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Major US Ski events targeting Joe Public, should we announce Slalom in "line off" or length of rope?

WishWish Posts: 7,893 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
edited May 2013 in Rules/Politics/Issues
Soaked, The Malibu Open and perhaps the Masters are prime examples of sites in the US with great potential for large numbers of the non skier Joe public to view slalom (and there were lots at Soaked). Is announcing the line "off" the best practice for getting them to understanding and develop interest interest? Trick results are understood with relative ease. Jump results are a no brainer. Most all other countries announce in line "on" but metric. Would it not be easier for them to understand that "Nate Smith's rope is only 35 and 1/2 feet long and that won't even reach the turn ball 38 feet out to the side of the boat" vs "Nate Smith is at 39 and 1/2 off the line and that won't even reach the turn ball 38 feet out to the side of the boat." I think some would think it does and others would just scratch their heads as with each pass the rope sounds longer and it all kinda looks the same. Ran into many at Soaked with blank looks as they tried to understand the whole “off” thing. It is the first and far to often the last thing Joe Public hears.
>>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<

Are we including Joe public or excluding and confusing them leading them to ignore slalom? 65 votes

Announcers should use actual length of rope only (37ft or 35.5ft of rope) not line off rope (38 or 39.5 off the rope) for every length announced.
33%
skidawgDWRogerblockChuck_DickeyAlberto SoaresForrestGumpKelvin9400Bulldogbb85025TylerRdtm8119andjulesDavidPricowoolly110One_SkiBG1ALPJr 22 votes
Announcers should use line off of rope only not actual length for every length announced.
7%
WIskierE_TBraceMakerRazorRoss3TDL 5 votes
Announcers should use combination of both emphasizing length of rope not line off for every length announced.
18%
scotchipmanLieutenant Dandave2ballGKski4xtcnormanwenzelWishjcampDetrickSkoot1123ncbBill22 12 votes
Announcers should use combination of both emphasizing line off not length of rope for every length announced.
6%
DragoAkBobestrommadcityskier 4 votes
Announcers should use both equally for every length announced.
33%
dislandA_BLZywicki1Chef23robscholl-OFGarnkreipeLakeOneSkierEd_Johnsonraynlbskier2788jackskiVONMANTDETbkreisDooSPXtfriessaswinter05gsm_peter 22 votes
«13

Comments

  • TDLTDL Posts: 15 Baller
    Announcers should use line off of rope only not actual length for every length announced.
    On a related note, I think posting tournament results in metric units turns off interest.
    E_T
  • HortonHorton Posts: 28,311 Administrator
    I do not think this is a core problem but I vote for the distance delta between the rope length and 37.5 (distance to the ball). 38 would be something like minus 8 inches or what ever it is.

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  • DavidPDavidP Posts: 176 Baller
    Announcers should use actual length of rope only (37ft or 35.5ft of rope) not line off rope (38 or 39.5 off the rope) for every length announced.
    Using the color of the loop and the distance to the ball should be simple enough for Joe Public e.g. "Purple doesn't reach the buoy".
    David Panneton - LakePort Water Ski Club, formerly known as Muddy Waters
  • BulldogBulldog Posts: 1,014 Crazy Baller
    Announcers should use actual length of rope only (37ft or 35.5ft of rope) not line off rope (38 or 39.5 off the rope) for every length announced.
    Joe Public does not care about our sport... Actual line length would make it easier for them to understand.
    Mike Loeffler - "Someone somewhere is having a real problem today...My bad skiing is NOT one of them"
  • GregDavisGregDavis Posts: 274 Solid Baller
    I agree, actual length of rope is much easier for people not close to the sport to understand. Metric measurement is also not good for sport in USA The rest of the country is does not relate to metric measurement. Football field ( USA ) 300 feet. Basketball hoop, in USA 10 feet.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 3,924 Mega Baller
    Announcers should use line off of rope only not actual length for every length announced.
    I think running format and co-events are more important than announcing line length.

    Some attention to where spectators can watch from, seating, shade, maybe video on a big screen to get better views.

    I think something like a System 2.0 cable set up with stuff folks can ride like wake skates/wake skis.

    Make it a show/event

    Bulldog
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,583 Mega Baller
    edited May 2013
    My first experience in a slalom course was on a public lake. In the mid 80s when I started there was at least a half dozen courses in the area on public water. Now there are zero. How many people are going to spend the money to gain access to private lakes to find out if they like the sport.? I have a portable course and I had a few people stop and ask me about when its out, but most just pissing off the fishermen. Theres just not much access for joe skier anymore. Anyway theyre Joe wakeboarder or Joe surfer mostly now.
  • WishWish Posts: 7,893 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Announcers should use combination of both emphasizing length of rope not line off for every length announced.
    @gregy @bracemaker @bulldog all valid points. But there is still a very big push and a much needed one to bring it back to the public.

