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science of the sport


Razorskier1
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Watched the x games last night. They had a segment called science of the sport where they analyzed various disciplines and athletes. Particularly interesting was their analysis of Shawn White. From the top of the half pipe they showed how he took more speed into the pipe and jumped up as he entered to start higher up, thus generating more speed. They said 1mph of speed could change his height on the other side by as much as 3 feet. They also talked about angle across the pipe. There is, as it turns out, an optimal amount of angle across the pipe to generate maximum upward movement on the other side, which I believe they said was about 85 degrees. Less angle and you travel too far down the pipe rather than up. Too much and you lose speed. In both cases, you lose height.

 

Now, this sounds to me a lot like slalom. For example, if you glide faster into your turn in from a wider point on the boat, you will carry more speed across course, generating more width on the other side. After you turn the one ball, you set angle and head the other direction. Similar to the snowboard example, setting the right amount of angle generates both maximum speed and width to the next buoy. Somebody needs to call ESPN and have them put this science to skiing.

 

 

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I saw that segment as well. Very interesting, even though I have never been snow boarding/skiing. I love watching the summer and winter XGames every year ESPN does a great job with their broadcast. Someone needs to call ESPN and have them put skiing back on TV! With all the camera HD, 3D, GOPro stuff they have these days, the quality of commentators, the special effects like skier speed, path, hight, angle ect. that they show and the money they have if we could get a two hour highlight in primetime for the ONLY true pro event in the US this year on TV it would do great things for the sport. Think of the possibilities. So if you tell me there is not a single person in this industry that is not best friends with a bigwig at ESPN I would be shocked.
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I hate to break it to you guys but slalom skiing is fundamentally boring. I mean six balls? thats it? Why not 20? Its just back and forth its boring but the spray looks cool and the guys are kinda cute. Im just ask these questions from a spectators point of view.
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O.B. is correct in the fact that around 8 passes in Slalom is the greatest workout in the shortest amount of time I have ever seen. It's one of the things I Love about it. Plus with the adrenaline flowing, you really don't notice how hard your working so many major muscle groups at the same time. When I go to the Gym I spend 2 1/2 hours to even feel close to one Slalom set, and it's not anywhere near as much fun.

 

Definitely the Fountain of Youth for us old Guy's.

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I am not talking about putting just slalom on TV yes I know it is boring, but can be shown better on TV with overhead cameras, showing skiers speed, deceleration, and picking the speed back up. GoPro Cameras in the course on the buoys, (Nascars gopher cam style) I am talking about 3 event Jump will be the big attention trick possibly second and slalom third.

 

Wakeboarding did not survive the XGames because ABC/ESPN had to foot the bill for a second entire broadcast team to do the wakeboarding outside of the Staples Center and surrounding venues that were already set up for Broadcast TV. It was just not economically feasible for them to do this. If you watch the summer XGames MasterCraft still sponsors the events and there is usually a boat or two on the motocross track. I did not say add Watersking to the XGames but it could go that route with the help of wakeboarding and the people in that side of the sport who have the bigger connections with the action sports community (Red bull, monster, oakley, ect) It has been years since XGames had wakeboarding and it might be time to try to get it back in.

 

Let us (3 event) have our own 2 hour event on ESPN one Sat afternoon in the summer drop one baseball game, or a drag race... and see where it goes. You never know until you try. If pitched the right way it can be done. I know some people in the industry that are working on different ideas of where this sport on the Pro side should be going. Some of these ideas are amazing and you will think of why did I not think of that.

 

I have been thinking of ideas and working on a proposal of a new standard of Pro Event. Fell free to leave comments or ideas no matter how outlandish they might be. You never know what might work.

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Slalom should be head to head like drag racing, courses side by side, go around all of the balls, first skier across wins! Boats go as fast as they have to get their skier through the end gates first. Just a thought, it would make sense to Joe Public.

"Do Better..."

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i was more focused on the science side and how it applies to slalom than on the side of getting skiing back on TV (which is also interesting). I just figured if they could do precise math like that for halfpipe, they should be able to do the same precise math for waterskiing.
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What is the difference with downhill skiing, it's just someone skiing around gates as they go down the hill. But the general public has an understanding for the sport, and and the difficulty of what's going on. Personaly I don't think the general public would be interested in our sport unless they are educated on what's going on. Just like Tal28, he free skies but clearly doesn't see the difficulty in the course because he has never attempted it. As soon as he attempts it he will have a different look on the sport. It seems like almost everyone who free skies that has never been in the course sees it as "how hard can that be" or "I can do that". If someone has never attempted a course they're not going to understand the difficulty thats involved. A science to skiing bit would give people more understanding to our sport which might spark interest, but who knows. Not worth much, but that is my 2 cents

 

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Wow -- math AND slalom skiing. That should get an audience of ... maybe me if I'm a little bored.

