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Line Lenghts?


So_I_Ski
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For starters, as a newer contributor to this terrific site, forgive me if I am bringing up a topic that has perhaps been beaten to death in a previous post but illogical things get under my skin. So why doesn’t the IWSA address the obvious problem with the line lengths? Logic dictates that as the task becomes exceedingly difficult, incremental changes should go into effect. Only 10 skiers have ever completed 41 off at 36 mph and only a couple of those have ever made it outside ball 2 at 43 off. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see who if anyone could actually run something between 41 and 43 (50 cm or 20”) which is a massive jump considering the difficulty. Since we’re actually dealing with metric line lengths here is my two cents. The next line length after 39 ½ off which is really 10.75 should be 10.50 (almost a 10 inch drop), followed by 10.25 which is the current 41, followed by 10.05 which is then introducing a smaller variance of 8 inches instead of nearly 10. And then another 20 cm at 9.85 which is closing in on 43 and then the last 10 cm or roughly 4” to get to 9.75. Now, if you’re thinking that’s a lot of line lengths, it’s only three new ones at extremely difficult passes. Plus the skier would always have the option of opting up to run whatever they felt confident with. That in itself would introduce more strategy. It would also mean that more of the very best skiers would start at 35 off to save their energy for those harder passes. And it would really define who is where on the world scene with small groups of skiers making each of those lengths past 39 until only one or two were able to get a crack at what is now 43. Most importantly, it would bring the interest back with regard to watching the records fall on at least an occasional basis. By staying at the current lengths, it is quite possible that we will never see a skier complete the 43 off or we might wait 5 more years to even see another ball added. Please comment unless you’ve worn out this topic years ago.
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@solski I don't think it's a bad idea. If you include a loop between 35 and 38 I have no choice but to be enthusiastic about the idea. I almost never miss 35 and only occasionally run 38. I would thoroughly enjoy 36.5 off
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Cool idea, but being a skier who starts at 32 off, adding 3 more passes is way to much, even if we decided to start at 35 off that's still a ton! I mean adding one between 41 and 43 is extremely close to each other but your saying that's 2 more passes extra we would have to run before we even got to 41.
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Cole, as I mentioned and as you already know, a skier is not required to run every line length so the best would not only start at 35 but probably pass at say 39 because they would be quite confident of running the next length. With smaller increments it would introduce a lot more strategy with regard to setting up for conditions like headwinds / tailwinds on harder passes.
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With regard to affecting only one guy with a loop between 41 and 43, that was really what I was advocating. It's the completion of an entire pass that is really exciting, not adding a ball or a half ball. So let's push for at least one loop between 41 and 43 to see who can actually run it. Now that's something to get excited about in just the same way that a lot of ballers were impressed when Brooke ran her 39 a couple of weeks ago. Same thing applies for the guys who have run 39 but never 41. Let's give them a shot at a new and very meaningful line length in between. In a nutshell at those extremes, it makes no sense to be shortening by 20" or 50 cm every time. That is just too big a jump when you are approaching what is virtually impossible and I think we may be there at 43. Let's find out what's possible before we identify what is impossible!
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I get what you're saying, I do, but Nate's been around 4 ball. Freddy around 2 (or more?) and 5 guys currently competing can run into 43 on any given day. In practice, a lot of guys have run pretty deep 43. It's gonna fall.

I do agree that we are approaching impossible lengths, just don't think 43 is one of them. Maybe 44 should be next, rather than 45?

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We've discussed this general topic before, and a few us (I wanna a say large number but still a minority?) would really like to see a 10.0 line (or sure, 9.99 :smile: ). I can respect the idea of rounding all the lengths to a quarter meter, but I think they stuck with 0.5m increments just a bit too far.

 

This would be especially interesting as the population of folks who can run -41 (10.25) increases. It would be super-fun to see them competing for deep 10m runs instead of crossing your fingers that somebody actually turns the 1 ball.

 

I would be strongly opposed to messing with any other line lengths. Those have been around a long time and seem to be working fine.