    @Bracemaker You discribed Robins Lake at the Masters to a tea. Tons of other entertainment right on the water as well as off for the same entrence fee. So the folks that dont understand whats being siad simply walk away and do something else. Happened a lot at Soaked where there was basically the entire Down Town Orlando area to wander off to. And they did.

    @Bulldog while that may be mostly true, line off is not helping. Here you have Soaked, one of the most widely advertised/marketed to the public ski event to date in FL. Lots of expense to do so. It was stuck on a very well known landmark lake but it was horrible for skiing in every aspect imaginable and could only support a 4 buoy course. They combined it with music and a festival type atmosphere in the heart of Down Town Orlando just so Joe public could watch and then it gets announced in line off. What's the point of the time and expenses and bad conditions if your target audience is scratching their heads in confusion. That would be like announcing all of a Nascar race in English accept for the important parts. Those details would be stated in Taiwanese. Result; the stands would empty. All they would know is that the cars just go left. Why bother with the sub par sites and the vast time and expence if your just gonna babble in terms no one but us understand.

    Educating them in the terms/lingo we use would be OK but we do it backwards IMHO and talk mostly in line off and occasionally try to explain it during an event. That's a challenge in and of itself.

    I had several family and friends watch The Atlanta ProAm. Most knew the lingo. But many did not. My wife got a txts from a friends watching who were completely confused. My guess is they watched me ski and then just shut it off. Then had to ask how I did. The webcasts do go past just us.

    Would love to hear from @trs01 Tadd or Tyler on this. And by no means do I hold them accountable. They are worth their weight in gold to our sport when it comes to the big events. I would say the responsibility rests in the hands of the event planners and how they want their target audience to be addressed. If the target IS Joe public and site selection suggests it is, then rethinking how to make it easier to understand may be in order.

    And for the pros who willingly take the time and expense to put up with the lousy conditions. we do them a disservice by narrowing the audience to just us skiers.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • WaternutWaternut Posts: 1,511 Crazy Baller
    Other.... I think one and maybe two explanations during the tournament is warranted just so people get the concept. Saying 35 feet off a 75 foot line a few times may also help get the point across.

    Whatever happens, I think saying only one convention is appropriate. Either use total line length in meters in countries where the metric system is used or feet off the line in the US. Saying 35.5 feet of rope and 39.5 off while adding that the buoy line is 37.5 feet from the center of the course is WAY too f-ing complicated. More than half the crowd would be so confused that they'd give up or would quit watching while trying to figure it out.
  • rodltg2rodltg2 Posts: 1,051 Crazy Baller
    Let Joe Public ride in the boat. How cool would that be ! A raffle or something of that nature. Couple winners ride. Hopefully the winner is not Chubby!
    Bulldog
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 3,924 Mega Baller
    Announcers should use line off of rope only not actual length for every length announced.
    @wish - I see the positive and negative. For one if you have an "open" platform you have the ability for folks to wander in - but you really must hold them if you don't want them to wander away. That's a catch-22 if you have a setting where people must seek you out to see the event you won't have the draw of new spectators. If you have an open setting convenient to a population that can wander through then you'll lose those that aren't held captive.


    On line lengths - I like length off! maybe it is archaic - but it seems nice for the number to increase as the difficulty increases. If folks don't get the line thing perhaps rig up something like a rope connected to a weather balloon - would be tedious to have someone haul it in/out but maybe you could automate it so that it demonstrates where the skier is.

    That's mostly spit balling - but the off nomenclature just works.
  • The_MSThe_MS Posts: 5,385 Mega Baller
    @Than is right Kinis and a beer sponsor would be the big boost. Watch the wake board tour on NBC sports or CBS sports channel. The camera starts with the boarder, pans to the babes, interview the boarder, back to the babes and repeat.
    It comes down to the announcer to perform the explanation to the listening or viewing audience. If the process is explained a few times during the broadcast, they will understand what is going on if they care about it enough to listen.
    Shut up and ski
    jayski
  • DragoDrago Posts: 1,588 Mega Baller
    Announcers should use combination of both emphasizing line off not length of rope for every length announced.
    I've always thought line off made sense.its harder. Cut it.
    We need to be honest with ourselves: watching slalom from a bleacher is kinda, (cough,ahem) boring. From the boat: pretty awesome. Behind a camera: boring. With loud music: boring and loud. What part of the day do most of you enjoy? I love the 5 minutes I ski, but it's barbecuing; playing with the kids; hanging on the beach; coaching; maybe having a beer in the evening; etc, etc. we are trying to "sell" a lifestyle by pushing the sport, yet at tournaments we kill the lifestyle--no swimming, no wading and getting sprayed, athletes separated out from the viewers. Really all we talk about is gates, rollers and fin adjustments.(so, sorry to go off on a rant, but I think it's much bigger than rope terminology).
    SR SL Judge & Driver (“a driver who is super late on the wheel and is out of sync”)
    RichBulldogBroussardToddL
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,523 Mega Baller
    Wait, there are things other than gates, rollers, and fin adjustments??
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
    BroussardToddL
  • WaternutWaternut Posts: 1,511 Crazy Baller
    I kind of agree that tournament skiing is repetitive. However, so is wakesurfing, wakeboarding, trick skiing, and jumping. Trick skiing probably has the most variety but with low amplitude so the average joe public is less impressed. Wakesurfing pretty much has spins, kick spins, low amplitude jumps, and carves...over and over and over. I wakesurf but that has to be the most boring thing to watch. Wakeboarding has a lot more tricks but pro level riding is pretty much all the same stuff. Flips and spins get big points so that's what they all do....360, 540, 720, 900...it's all the same moves with just a little extra each time. It's big air and impressive for the first few riders.

