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Please explain how tourneys work?

rodltg2rodltg2 Posts: 1,051 Crazy Baller
edited July 2012 in Technique & Theory
I think saw a post about this before but I could not find it so I apologize. So I am entering my first tournament this Saturday . I have had no practice time lately due to death in family so this ought to be great. Anyway I dont understand how tournaments really work as far as scoring and such. Looking at the running list, I am for sure going to be dead last in my division if line lenght is how its scored. Dirt is on the list for gods sake! So is it basically by age group only? No handicap or ball count type of thing? Sorry but I am clueless!


  • itch2skiitch2ski Posts: 53 Baller
    I am interested in this as well. I have never entered a tournament, the wife and I have been thinking it could be fun. We ski well below the 36 and 34 mph most tournament skiers ski at. How do the categories work?
  • skier2788skier2788 Posts: 769 Crazy Baller
    Ok here is a real basic outline. Categories are based on age. Every age group has a different starting speed and top speed. Everything is based on bouy count no handicaps or anything. So if your groups starting is 26 mph and 15 off and you run a full opening pass of 34 mph 15and off you get all the bouys for 26 to 34 mph which is five passes so a score of 30 bouys. If you start at 34mph and 32 off and get 5 you get a score of five because you didnt complete your first pass. Always want to run the opener. You can see the age breakdown for each category on awsa website. Hope this helps
    Travis Torley
  • bdoughertybdougherty Posts: 86 Baller
    You may want to check if there is a grassroots division in the sanctioning of the tournament. If so it is for men, women or children who are beginners or ski under their divisions maximum speed. The grassroots division is usually a little looser and allows for beginners to get extra passes. The down fall is the scores will not be recorded in the AWSA rankings. It is a good way to break into the tournament scene.
  • schroedschroed Posts: 162 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    Where is this tournament? You never know what state @dirt will be skiing in.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,008 Mega Baller
    One addition to @skier2788 starting speeds are all at longline not 15 off. @rodltg2 don't worry about how you ski. In my experience everyone's really supportive. There will be people there like Dirt capable of running into 39 and there will be people that are trying to run 28 mph. The tournament is ikely multi round so you will get wet multiple times. Pick a starting speed you run 100% of the time and don't be shocked if you miss it. Most of all have fun and meet some new people.
    Mark Shaffer
  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,415 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Here's a few thoughts -

    First thing - Have fun! Waterskiing is a competitive sport but it's important to remember everyone is there because they truly enjoy the sport so enjoy yourself and have fun! Getting involved is a great way to learn what's going on and support the sport.

    When you get onsite look for someone registering skiers. You'll need to fill out an entry, sign a release and pay an entry fee (all of which may have been sent in or filled in online but you should check in anyway). You'll need to be a member of USAWS so be prepared to show your membership card or you can sign up on site.

    The competition is primarily aged based so you'll be in a group with others close to your same age (Page 7 here - Tournament organizers can mix up groups in lots of different ways so look for a running order to determine when you ski.

    Take a few minutes to read through the rules for slalom (same link above starting at Page 41. Go to other sections for Jump and/or Tricks). We all know what a slalom course looks like and some of the rules may not apply to all the tournaments but it's a good idea to understand what the judges are looking for and how your performance will be scored.

    The suggestions above to see if there's a grassroots division is a good one. The division is perfect for newcomers and offers a little more flexibility meant to help flatten the learning curve and keeping things fun. Most times you'll essentially get a potential mulligan if, for example, you don't make your first pass, etc. Once you perform to a certain threshold (max speed @15off?) you'll need to ski in your age division from then on.

    When it's close to your turn, get all your stuff together and head down to the starting dock. You'll get a sense of the pace of things pretty quick. Ask around to see who skis one or two people in front of you and keep an eye on when they head out to ski. Sometimes running orders are adjusted on the fly (non-seeded tournaments like typical local tournaments only) to accommodate officials so just go with the flow.

    When your turn arrives, be ready to ski when the boat gets back to the dock. If you have your own handle pass it to the boat crew. Tell them your starting speed and rope length and perferred ZO setting. Some folks like to chat a lot others are pretty quiet but generally the skier sets the tone so if talking to the boat crew at the end of the lake helps, go for it. Here's a good primer on possible subject matter -

    When you ski, expect a good pull. Drivers and judges are there to make the competition fair and enjoyable for everyone and the goal is to follow the rules. When you fall don't expect the boat to come pick you up, usually we swim to shore and start the long walk back to the starting dock. Pay attention to where most folks walk back, nothing's more miserable than having to walk back on the "wrong" side of the lake! If you have a hard fall and assuming you're alright, wave to let everyone you're fine since there are folks responsible for safety looking for some indication.