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A pro tournament would be WAY more exciting to watch if there were two suspenseful passes before 10.25. This can only be done by changing something or other in the precious rule book, I agree with @soIski that we should take a 2nd look at rope measurements. I want to sit on the shoreline, be blown away watching 39.5 (or whatever) then watch the pass knowing each guy has a 50/50 chance of running it. Yes 41 is becoming more commen, but it's still only 10 guys in nearly 20 years!! I'd love to host a pro event with experimental ropes to see how all involved felt about it? I picture it being a blast!!
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I've advocated a 10m line in the past as well. The 0.5m-per-loop approach from -38 (11.25m) is a linear approach to something that's getting exponentially harder... it makes no sense.

 

Some day, we're probably going to have to re-invent/re-engineer slalom as we're approaching the limits of what's possible with our current rules/course dimensions/boat speed. Adding a 10m line would delay that problem for many, many years, in my opinion.

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@Ralph Lee - "A pro tournament would be WAY more exciting to watch if there were two suspenseful passes before 10.25." To whom? To most spectators who don't run the course all the slalom passes look the same. Having more completed passes will just bore them sooner... There are not enough of us who understand what we're seeing to make a difference for the sport as a whole.
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@Ralph Lee I mostly agree with @Roger but the sport needs experiments. I think a line length between 39 and 41 might actually be interesting to people who know what they're looking at but I'm not sure that it changes the show very much.
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The best thing I've seen to date is side by side courses with simultaneous runs. Even a non water-skier knows who wins and it's exciting for us to watch as well. I know, most sites don't have enough space for this, but for pro tournaments, the sites could be selected with this in mind.
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@Roger @Horton my theory is 39.5 and shorter is very noticeable even to the untrained eye. An in between loop is going to bring scrappy skiing and probably several skiers barely getting through the end gates which does draw attention from all spectators! Adding a loop before 41 does require taking away one earlier in the set...
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As @andjules alluded to, we are getting closer and closer to the theoretical limits (well not WE as in me included, but some real skiers are.) I have often wondered what will happen next, when world record reach those theoretical limits, and they become regularly run in tournaments? Increase boat speed?
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@Ralph Lee I think I would personally find it entertaining but I am unconvinced that somebody who doesn't know what they're looking at would know the difference
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@Roger nailed it. When I mention to someone not deep into the sport that the next skier is not going to make the following pass, they look at me as if I were a mentalist. They think all passes look kind of the same. Even when looking 22 off vs 39 off skiers.

 

I do not think anyone that is consistently posting here would go to more pro tournaments or watch more webcasts because an intermediate loop is added beyond 39 off.

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@ral I'm not sure if I agree with you or not, because yes, I'm going to watch every webcast and attend every pro tournament I possibly can regardless. That said, I bet 90% of the spectators could tell a difference between 22 and 40 off (or what ever the conversion is)
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Regarding spectators and improving their experience, I think we can all agree that it is not really a "spectator" sport and never will be until the prize money goes up dramatically and then the sport gets televised. The vast majority of spectators in our sport are all skiers or ex skiers or related to skiers. That said, it comes back to the real reasons for introducing those in between line lengths. First, I'll bet everyone will agree that the person(s) who originally set the next length after 39 at 41 and subsequently put the loop in at 43 was simply having a bad day at the office because as I stated at the beginning and as andjules stated so aptly above .... "a linear approach to something that's getting exponentially harder... it makes no sense." Secondly, for the skiers, and that is all of us from beginners to pros, adding a half ball or a ball to our resume is not nearly as meaningful or exciting as completing an entire pass. The only exception here might be if that half ball sets a new world record. When you think about that would you not all agree? When you or a friend adds a ball or two to your PB there might be high fives and a couple of "nice pass hoser", but a whole pass? That's a night on the town and bragging rights for the next month at least. So let's campaign to improve the experience for all the skiers who bust their tails getting anywhere near those elite skiers and on that note I agree completely with Horton for a loop between 35 and 38 which I happen to have on my line. And if you want those between loops to see what pass you can really complete, see Brenda at In Tow. She makes fantastic lines and handles and will add loops wherever you want for $5. And thanks for all the thoughtful commentary. You guys are the best community on the net.
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@brody - I don't think they see each other. As for the effect on their scores, not from a skiing standpoint, but probably does make a difference in that once one skier misses, the other has won and may elect to continue or not. So if a skier misses at 38 and the other completes the pass, he/she may elect to stop and save energy for the next pairing they are in even though they may be capable of running the next loop. I expect if it was Nate for example and the other guy missed 41, but Nate ran it, he would probably continue to take a shot at the WR.
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@thompjs true but you could swap ropes. A big PIA but possible.

