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Boat crew / officiating / technical errors


LeonL
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Sort of a branch off the discussion on B3 Nationals. I'm from KY and did not go to Nationals. Out of our small contingent (15 I think) skiers 2 of them experienced either technical or just plain boat crew errors that disrupted their skiing, sometimes to a considerable detriment. Seeing as how that percentage of Kentuckians experienced problems, I'd be curious as other people that you guys know from across the country that also had things like receiving wrong speed or line length, no times from ZO or just simply bad things happen to them that just should not have happened at the pinnacle of competition in our sport. I, in no way want appear on a witch hunt, or personalize this, but if we find that there is a healthy percentage of skiers that experienced some of the above, maybe we need to shine a spotlight on it. If not I'll just keep my mouth shut.
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@LeonL All of the officials are only human and they are volunteers. Believe me, when something goes wrong for a skier, no one feels worse about it than the officials working the event. I've been there myself as the boat judge in a Big Dawg stop. As for your questions about issues at Nationals, I was on the shore for the better part of 3 days and only heard about the B3 issue. Considering there were over 600 skiers at nationals, 2 issues is well above a 99% success rate.
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My son had to get out of the water and wait 40 minutes while they fixed a boat in the middle of the Boys 2 draw. I was a little surprised that they didn't have another Mastercraft teed up and ready to go but I told him it was just tough luck. He didn't really ski that well but I don't think it was the boat issue he ran his first two passes then the gremlins got him on the third pass. This was definitely just a bad luck thing.
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Lllong time ago at nationals, the driver went so crooked into the course on the main lake at Okeeheelee, I decided to skip my third pass and opted up to my 39 pass so I didn't have to try 39 on the crooked side. Bad decision. Been pulled at 34 in pro tours more than once, that's what I get for being the last seed there. Stuff happens.
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I was at Nationals all week and heard and saw many dis functional episodes on and off the water.

Wont go into them however one thing that I came to grips with many years ago is this, for a large percentage of the officials and drivers the nationals is only the second record level tournament they have worked all year with their Regional's being the first. A number of these officials only attend class c tournaments and really do not have REL experience. Another observation is that the level of technical hardware competence at the nationals does not keep up with the rules set forth.

For the most part this years Nationals was a success and skiers skied well. Their were a few surprises and most of the problems I witnessed was due to official's arrogance and their lack of social skills.

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@jody seal, The last sentence of your post applies to the primary incident that precipitated this thread. The B3 skier who had the two passes with no time -- after the second pass with no time, he said to the judge "Nationals, and you can't get boat times?" The boat judge responded to him "you need to show some sportsmanship." If that isn't arrogance I don't know what is. If things go wrong while I'm in the boat I get pretty humble and apologetic to the skier. Your comment about REL experience is spot on, however some of the problems I heard of had no relevance to class. As a couple of you posted, I realize that officials are only human and volunteers, but when you sit down in that boat you have to up your game, and the driver and judge have to really be a team -- judge verifying that the driver changed speeds and driver verifying that the judge shortened the rope. No place for pride or sensitive feelings. The skier deserves no less.
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@LeonL I agree 100% and I certainly apologize to the B3 skier who had the missed times both for the technical glitch and any unwelcomed comments or attitudes - both are unfortunate. As noted in another thread I was the ACJ assigned to the lake for that event and accept full responsibility for the performance of the officials team at the lake (judges, drivers, scorers, etc). I make it a priority to assure the skier gets the fairest/best pull possible within the rules regardless of the 'gremlins' encountered. That also means it needs to be fair to all the other contestants in the event as well which should be part of the decision process.

 

While I wasn't in the boat for the pass, I was on the radio and informed of the issues and asked about to confirm the skiers options. I was not aware of any out of line comments - unintentional or not - until the recent information here.

 

The goal is for every skier to have a good experience and fair conditions. As can be imagined, if something unusual is going to happen, it's probably going to happen at the Nationals. Sometimes the solution to a problem is pretty straight forward and other times it's more challenging.

 

 

 

 

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This is very, very tough, because ultimately the officials are volunteers. If you want Nationals to REALLY get expensive, we could have paid crews and train them up on the newest tech and rules every year.

