
    too easy

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    Barts★ Connelly ★ DBSkis ★ Denali ★ Goode ★ Follow ★ Hobe Lake ★ MasterCraft ★ Masterline ★ 

    McClintock's ★ Performance Ski and Surf ★ Reflex ★ Radar ★ Rodics OffCourseStokes

  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,608 Administrator
    edited May 2012

    Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

    Barts★ Connelly ★ DBSkis ★ Denali ★ Goode ★ Follow ★ Hobe Lake ★ MasterCraft ★ Masterline ★ 

    McClintock's ★ Performance Ski and Surf ★ Reflex ★ Radar ★ Rodics OffCourseStokes

  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,977 Infinite Pandas
    3 buoy penalty (not 6) for skiing slower. For example [email protected]/55k = [email protected]/58k. Not perfect but at least close, reasonable and consistent. There are other speed drops with age that may not suit a particular individual - 3 buoys credit for an overspeed is reasonable there too.

    I can come up with a tolerable technical solution to most problems - I just can't make the politics work. Somebody other than me needs to champion an appropriate handicap for the speed differentials.

  • DUSkierDUSkier Posts: 146 Baller
    @schroed Down under we run with you may ski in any division that you are age appropriate for i.e. a 43 year old skier may ski in the Over 21 division but must abibe by that divisions max speed i.e. 58k an 48 year old may also choose to ski in a lesser age division as well e.g. O35's as he is Over 35!
    This system works works really well allowing "older" skiers chasing Open Ratings the ability to do so AND best of all it's simple!!
    Nigel Sparrow
  • Razorskier1Razorskier1 Posts: 3,425 Mega Baller
    Why not allow someone to receive distinct scores for the same pass? If you ski 36mph and you are in M4 and you run a qualifying pass to be open rated, then count it as it stands. With respect to M4, you could count the pass differently. This shouldn't be so hard.
    Jim Ross
  • RichRich Posts: 276 Solid Baller
    Just ski 36 if you want an open rating.

    at 38' and above the buoy dif is about 2-2.5 from 36 to 34. USA water ski is about the masses and getting the rule changed will take alot of work. If you want an open rating prepare at 36, ski a couple of tournys at 36 ( you can request that speed) and see what happens. It will help you when you go back to 34. That was my experience. What do you have to lose, ratings are pretty unimportant anyway, so you'll have a couple of scores that are below your 34 mph average.
    That's what I did a couple years back, it was fun
  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,224
    edited May 2012
    Rich, That no longer works out as it was changed a few years ago. What brought this up is exactly that. The skier skied at 36, but was scored with 6 buoy penalty at 34mph/55kph because that's what his age division skis.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • RichRich Posts: 276 Solid Baller
    You can't choose to ski at 36 in your age division anymore?
  • Jim NeelyJim Neely Posts: 291 Baller
    You can choose to ski at 36 but you will be scored at 34
    68" Vapor
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,977 Infinite Pandas
    You are forgetting the overall skiers. Slower speeds are an advantage worth a few (but not 6) buoys. If you choose to chase an Open slalom rating at the higher speed you will hurt your overall score since now the added difficulty of the higher speed is ignored.

    Worse than that, if you do ski Open one event, Open scores don't count toward overall. And you are excluded from skiing age division. So no overall at all. (Plus they schedule you to ski slalom and tricks at exactly the same time at Nationals! I guess it's just me - twice?)

    An appropriate handicap would allow Open (or overspeed) slalom scores to apply to overall. As our skiing population ages, this same conflict will occur at the Masters level with some Masters hopefuls in slower age divisions. The problem will get worse!

  • clemsondaveclemsondave Posts: 369 Baller
    I think it would be cool to have an Open rating. However, what's the point if you are skiing at 34mph? You can't compete in Open class at 34. If a change is to be made, I'd say either:

    1. Allow over 35 skiers to ski at 36mph AND get the extra buoys. Don't let the extra buoys count in States, Regionals or Nationals placements.
    2. Change it so the top 3% ranking in EACH class gets an open rating. In other words, not comparing M3 to M2, but the top 3% of each division.