    On the flip side, skiing has the most spectacular crashes but that doesn't seem to be enough. I think @than_bogan may be on to something. The board sports cater to the horny school boy with hot chicks in bikini's rubbing up against the riders before and after they hit the water. Skiing seems to be too serious and professional.
    KcSwerver
  • WishWish Posts: 7,893 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Announcers should use combination of both emphasizing length of rope not line off for every length announced.
    I should  have used a different title with more focus. It's like herding cats. . We all know and have discussed ad nauseam about how to get Joe Public interested (beer bikinis festivals). We all know that higher numbers of viewers/audience equals sponcers outside of the ski industry not the other way around. We all know slalom can be boring to watch and hard to grasp as Than suggests.  Announcing is just a piece of the puzzle. Not the end all be all and not something that will bring in the numbers. But it is the first and often last thing a new spectator hears. How are we to expect or hope that they will just get it and become fans. Can you imagine the Italian Dancing With the Stars explaining what TGas does for a living by saying how much rope is not there?  I don't know Italian but pretty sure the translation would be how long the rope is and how it can end up shorter then boat to buoy.  We don't announce how far the jumper didn't go or how much less then the world record the tricker scored.  Just sayn....
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • bogboybogboy Posts: 699 Solid Baller
    I think the tradition of using "off" should be kept, although if the announcer wants to also explain in meters, as in option 4, I think that's ok too.
  • The_MSThe_MS Posts: 5,385 Mega Baller
    Its not there isnt lots of time to explain what is going on.
    Shut up and ski
  • swc5150swc5150 Posts: 2,307 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I think @Than_Bogan and @waternut have it right. Slalom tends to be too serious and stuffy for the average Joe. Heck, I'm not even the average Joe, and I was pretty turned off to tournament slalom after spending 15 minutes with a private ski lake group - of course, maybe I was at the wrong lake? Sorry for this quick tangent, but at the time, I offered use of my brand new 196 (they were training behind an MC), insurance money, gas, course maintanence assistance, you name it, and they had little interest in even learning my name. Then we get a high-profile tourny like the Malibu Open in our state, and I could kind of care less if I go, as I'm not sure I want to drive 4 hours to hang out with those types of people. Note... I want exclude most of you BOS guys, as you don't seem so stuffy! :)

    Anyway, without the appearance of a fun or "cool" factor, whether it be beer, bikinis, music, etc, it'll remain a small little niche sport. Coors Light and Hot Tuesday Nights helped make 3 event "cool" in the late 80's. We need to get back to that. Remember 2012's WSM boat buyers guide, where Marcus was holding the beer in the MC section? I thought that was awesome marketing...fun and relaxed in your Prostar. Things like that; make it fun! Now matter how it's announced at a tourny, no one will care if it's not "fun and cool".

    BTW, I prefer "x"off and measure it in feet.
    Scott Calderwood
  • raynrayn Posts: 384 Baller
    Announcers should use both equally for every length announced.
    The pro events could hand out a "vocab" guide for the newbies to understand the speak also.

    Just to latch onto another point made earlier, the fact that it is repetitive can't be one of the factors inhibiting growth, There are many sports that are repetitive/"boring" that have great followings. Sports are about drama and the competition. We need to highlight those and promote, promote, promote. We need skiers to ski and be personalities, sponsors to sponsor, and promoters to promote. Promotion is about pulling the people in and having a great experience.