 

Barring that, it's going to be incredibly difficult to organize and coordinate such a crew over such a complex and long event.

 

Also, I personally have witnessed quite a few simply incorrect scores called in at Nationals (and Regionals). What I still can't figure out is how 3 (or in one case 4) of 5 judges can all miss a call. I wonder if over the course of a long, hot, repetitive day, it just becomes impossible to fully concentrate.

 

I can understand why a skier who is trying his/her best for a National title could be very grumpy about any anomalies, but unless somebody can suggest some practical ways to improve it, I'm afraid that is the way it is.

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I am with Shane, just happy there are enough people to put on Nationals. The sport is smaller, and there seem to be less highly qualified volunteers to put on an event, therefore the chances of things going wrong is higher. Just my opinion.

 

I personally had a gate zeroed (I knew it was close), talked to the officials, pursued the review (they confirmed 0) but was totally happy with how my Nationals ride was handled. I am already pumped to come back and get it right next year.

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@klindy - thanks for stepping forward and taking responsibility. That's the right way to respond to this.

 

The skier comment mentioned above was not ideal and could be considered disrespectful when a youth says this to an adult. However, the skier's concern is valid even if the words chosen were not the best.

 

But I must say, the judge response cited was also inappropriate. It makes me question if the judge was in the boat for the service of the skiers or the service of him or herself. It seems that the judge was not respectful of the skier, which tells me that he or she was not putting the skier’s best interests as the top priority.

 

 

Separate from this specific event, I just want to say something about judges and serving skiers at events…

I have known judges that seek notoriety through their involvement in upper echelon events. When the judge's own image begins to oversee the service to the skier, then we have a problem. Such individuals need to be privately contacted and the concern voiced in a respectful way. They need to be told that their approach to judging has been noted as selfish when it should be serving. If the problem continues or generates future situations, the judge needs to be removed from service.

 

When there is a perception of a resource constraint, the worst thing we can do is accept poor service out of fear of insufficient number of servants. I am continually amazed at how when a hole is created by trimming out the bad, something better always grows to fill the hole. Consider how many more capable and skier-oriented judges might be just one level below the radar and could rise up to fill the hole created by trimming the dead weight...

 

Just a reminder, I'm not saying that this particular judge in this B3 incident needs to be cut. I don't know who he or she is, what their service history is like, what the context of the day was, what other factors might have led this person to make that comment, and so on. It is not my place to judge their fate in the sport, and I am not suggesting so.

 

However, I am saying that we should not be afraid to address poor service, redirect it, and if necessary, trim the bad apples in order to continue to pursue excellence in our sport.

 

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@ToddL Thanks for the note. The atmosphere on the B3 event (and G3 preceding it) was purposefully light. By that I mean we encouraged the skiers and there were alot of fist pumps and other "cool" stuff. I know the judge, I repect their ability and knowledge of the rules, etc. I stongly believe the comment was as much misinterpreted as anything (i.e. - not meant to demean or offend). That said it's important to remember (class F or Nationals or anywhere) that it's not only what you say but also how it's perceieved.

 

We're all here because we enjoy the sport and want it to grow and prosper. One thing I'm sure if is that nothing was meant to demean or otherwise offend the skier (or anyone else). Some folks like to talk and joke when they ski and other want no comment whatsoever. Both are fine but each are sometimes difficult to know what's appropriate.

 

I'm in no way defending what was said or how the comment was perceived - frankly I didn't hear it myself. Nor am I suggesting it didn't happen, but in the heat of the moment we all react and comprehend differently.

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I know people work hard and are very passionate about skiing but I cant help to think that these issues suck the fun and enjoyment right out of the skiing. I agree that you are either a Pro and pay and complain accordingly, or you are an amateur and thankful you have a pot to piss in.

 

I would recommend to the latter, that you serve your fellow skiers as much as you ski, and through that service and interaction, find ways to improve consistency in ALL areas of tourney skiing.

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@Than, agreed. @klindy, thanks. Yes, perceptions become reality.

I hope I was clear that my comments about ego over service were not specifically directed at this judge. Rather, I was addressing the general situation where such comments as offered above suggest a problem of priorities.