 

Experimental rope lengths are possible. @Ralph Lee you can sanction a class X tournament which is a class C tournament with some experimental rules. Anyone with an idea can do it. Only real "requirement" is to pass along some data/conclusions of your idea to AWSA after the tournament.

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World Rules have a provision (10.04g),that beyond 9.75m, where the next lineoff is 9.50,

that a separate line could be used. Wonder if I will ever see 9.50 attempted? Wonder if

a top elite SL skier today could even get around # 1? 11.50-9.50 = 2 meters to make

up with body and arm stretch.

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@solski, I don't think someone running 43 is as much an "if" as a "when". It might be a long time but I'm confident it will happen. As an extension I think anyone who can put down 6 at 43 has pretty good odds at getting a full buoy at the next line in even if it's a full 10 inches. That being said, I do agree that the next line after 43 shouldn't be 10 inches shorter, I'd be an advocate for a quarter meter in rather than a half at that point.
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Although I support the insertion of a 10m line, I'm extremely skeptical of the idea of making later increments even less than 0.25m. Go much shorter than that, and there is too much variability in the driving, buoy movement (they are in water after all), etc.

 

I just think we should go to 0.25m increments sooner. 10.25, 10, 9.75, 9.5.

 

If we really get to 9.5, then perhaps it's time for a HUGE rethink. Does the boat need to go faster? Do we need horrible rules like auto racing has to gimp the equipment? I'm just not sure that the sport can continue to make sense if we need tiny increments to continue. I think we'd have to do something pretty different.

 

P.S. Of course someone will eventually run 9.75. There is nothing physically impossible about it, and we keep getting better technical knowledge, better equipment, and (arguably) better athletes. It's essentially a 2-rope-length leap, so it may take about twice as long as previous steps did. But that still makes it just a matter of time.

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I LOVE the idea of 36.5 off because it works for me. That said I just looked at my table for the actual lengths (see here) and I can not see a loop between 41 and 43. No one but Nate runs 41 easy. A loop between 39 and 41 sounded good until I looked at it and then I do not think so. 1/2 meter shortenings seem like the right increment.
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Was wondering when someone would see that or make a wisecrack. Edbrazil, have you never seen a "typo"? I'm 63, edjumucated, been typing at 80 wpm since I was 14 and probably have forgotten how to spell more words than most 30 year olds these days have ever heard. And if you have nothing better to do, go back to proofing; there are at least two more in my missives. Heh, heh, heh ....
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Thanks to the Sisters of Mercy who drummed proper English into me. Can't be that

difficult to change the title of a discussion? Or, maybe Horton needs to intervene. I

make finger-fumble typos all the time, but I also review what I'm writing before I

finalize it.

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Ed, brothers in arms we are. I was also taught by nuns in a catholic school from grades 1 to 4 and my mother was a perfectionist with a massive vocabulary so spelling was actually a "strenght" of mine (counldn't resist that). And like yourself, I usually review before I send which I did with the body but I overlooked the title and didn't catch that until the following day. I doubt that the good Mr. Horton has a provision for revisions once posted. Hope we don't get flagged for "off topic" with this exchange.
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Nate looks like he has more then a few inches when rounding one ball too! If I was to bet I'd say he retires with 4.5 or 5.

 

Nate won me over when I watched him ski 41 like his life depended on it, after he already put his competitor out at 39 and had another round to go. That's youth, but also an entertainer and intimidator!

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