    Given how good the pros are now, they should start thinking about a minimum starting rope length(to keep it moving) in pro events. You could argue that, with waterski it is the one sport that you actually are watching the athlete warm up during the competition itself which adds to the time the event takes.
    Ray Newmark -
  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,034 Mega Baller
    @rayn there is a hand out I worked on for the Malibu Open that has a lingo guide and world records ect.
    All pro events have a minimum start length for the most part. They do in the finals for sure.
  • raynrayn Posts: 384 Baller
    Announcers should use both equally for every length announced.
    @mattp. That is great work. It has been 20 years since I went to the tour stop on CT, Which was extremely well attended.
    Ray Newmark -
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,583 Mega Baller
    They used to have a pro tour stop in downtown Austin Tx on the river. Its not very good for skiing but great for watching, I have fond memories of those tournaments, it was also used for awsa and college. Lots of exposure with events like that.

    The guide is a good idea.
  • andjulesandjules Posts: 828 Mega Baller
    Announcers should use actual length of rope only (37ft or 35.5ft of rope) not line off rope (38 or 39.5 off the rope) for every length announced.
    Don't really like the A poll choice I chose... simply because it's in feet. We've already got two standards (metric length vs feet-off-75'), so I'm really voting to just go metric. @Horton's idea is interesting but even more complex to a newbie than the already-weird feet-off-75' approach.

    Like many others, I don't believe this is in any way the main challenge to making slalom more exciting to watch. Like @Than_Bogan said, we're looking at way too many 'warmup' passes in elite tournaments. I understand for recreational guys, driving 4-8 hours for a tournament and falling on your first pass sucks. But at a new-spectator-heavy event like Soaked or Moomba or the Malibu Open, top skiers shouldn't be starting at 32 off (oops, 13m). Boring.
  • Stevie BoyStevie Boy Posts: 2,055 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I agree with Marcus, the only problem is, Public water has rules and regulations, these rules and regulations have come about, not only to make the lakes safer but sometimes because of some irresponsible owners of watercraft, with their loud music and inconsiderate behaviour etc, same old story, the mass pay the price for the actions of the minority, this also effects homeowners who live around public lakes, and changes their attitude to "Not in my backyard" most people go to ski at private sites, to go about their business and pursue there sport capitalizing on the best possible skiing conditions, no backwash from other craft etc
    The shame of it all is that the majority of waterskiers who have the own boat, understand the dangers, respect other users and are considerate to property owners around the lakes

    When The Going Gets Tough, Get Stoked !

  • ALPJrALPJr Posts: 1,985 Mega Baller
    edited May 2013
    Announcers should use actual length of rope only (37ft or 35.5ft of rope) not line off rope (38 or 39.5 off the rope) for every length announced.
    @rayn. I took my family of 6 and a combo skiing friend to the pro tour on a pond in Hartford in 98. Easy access right off I84. At least 3 to 4 thousand spectators watching Mapple and Roberge duke it out. Carl won. Seemed to be a sensible location inbetween NYC and Boston. Love to see it come back.

    @marcusbrown well put ! And great video ! What got me into the sport was watching guys and girls rip big turns and throw massive sprays on the rivers, bays and coves in southern NJ. Hanging on the beach and taking turns sitting on the bow of our 50hp outboard so our bigger friends could get up. Today I'm lucky to have a few good public sites within 30 minutes of our eastern CT home. This would be a great place for your grassroots tour.
  • swc5150swc5150 Posts: 2,307 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I agree with @MarcusBrown about public access to a course. From my personal experience, whenever I put my Easy Ed in the lake, there are always a number of people who drive up with curiosity. I'm always more than happy giving pulls or allowing people to use it themselves. It's amazing how many people dig it. What's really neat is seeing how the young kids like it. For most, all they've known is boarding, so this is something totally new to them.

    I'll try to track down that pic of MB. I believe it was 2011, now that I really think about it. Very cool, relaxed pic, that set a vibe I a can relate to.
    Scott Calderwood
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,523 Mega Baller
    @MarcusBrown Public lake skiing: This is perhaps the one area where I am not "part of the problem." I have trained on a public lake for all of my 35 years in the sport (about 15 of that before I discovered tournaments). Where I train now is actually on a state park, which is truly accessible to anyone (with a little effort; there's a tiny tunnel to get to the slalom course), and is within 35 minutes of Boston.

    But in most other respects, I *am* part of the problem. I can make time for some posts and some crazy ideas, but I'm far too comfortable with the status quo to have the energy to take any significant action. The sport serves my need as it is, and while it would be fun for more people to "get" what the hell I'm talking about, as a math-computer nerd I'm pretty used to people not understanding me anyhow!

    I've taught a few people to ski over the years, and help out coaching interested kids when I can. But my priority is on getting myself enough ski time, learning to ski better, and having fun & challenging myself at tournaments.

    I believe an awful lot of the folks in the sport are a lot like me in this regard. It will take a ton of energy and effort from a dedicated group if any substantial changes are to be made. I am not presently ready to be part of that group. I can "support" good efforts, but that's only slightly above the "useless" line.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
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