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@klindy, having never met you I can still say that you are a class act individual. If the world had more people like you and the sport had more officials like you, life would be better off for it. Your effort to reach out the skier in question goes far above the call of your responsibilities. Thank you. I can only hope that the skier correctly related the dialog to me, otherwise I'm looking like the bad guy. He's pretty reliable and trustworthy, but as I posted in another thread, there may have been "a failure to communicate."
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@LeonL - it's all good. Good conversation hopefully leads to improvement. Like I said, we all do this because we enjoy it. I've been a 3-event skier for a long time and have been on both ends of the line. Unfortunately it's just as easy to break at the waist around 2 ball as it is to fail to shorten the rope in a big tournament (I've done both!!).
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This one may fall under technical errors!

So I get a phone call from my son (Steve-O) who is at the jump lake and he say's I gotta get over their quick... Ok so off in the golf cart I go to the jump lake, find my son and ask whats up?? He say's dad look over at the jump ramp!!! Crap!!! What do I see? the Techies have about 8 cinder blocks stacked on the platform of "MY BOAT!" No towel, no carpet, no nothing right on top of the sea deck and gel coat! I came close to loosing it until I started to listen to my son who had lost it and wanted revenge on the Techies!

So at that point my elder age took over and settled Steve-O down and then kindly asked the techies to get the "dirty Word" cinder blocks off my platform!! NOW!!!! They did jump to it as they could see life for them could get ugly real quick. By the time they returned to the dock I had a good conversation with the young Techie man and asked him why he thought it was necessary to utilize my boat for a pick up truck ? He said I thought it was a promo boat!...... ??????? At that point Steve-O Wanted to dance on the guy's hood of his Nice GMC pick up.. I should have let him do it after that statement!

 

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@jody seal

I try to keep the tone of this web site professional and friendly. I never condone violence but in this case => if one of your son’s had beaten this techie within an inch of his life I would say it might have been necessary. I don’t even own a boat that this story makes me super angry.

 

 Goode  KD Skis ★ MasterCraft ★ PerfSki ★ Radar ★ Reflex ★ S Lines ★ Stokes

Drop a dime in the can

 

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"no times from ZO" I have never seen no times from ZO, but I have seen wacky times when you have two courses mapped on parallel lakes (like we have at Okeeheelee) and you have the lake you are not on selected. I suspect this is what happened. Most of the drivers probably had never seen this before and were (maybe) used to leaving ZO in auto course select mode. You can't do that at parallel lake setups like Okeeheelee if you want the end course timer to function, you have to select the course you're on (otherwise, ZO will get a correct time while in the course, but while the boat is turning around, will select the other course and cancel the end course timer). They probably used the boat on the turnpike lake earlier and then, when it was brought to the main lake, the main lake course was not selected.
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Calm down Horton before we have to end this thread!

 

I can say that in the last day of Nationals we had to take our second Slalom boat and utilize it as the first one had GPS Receiver failure due to the mass amount of rain on Friday. It had caused control and timing issues. Hopefully Jim has since got it replaced.

 

 

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@Jody seal I was on the MC promo team in the 80s and 90s I know how you feel. At times I felt I had to constantly watch my boat at tournaments.

 

I'm assuming the promo programs are still the same. With all respect, to those how don't understand how the promo programs work:

 

These boats are owned by individuals. These boats may be used at functions outside tournaments to represent the boat Manufacturer. The individual must sell the boats themselves (or with help from the dealership) in order to get the next years boat. The Promo member gets some compensation but in no way are they making money off this when they're time and effort is considered. There were several years I had to add money above the previous years selling price to get the next years.

 

These boats need to be kept in pristine condition so they sell easy as possible for a good price in order for the promo programs to continue. Very much like the judge situations, these promo boat owners are volunteers and folks attending the tournaments should be thankful for both. Most are but a few bad apples can cause problems, damage etc.

 

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@Roger The same boat was used in the first half of the group (about 22 skiers before a crew change) and worked fine for the first 2-3 skiers in the second half. Don't know if somehow the wrong button was pushed or if it was some unexplainable anomaly.

 

@LeonL I had a really nice phone conversation with Ryan's mother this evening. I explained what happened and assured her it was our collective goal to give every skier the best ride possible. They were all shocked he continued at risk at -32 but were happy he skied the pass with little trouble. If I understood things correctly he actually set a new PB (even practice) so while it may have been frustrating at the time they all were pretty stoked with the final score.

