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BallOfSpray -“What now?”


Horton
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This week I was talking to one of the very first Ballers about the growth of the site. His comment was something like “Now what are you going to do?”

 

That is kind of a funny question. “What now?” This site is now arguably the largest media outlet in the sport so what is the plan? What is the mission statement?

 

I started my first forum because I could not find what I was looking for elsewhere. At its best BallOfSpray is where skiers come to exchange advice and stories. It is a community open to anyone who loves skiing. Some of the content on this forum is pure fun and some is all about buoys.

 

Sometimes this site is a sounding board for USAWS members. BallOfSpray is not for or against USAWS, AWSA or INT. I am for slalom skiing. I am for three event skiing. I want to see the sport grow and flourish. BallOfSpray is committed to the promotion of the sport. My message to Holy Cow Rd is, “Thousands of skiers read this site every week. Feel free to use this forum to communicate with them”. Same goes for INT.

 

Occasionally this site is where skiers come to talk about good and bad experiences with the ski and boat manufactures. I hate to read about the bad experiences regardless of the company. As long as the review is first hand and honest, we all should hear it. I know the ski manufactures read the site so they are hearing the feedback also.

 

I can spend all my free time working on content for the front page but without the Ballers contributing in the forum the site would be hollow. You guys are making the site a success.

 

Thank you

 

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No one wants to see Eric and MS in a bikini

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John- love the site. What's not to love? In the last 6 months since joining the site I've won a ski, bought a boat of another member, improved my skiing and had a lot of fun doing it.

 

You pretty much have the high level tournament skier market covered- now it's time to go after the rest of us. You know- guys like me- battling long lines and slow speeds every chance we get; never going to ski short line in elite tournaments but love to read about and watch guys who do. There's a lot of passion out there at 15 off. I don't mean to imply that I've ever felt unwelcome here because of my ability (or lack thereof)- in fact quite the opposite. But I think you can expand your "basic skills" offerings and attract a whole new crowd.

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+1 to @crashman

 

The amount of information I get from this site is quite frankly beyond my comprehension. However even as a long line skier I don't feel alienated here. So I thank you John and to all the others who make this forum what it is.

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@crashman I hear you. I am going to have to think about your comment.

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@crashmand and @Horton. I think someone needs to create a guide/plan on how to get into shoreline and publish it on the internet. There is plenty of commentary/instruction that allows a skier to pick up a length or two who is already into shoreline, but this addresses what BOS already has . . . the hard core short line audience. You have built first class that can't be rivaled at this point, but it primarily focuses on short line. Keep in mind, I am not criticizing the site. I am just trying to suggest a way to increase your users/viewership.

 

To increase your users/readership, I think someone should write and article(s) on how to get from 15 off to 28 off in x weeks/months. There is plenty of information out the net that applies to near pro level skiers. If someone would focus on information geared towards the newer or more novice course skier we might grow the sport. If you help people get better faster, then they just might keep skiing.

 

I think there is a faction of lake rats out there that want to learn the course or have learned 15 off, but they do not know what to do next. They do not know how to go from 15 off to 28 off. In fact, I know of several guys in the Austin area who have given up wake boarding because of their age (mid to late thirties/forties) and they have not taken the time to advance through the course because they do not know how to do it.

 

I am not trying to say that getting into short line is easy. . . we all know that it is not. But if content is provided that makes people believe they can do it and it shows them how to do it, they will keep skiing and your readership will increase.

 

Just my two cents.

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@Brent indeed- nobody here has ever balked at a basic question- and I intend to post many of them as we get through the season- it's sometimes a matter of getting to know what I don't know.

 

But also- I think there's a fair group of guys who ski 15 or 22 off for exercise and enjoyment and may not...wait for it....gulp... desire to improve. The guy who first got me into the course is 66 yrs old and skis 15off 32 mph and for him that's it. He skis at least 3 times per week and spends a lot of money on equipment- so for sponsors he's a valuable demographic. But how do you engage a guy like that to log onto BOS as part of his waterski lifestyle? Several guys at my club that show up, run -15 at 34 take a swim then go home- they love skiing as much as anybody but don't share the goal of shortening up. They still like to read about skiing, spend money on boats and skis, but how to get them on BOS? That's why @horton runs the site and I don't because I don't know.

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With the site in such swing, I think that all anyone needs to do is to "ask a question" and the galactic warriors will respond in such length and detail that it would take the person looking for those answers a week to read the responses. Horton has done an amazing job.
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Because of this site and its members, I'm considering jumping into the tournament scene this summer (if I can free up some time). I alpine ski raced for 15 years, so I wanted to keep waterskiing a fun hobby, not a "job". I appreciate having this site, where I can get tips on improving, and just like talking tow boats with people. I guess it's a "birds of a feather" kind of site, and I'm glad I was able to find it.
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Develop a maps in each state of all the places to ski with a course or a lake to ski at. I did so with a map of Korea. I actually went into a dealers store and found their own map on the wall, I got 95% of the locations right but zooming in on all the lakes. Of course you dont want to lable 5000 lakes in Minnesota or Florida, but make a map of all the locations with a ski club or a course.
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It looks like several people are not aware of the feature on the home page of BOS. It lists all the sites by state and has them taged in google earth. Go to the home page and on the home tab, you will get a drop down for google earth. If you click the google earth tab, it downloads a file that when opened in google earth has most private sites on it. It is set up by country, region, state and puts you right on the site. I am surprised that more people are not aware of it. In fact I mentioned it to a skier recently and they were shocked. It is very cool and should be checked out. This is what klindy is talking about above.
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As usual, this thread did not go where I expected. Guess I should know better. I agree with Hambone and others when they say all questions get answers but I will try to get some content designed for 15-28 off skiers