    I feel quite certain my average would go down if I skied 36mph. Maybe not 6 buoys, but a few. I have played at that speed and run 35, but have not attempted 38/39.
    Dave Satterfield - Richmond Water Ski Club
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,977 Infinite Pandas
    Dave, you have it backwards. Open is the best of all skiers. Masters is the best of all skiers over 35. Regionals and Nationals ARE the tournaments where it matters. Overall skiers are relevant as well - scores need to carry over. You are right about one thing, old Open skiers will be skiing at an overspeed.

    I ski local tournaments in age division and try to ski Regionals and Nationals in Open or Masters. The local tournaments are needed to qualify (in overall) for the big tournaments. The big tournaments - I want to get the best challenge. The current system is totally broken.

    A reasonable credit for an overspeed needs to apply to make age division (and overall) scores fair. This might give more skiers incentive to try Open. Maybe then Open and Masters divisions at Regionals and Nationals will have more than just a handful of skiers participating.

    As a past National overall medalist and skiing Open tricks at age 55, I wonder if the system is set up to just exclude me. I need to step up my performances to Open level again to keep being a problem!

  • The_MSThe_MS Posts: 6,160 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    @eleeski If you would build a ski that you could run 39 on, you would be all set.
    Shut up and ski
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,977 Infinite Pandas
    Open overall with a 55 foot jump?

  • clemsondaveclemsondave Posts: 369 Baller
    edited May 2012
    @eleeski, I think you misunderstood. In fact, I think your 3rd paragraph is my suggestion #1 and the same as what Ise is suggesting. My only point was that skiers at different speeds and buoy counts gets complicated in a placement tournament like States, Regionals and Nationals. If they qualify for Open they can elect to keep skiing at 36mph if they enter as Open at those tournaments. If they elect to ski at 34mph in those tournaments in their age divisions, score them like everyone else. If I go to Nationals and score 2 at 39/34mph, I don't want to get beat by someone running 2.25 at 38/36mph. Its too confusing at those tournaments.

    After reading over the rules, I believe the current system is my suggestion #2 above. I'm just not crazy about being able to qualify by skiing 34mph and I'm just a couple buoys off from it. I don't think I can compete at the Open level. I'm happy to get my butt handed to me by the other MM skiers.

    If I remember correctly, when I started skiing, Open was apx 2 at 39/34mph. Now it looks like its around 4 at 39/34mph.

    For M2, the Open rating is around 4 at 38 currently.

    Dave Satterfield - Richmond Water Ski Club
  • bishop8950bishop8950 Posts: 1,221 Open or Level 9 Skier
    If you cant run the required buoy count at 34mph to earn your open rating (current rules), you probably cant really compete in Open anyway. So why do you want the rating?

    I am 38, and would prefer to be allowed to ski 36mph (in M3 or MM) and scored at 36mph without handicap, the good ole days. I think this is Mikes proposal and I would support this rule coming back. This was debated when the ranking system went in place years ago, and we realized only a small number of skiers would be affected, me as one of them. In the end I think the current rules put the old guy Open qualification at about the right level. It gets back to the "is it 3 or 6 handicap" but if you look at the current old guys with open ratings, I think its working out about right. Some of them can get 39 going at 36mph and I think that's what it should take to be "Open".

    My first Open rating came at 34mph, some average score of deep 39 at 34mph. I never ran the 1.5 at 39 it used to take at 36mph. I am thinking about doing it this summer just to do it. If I do that in MM, and get dinged 6 buoys, I don't care. Fortunately I can enter Open and get the points but that doesn't really do anything for me. I am happy there is a MM division and the BigDawg because that is where I want to compete. It would be fun to stand on the dock with the Open guys, and maybe I should even if I got my butt kicked. As an old guy skier, I can live with the current rules.

    Like Schroder proposed, and other countries allow, skiing down in younger divisions, this would be fun.

  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,977 Infinite Pandas
    If you are a one event skier this all is fine. Open should be encouraged yet the overall one event skier is penalized. That is why an appropriate handicap needs to be applied.

    I personally think that [email protected]/34 is equal to [email protected]/36. I actually don't really care what the exact equivalence is (2 buoys or 4? - or something else) so long as scores can transfer. 6 buoys or zero seems unfair. Although I'd accept that if the scores would transfer to overall.