 

Slight kidding aside: Live slalom is a pretty terrible spectator sport. Hard to argue otherwise. But it might be possible to cut it and add data to it in a way that is fast-paced, interesting, exciting, and different. Then again, it might not. Big risk for somebody to take and you really gotta get it just right.

 

Minor note: Some aspects of the math in snowboarding are really easy because you get into a state of free-fall. Slalom math is just a wee bit harder... Of course, if someone wants to pay me and my team of mathematicians, I'm sure we could figure more of it out!

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@travnews I think the difference with downhill skiing is that a lot more people ski than water ski and even then nobody watches people skiing gates. The extreme stuff gets viewers but unless it is the Olympics almost nobody watches ski racing.
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Lets be honest though. Olympic ski racers make way more money than our pros, people watching or not.

 

I have thought about this sport science thing when seeing this on during the X Games and other ESPN things. I believe How Its Made went to Radars facilities to show how they make the strada. I think a show like sports science would be great for this sport.

 

I always wanted to put a load cell on the rope and see the forces we put, maybe some accelerometers on the ski and skier to see the g's we subject our bodies to and etc. I suppose it is the engineer in me. I just know this stuff is expensive and the software even more expensive to capture all of this data.

 

 

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Watching Miller and Scott go head to head at the Cypress Big Dawg there wasnt any one there that looked bored. Watching Nate run 41 boring NOT!!! Skiing your PB priceless not boring!! Waching your friend PB. never boring. Slalom is not boring its just not for the average Joe. Golf is not boring if you are a fan but some people cant watch.

NASCAR is very boring unless you are a fan. No matter though I have found a new favorite spectator sport LINGERIE FOOTBALL we need to bring a team to Shreveport Yeah!!

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@ OB that's what I was trying to say. Completely agree.

 

I'm not trying to compare snow to water. I'm just saying more people understand downhill snow skiing. Not a lot of people understand our sport, I think that stops interest in our sport. If someone watching doesn't understand what's going on i.e: shorting the rope, the gates . . . ect or if they don't understand how hard it is, they will have no interest in watching. That's all I was trying to say.

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I think if we amped up the technical side, like show mph amd lbs of resistance imposed in a corner of the screen, different camera angles, or maybe ring card girls to hold up the rope length like boxing round number, we might help ourselves.

 

You can't tell me watching a 400 mile NASCAR race is exciting the whole way through.

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The shame of it is that it was popular in the 80's, with Tournament coverage on ESPN, and shows like "Hot Summer Nights." They had great commentators, who did a fantastic job of explaining all 3 events and creating excitement. I still remember coverage in the 90's, with Wade and Andy battling it out. It seems those were the Glory Years, it peaked, and now it's Reality Shows that I think suck !!!
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For tv coverage and crowds I think we need to make it more exciting and maybe a bit more theatrical as much as I hate that thought.

Fireworks and guys going head to head calling each other up on the dock, side by side courses.

With jump this is easier, look at the crowds for night jump comps, so take this a step beyond by making it a bit more like the 'crusty demons' etc

Still have the hard core slalom etc for in the core sport events but run the other events for tv and the crowds

 

Thoughts?

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My son just had an interview for a school and had to write an impromptu essay on what makes him different and he wrote that he was a competitive water skier. The interviewer had never met anyone else that was a competitive skier and it made for a great topic of conversation.

 

This is cool but also part of the problem. There isn't enough to hold interest for most people that don't ski competitively.

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Same with my daughter. But I've been able to teach several of her friends to ski and they think riding in the boat is like a roller coaster ride. They all want to see her ski. But still would like another competitive skier on the lake her age to challenge each other and have fun with it.
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If you want an example at how an announcer than make things exciting just listen to Tadd Schreiber announce. I am pretty sure he could make basket weaving exciting. I think if you can get millions of people to watch an entire nascar race we could get a head to head tournament happen. You don't really even need to know the line lengths to make it exciting, just who ever gets the farthest.
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