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Horton you have the hardcore market cornered. The forum is among the friendliest ive seen so your goals have been met as you already know. The goal now should be to make it as easy as possible to get people on skis. Costs are an issue for people as is accessibility. i gotta go to work now ill explain more some other time.
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@OB we all need to ski with skiers better than us. That is how you get better.

 

Wow I do not know how this thread got here... whatever.

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@Horton my story has been posted before and you and i have talked about it... I love the site, new content for the long lines would be great, but also keep up with the new ski reviews. It saves some of us alot of time when we only have to read your reviews and test 2 or 3 skis for ourselves instead of 20.
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@TylerR Yea I hope to do less review this year but I expect to do the new Mapple and the S2 and the new Connelly bindings and maybe a Reflex or Warp. I have been trying to get to the Radar Vice forever....

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@Horton I do love the ski reviews. It is hard for me to get on different skis and I really appreciate the work you do on different skis. I have seen this work on golf sites but if you don't have time to test every ski you would like maybe having a small group of skiers that test different skis. I know the challenge is to find people that can articulate the way that a ski behaves.
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@Chef23 that is how we did it in the past.

 

It is a long story but I have more faith in reviews done myself or by another skier that has ridden a lot of skis and has a feel for the differences.

 

The biggest problem with a group test is that it takes more than 7 rides to really get your head around a ski and that assumes you are starting with good settings

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@Horton I wasn't thinking of a group test but one ski at a time reviewed by a single tester. That is why it would need to be someone you have confidence in and trust both so you get a good review and get the ski back. I agree you need more than 2 or 3 rides to get the feel for the ski.

 

I enjoyed the ski tests you used to do but like the more in depth ones more. I don't think I have skied enough different skis to be able to articulate the differences clearly. That is why it would need to be people you have confidence in.

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You guys can talk about this all you want. I have no plans to change what I am doing. As lone as I have a real job I am at my limit.

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Wow. I looked at the map and the number of places to ski is surprising. Lake Pepin, Minnesota is the birthplace of water skiing, I've been through there and its the land of 10,000 lakes, how are there not more places to ski?

 

When people scoffed at me for being from Minnesota saying I was country. I always scoffed back, Minneapolis/St. Paul is a big area, we have teams in all 4 major sports and we have the largest mall in the world. Its clear that those people were right.

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John, Great site, keep up the excellent work. As noted, the ski tests are a valuable tool, the information on the home page is great, links to other skicentric sites is useful, tech articles & product reviews are always read (you have deservedly earned the credibility to do the testing and give an unbiased report that is very valuable). Feedback from other credible sources is also excellent.

 

One "test" that is not being done, that is an unbiased review of towboats, long lost from the mid 90's annual report. . . I think much of the audience would enjoy reading a good boat test article. Scanning through any thread on any website, it is too obvious that most boat owners are overly biased towards thier boat of choice and pretty much can't/don't provide unbiased feedback on boat choice questions posed on this or any site. With that, there is something to be said for people being passionate about the most expensive single item purchased for the sport of choice.

 

Good prompt on your part to keep thinking on how to improve your site, it is the best one in existance . . .

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That is the best idea that I do not want to hear. I am not sure I can put that together until the boat factories understand how big BallOfSpray is. 105K page views last week

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@DW if a true boat test review could be organised that would be great! I have plenty of contacts within the industry and I'm sure that there are others on this site that may have contacts with the few companies that I do not.

 

If @Horton feels that it is worth while to start the ball rolling I would be more than willing to do some talking with the contacts that I have. There are more than enough qualified engineers on this site to put together a test team that could put together useful data about the boats to make it useful to the site, its users, the boat companies, and the public in general.

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You guys have no idea what you could be getting into.

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Probably not, but I'm still young and dumb.

Over the last year I have gotten to know Ron Tanis, used to run the WSM tests in the early 90's, pretty well and I think he could be an invaluable resource if we were to do something like what has been mentioned.

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I say have the boat testing in Orlando FL. Makes total sense. Warm water, plenty of hotels, dozens of man make lakes to choose from, close to all major boat dealers, plenty to do in the evenings, high end skiers, and best of all, I LIVE HERE and did I mention I can help. Ya that's it that's the ticket.
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I am not saying that maybe at some point this is not a bad idea but slow down.

 

@Broussard if you fill out your profile all the way that is a pretty good way to do it. If that does not work for you - I think I have a bug fix request for that pending right now.

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@Broussard

I like the idea. Consider it on the tickler list

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John, next to a boat test "we" could do an F1 car test, I'll take the silver one, you might get the red one and the blue one is up for grabs!!! Sorry to give you the POS for this year, haha....

 

PS: I would certainly be "in" on the boat test. . .

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