    Since most tournaments are multi-round, it's basically - lather, rinse and repeat! While you're waiting for your turn, get involved! Tournaments everywhere are run by volunteers. Scorers, judges, drivers, safety, tech controllers, etc. are generally skiers doing what it takes to make things work. Every tournament has a chief judge, chief scorer and chief driver. Each slalom pass has a driver, scorer, and three judges (or 5) determining your score and recording it. If judging or scoring sounds interesting, ask the chief judge/scorer if you can help. They'll put you with another scorer or judge to 'shadow' what's going on and they will be more than happy to walk you through the responsibilitiies. If driving is more your thing, ask. Beginning drivers help with moving boats around, refueling, etc. but certainly a chance to ride in the boat for a group or two will give you a good idea of how things work. For any of these officials positions there are simple 1-2 page forms which get filled out to record your 'work' history. Once complete you can aspire to a higher level. Getting involved (and/or other skiing and non-skiing friends and family!) keeps things interesting and really does make a difference running the tournament.

    Finally, again, have fun! Don't expect to set a record at your first tournament but DO expect to meet some great people eager to get you involved and always happy to share their passion for a sport we all love.

    Good luck this weekend and let us all know how it goes!!! By the way, look up @Dirt while you're there.
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Vice President
    AWSA Southern Region EVP
  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,365 Crazy Baller
    @skier2788 adding on to what @chef23 said -- scoring is "zero based" meaning that buoy counts are based on long line and 25 kph (15.5 mph). So in the example you sited ( 34 -15 full pass) the score would be 72 buoys.
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,823 Mega Baller
    @klindy did a great job describing the experience and what to expected! I'll add a suggestion. You will likely have a lot of spare time waiting to ski or in between ski sets. Locate the slalom judges towers. Typically they are near 1-ball turn buoys. Walk over, introduce yourself as a new tournament skier, and ask if you can come up and watch how the judging works. The towers are a great view of other skier's skills and sitting with a tournament judge is a great way to learn the scoring. Judges are typically very involved and supportive of the sport and will welcome an interested newcomer. You will likely be encouraged to consider learning how to be a judge in the future. Judging is a great way to keep involved during the down time between ski sets. If you are interested in the trick event, do the same thing. Try to locate the trick judges' area. They will be located typically on the shore mid-way down the lake where the trick skiers are skiing. The trick judges will not be able to converse as much and will expect you to be very quiet and out of the way when they are observing a skier's performance. Still, if you sit back and observe you can learn a lot.

    Also, there are always things that need to be done at a tournament which do not require special training. You can offer to transport stuff. Trick judges may need help taking the scoring sheets (Pink Sheets) to the scorer's station (the people sitting at computers). There may be someone helping with food or distributing water to the judges and drivers. The starting dock always works well with a dock starter coordinating the skiers, ropes, and handles. Watch the current person's activities and ask questions. This is a great task that lets you meet nearly everyone skiing and working that event. Plus, you gain awareness of skiers' starting speeds and ZO settings, handle preferences. You get to see what skis are most popular, bindings, etc.

    I guess the main thing is you will get out of a tournament what you put into it. Take advantage of the time by getting involved and meeting your local skiers.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,415 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @ToddL -"I guess the main thing is you will get out of a tournament what you put into it. Take advantage of the time by getting involved and meeting your local skiers." <-- best advice on the thread!
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Vice President
    AWSA Southern Region EVP
  • rodltg2rodltg2 Posts: 1,051 Crazy Baller
    Thanks for the great advice. I had a great time and I guess is did ok. My normal sets ( at least this year) have been 15,22 and scrap up a couple at [email protected] At the tournament I decided to slow the boat down to guarentee my opener. My best round I ended up skiing 3.25 @ 22 /34mph. So about a full pass less than practice. I got the bug now and will probably start skiing more tournys in the future.

    I was hoping to have a beer wiht Horton after the event , but he left before I could catch up with him and introduce myself. So I just had a few by myself anyway!
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,008 Mega Baller
    Congratulations on your first tournament. Welcome to the insanity.
    Mark Shaffer
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,612 Mega Baller
    Awesome! Enjoy.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,415 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Awesome!!! Next time introduce yourself to Horton first!! In sure he'll promise you a beer after you ski and spend at least one group judging or on the starting dock!

    Glad you caught the bug!!
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Vice President
    AWSA Southern Region EVP
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,348 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    yah @rodltg2 I have to think if there are any tourney experienced ballers and you identify yourself as a baller at first tourney they would take you under their wing, explain everything, introduce you around and stuff you full of beer.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,008 Mega Baller
    It can be tough sometimes to spend time with people if you are involved in judging etc. I know @harddock came to a tourney and he introduced himself early but I didn't have as much time as I would like to talk to him.
    Mark Shaffer
  • harddockharddock Posts: 177 Baller
    Mark, We had talked through 15 off (the site) and I wanted to put faces to names. I understand there was alot going on especially with the amount of skiers. I appreciate that you even watched Blake ski and offered some advise. I know evryone is working hard for their PB @ Easterns, and Nationals. Once that is over maybe some folks can tweak his technique and get him on his way.
    I had a great time @ Oakham seeing some old friends and making some new ones. After watching a video of the Regionals Blake tried skiing on a trick (got up 1st try) and is talking maybe a go at the jump. We are already discussing [email protected] April's for next year.
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