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Help me understand the new bouy rule


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In reviewing the below rule regarding having slack, I still have some questions.  Does this essentially mean that if you have slack, ski back to the boat guides, take the hit, but hang on you still only get 1/2?  Even if you ski away?  If thats the case, it makes it too subjective for the judges to interpret how much slack is too much.  They should just make is so if you ski away, you get the bouy, if you don't, you get a 1/2.  Am I interpreting this wrong?

“1 point when the skier has crossed the line of the gate buoys before passing the level of the next buoy (or the end gate in the case of the final buoy) with a tight line under the power of the boat without falling.â€ÂÂThere is no reason to break your back or hurt the boat crew if you end up inside the first set of boat guides with a slack line.  It will only be scored a ½.There is a slight difference in the wording of the rule between AWSA and IWSF, but the intent is to be the same.  IWSF rules apply for class L and R events, which are run according to “world†rules.

Following is the Official Interpretation of this:

There are no differences between AWSA and IWSF.  To receive credit for a full buoy score all of the following must occur:
  1. The skier must cross the near boat guide buoy line
  2. The skier must have a tight line while crossing the boat guide buoy line
  3. The skier must be under the power of the boat (IE being towed by the boat) when crossing the boat guide buoy line
The above is true for all buoys except that for six ball, where the skier is permitted to have slack going through the exit gates.  If the skier skies away then they may continue.  If the skier does not ski away, the turn ends and the skier scores 6 provided they went through the exit gates with or without a slack line 


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to get the full point you need to have taken the hit, and gone inside the boat guide line (wakes) before the next set of guide balls. therefore if you take the hit after the next set you get a half even if you make it back to the near boat guide line. so, if you scream around 3 ball, take the hit and get to the wakes before 4 ball guides come up you get the full point, if not its a half.
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I can't answer this question definitively, but this is a great opportunity to spout:

This attempt to "fix" this rule just emphasizes what a poor rules change it was in the first place!  If you get to the center and you still have the rope, you should get the full ball!

Even after this tweak, there is still plenty of incentive to take big slack hits -- you just have to make sure you take them BEFORE you get back to the line of the boat gates.  Breaking your back and launching stuff at the boat crew is still HIGHLY encouraged...

Personally, I think they went in completely the wrong direction in addressing this.  I believe the notion of the "full" buoy is complete nonsense.  How many times have we all seen somebody stop skiing and drift back to the wakes to get a full buoy and beat whoever is sitting in second place who ended by trying to ski further and thus falling and getting a 1/2 ball.  Moreover, I'd say 90% of the time a score of 5 represents a worse round than a score of 4.5.  The 5 means you had no chance for 6.  The 4.5 means you did -- or at least you thought you did.  Then throw in the fact that you can injure yourself trying to get full balls AT A POINT WHEN ALL THE SKIING IS REALLY DONE, and I think the benefit of the "full ball" rule is extremely dubious.

So I say, if you round the ball, you get the point. That's it.  (Well, OK, 1/4 balls could remain in my scheme -- those represent a fundamentally different situation where you were a mile late.)

I know at first blush what I'm saying sounds incredibly radicial, but take some time to think about it.  I'm a game theory and strategy geek by background, so I don't throw around rules proposals without thinking through what they *really* mean.  For example, it seems like this would result in more ties.  I believe it wouldn't, because once you get rid of full balls, then there is NEVER an incentive to stop skiing.  Under current rules, if I'm in a runoff and the guy before me gets 2 @ -38, then if I get to 2 in anything but perfect shape, then I'm going to stop skiing, take the tie, and try again.  But if there's no such thing as full balls, then I always try to get to 3.  This totally prevents "tie targetting" and just lets everybody get as many buoys as they can.  Sure, there will still be ties.  But I doubt significantly more -- and possibly fewer.

I've been talking about this with skeptical skiers for a couple of years now, and nobody has convinced me I'm wrong.  In fact, I've convinced quite a few people who have thought about it for long enough.  Perhaps one of you will be the first to convince to me I am full of crap!


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