    I'm old enough that I can see myself aging to an even lower speed. The credit for overspeed problem needs a resolution better than the current zero credit system.

  • TriplettTriplett Posts: 209 Open or Level 9 Skier
    edited May 2012
    I kind of skimmed but read all of the original post @horton about this Open ordeal. I don't if anyone mentioned this but you can ski in Open no matter if you qualify or not. The qualification is just for regional, national, and pro competitions. So if you want to ski at 58kph and your over 34 just have the scorer enter you as OM, that will give you the 58kph score you need to get your open ratings.

    @clemsondave, 108.83 is only 6.83 @ 38 (11m). And the open rating floats as the scores change throughout the summer. Look at the rankings for M1, M2 and OM, they are all the same.

    I am in complete disagreement for making it easier for 55kph guys to get Open ratings. If you want to be open ski 58kph, if you want to be MM, 55kph. It is totally harder to run 10.75m at 58kph than it is at 55kph. If you can run it at 55kph please try to run it at 58kph and tell me its easier. If the rule is to change then the Mens Masters division needs to go, since this was the answer to a 55kph open division.

    I know you guys work hard but it would cheapen the Open division to allow 55kph guys at a lower score, or even a 3 buoy handicap.
    Brent Triplett - Michigan
  • AMGAMG Posts: 2
    Brent, I think you missed something somewhere. He skied above the open rating at 58kph but, because he was 48 years old and did it in a 55kph division, he was not credited with skiing 58kph. So your aloud to ski 36mph in your 34mph division you just can't have the credit for skiing the speed.
  • DirtDirt Posts: 1,684 Open or Level 9 Skier
    I don't think you can ski or be scored in the open division unless you are qualified. See rule 3.03

    I may be wrong but the way I read it, you must meet the qualification standard.
    I learned everything I know not to do from Horton
  • davidmillerdavidmiller Posts: 27 Baller
    Do it like we do in Canada it is very simple. I ski MM or my age division all year (34mph) but just before Nationals I train at 36 then I compete in Mens 2 and or open. I can opt up to a harder division, why not who would care if some old guy wants to compete against the best. It is not hurting anyone and it lets the old guys ski 36 if they want to with the same scoring as open????
  • ScaredOfCorbetsScaredOfCorbets Posts: 87 Baller
    Wouldn't be more simple to let any division to have the option to run up to 58k max? You'd just have to declare so before you attempt the first gate (or when you initially communicate with the boat crew).
  • ScaredOfCorbetsScaredOfCorbets Posts: 87 Baller
    This rule can apply to the more senior division to ski 55k as an option.
  • AMGAMG Posts: 2
    It's so simple! In the rest of the world if you want to ski 36 you simply ski in open men. Here in the USA "LAND OF THE FREE" you can't do that unless your from another country. Just drop the qualifying rule for open then have a qualification for regionals and nationals. It doesn't mess with scoring in the other divisions and everyone is happy. The other solution is create another division of 36mph seniors. I can't believe this problem hasn't been resolved years ago. I for one, quit skiing competitions about eight years ago mostly over this issue. It amazes me how in a shrinking sport, we wouldn't do some little things that might keep the numbers up!
  • GKGK Posts: 138 Baller
    Get rid of maximum speeds in all divisions. Make it 36 for all men and 34 for all women and let the skier decide what speed they want to max out at. Then the skier can decide what speed is best for them. Maybe it's 36, maybe it's 32? You could be a newer skier to the sport and run into 28 off at 30 mph if you'd want and could be scored accordingly. I don't see a negative.
    Greg Kuenning - Cincinnati, OH
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,913 Mega Baller
    @GK Then you can't compare to each other. The sneaky hard part is the exact meaning of "be scored accordingly." As pointed out in this thread, a 6 buoy difference for each speed doesn't hold up. It's more than that for longer lines and less than that for very short ones. Only way to be sure of a fair comparison is to compare people skiing at the same speed.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • bmiller3536bmiller3536 Posts: 298 Baller
    I agree that rule is wacked

    A little off topic, why do they give 34 mph skiers an open rating and they never post a score at 36 mph?
    Brad Miller
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