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@ShaneH Might be better to stay cool, even try to laugh/joke about it, and let the driver know how much you appreciate his efforts. (I know that would be hard) You have nothing to gain by getting mad, and everything to lose. You depend on your driver, and the last thing you'd want is him mad at you. Just assume he is sincerely trying his hardest to fix the problem (might even be embarrassed by it), and is already under the gun, trying to remedy the problem go get you back on track a.s.a.p. Even if he wasn't, your concentration would likely go out the window if you let your emotions get involved.
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This has been interesting, but strayed from the initial intent -- to poll Ballers as to whether any of them or any one that they knew experienced wrong speed, line length or other similar wrongs. No one indicated that, which leaves me to believe that the high percentage of errors within the the small group of skiers from our area was an aberration and overall (at least within Ballers knowledge) there were no other such mistakes made. Thanks for the input.
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It does happen, just not real common (in my experience). I recently saw a new (to tournaments) skier get injured in a tournament. We found out when he got back to the dock that the driver had him going 2 mph faster than he was supposed to be going. Very unfortunate mistake, especially with the new skier trying so hard, then getting injured. Very nice guy. Bummer! Thank God it is rare.
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I guess we are spoiled to good drivers in my area. They always call out the settings before taking off on every pass. Rope, Speed, ZO. This creates a habit of validation and confirmation. When something isn't right, one of the three people involved (driver, judge, or skier) will notice and speak up.
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I heard that Al Luck started at 28 off ran 3 pass and then was told by boat crew that he was at 35. Not sure what happened. He then had to take 35 off in the wrong direction from his plan because of the mix up.
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Harder to consider at nat's I'm sure. I've run a tourney set where my opener is 28 and it was actually 22. Thought I was "on". When PP first came out I ran 28 off 5 times before getting a fast enough time at 36 mph...32 really sucked at that point as I was gassed, even though my battle was typically at 35. Have had drivers mow down buoys on one side of the course...which was not a big deal til 38 off. I'm sure everyone's heart is in the right place. Similar to other aspects of our lives, crucial conversations handled professionally are often necessary.
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@6balls - I had a similar experience when I ran my 1st 28off pass in a tournament in 2000. Slow boat time, not once but twice. Finally ran it with a good time on the 3rd attempt. That was back in the PP days and I'm sure the driver was trying to do me a favor by setting the system up on the slow side of the tolerance. That doesn't happen these days with ZO.
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@kelvin funny thing was in years prior the same driver was hand driving me no problem. I asked him after two passes to turn it off and just drive it. I do appreciate ZO and the lack of re-rides as a result. The only issue I have had since ZO was the one mentioned, a driver chewing up the boat guides on one side.
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@LeonL

Ok, I'll bite...I'm not sure if this would be considered an error or not, but I thought it was a little wack, especially for the Nationals.

I was on the dock, in my bindings, and about to ski...when the boat came back to the dock and said, "hold the skier." So I pulled out of my bindings and looked to see what was up. The driver then told the dock to radio to the safety boat to see if they wanted to come in and grab a sandwich, as the event boat crew was doing. They did, and both boats sat there eating their sandwiches at the dock...for what seemed like ten minutes. It was a 140 minute event, and we were near the middle. My thought was, couldn't they have done it before or after the event. I'm a longshot for a medal, but I spent more than a grand to go and ski like everyone else. I have my little ritual to prepare to ski and this wasn't part of it. I wonder if they would have done this in the middle of MM or OM/OW in the same fashion. Had I known there was going to be a break in the event, I would of prepared a little differently...I drive and I judge. We always warn skiers if there's going to be a break, and it typically happens between events, and definitely not in the middle of a two hour event unless something truly warrants it. If I'm off base, I apologize for bringing it up. Maybe we all do things a little differently, but volunteering, helping, sacrificing...whatever you want to call it, it's still supposed to be about what's best for the skier; otherwise, go do something else.

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Wow, that's disrespectful at least, and perhaps pompous and arrogant. Actually, I've been worked around more as an open skier than an age class skier. The assumption being that open skiers should be more adaptable (correct assumption IMHO)
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