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42 off


ShererSkier
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I've been wondering lately why do the lengths jump from 41 to 43 off? Since Nate can run 41 off no problem and a few others can run it but get tripped up so quick into 43, you think that 42 off would have been the next progression. I'm not sure if anyone has tried 42 but I would imagine in touneys it would make the ending a little more interesting... Thoughts?
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Not to be overly precise. But, course centerline to turn buoy is 37 feet, 8-3/4 inches.

I believe that is to center of the turn buoy. Assuming 7-1/2 diameter buoy, that puts the ski at 38 feet and 1/2 inches for the ski to clear.

So, yea, 43 off, or 32 long makes quite a challenge!

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Nice chart. This should be printed and posted directly in front of anyone announcing a slalom event where the general public is present. Feet on announced..not what's laying in the bottom of the boat. Surprised it doesn't say "metric on"

 

n2o8s124mcth.jpeg

 

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1 guy makes it through -41 at a tournament. 2 guys at most (1odd ball tournament with 4 not included). That’s good enough. Making -42 the next step still only effects that 1 or 2 guy(s), and who says that pass is really all that makeable either. It just puts the world record out of reasonable reach. Once 43 was chosen, we're stuck with it.
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@BraceMaker Was that sarcasm? Anybody for whom 11.25, 10.75, 10.25, 10, 9.75 is a lot of passes is off-the-charts good. For me that sequence (at 58kph) is over in two buoys... And just like any other group of 5 passes, 9.75 is so ludicrously harder than 11.25 that if you're planning to challenge that one, then starting at 11.25 is likely to be fine.

 

@ALPJr Is that also humor? The difficulty gap between -15 and -20 would be almost negligible, but the difficulty gap between -35 and -40 is ludicrous. Due to the geometry of the sport, the challenge level is inherently non-linear in the rope length.

 

On a more serious note, a 10m line has been discussed here before, and I think it makes a ton of sense for many reasons. Maybe I'll be un-lazy enough to link to one of those discussions eventually. Or maybe @ozski can, since I think he started the most interesting thread about it.

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OMG! Please give me a 36 1/2 off pass! It is awesome.

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@slow I've actually thought about this quite a bit and I'm not sure the progressions past 39 would be different. It is or could be an interesting topic of discussion.

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Hey hey! I’m not THAT old! I started tournament skiing in 1982 and the current line lengths had been in place for some time. From some of the old timers, it seems like it was in the 1960s that the conversion was made. Not sure if it was the same time the course was shortened or not. The distance from the entrance gates to the 1 ball gates used to be the same as the distance between the rest of the boat guides. At the shorter lines (36 off) the skier would get sucked back in before getting to the buoy.

If it was easy, they would call it Wakeboarding

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In 1981 or so, I put in my 1st slalom using a rule book that someone gave me, that had the old measurements. Took forever to determine why we could get so much earlier at #1 on this course and struggle on others. A very painful lesson.
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@scotchipman The slalom course dimensions were different then as well. It seems to me that we went metric after I started skiing tournaments around 1969, but maybe that’s just a fanciful recollection (both that I started in 69 and that both course dimensions were still in use). I remember setting a new course on our lake to a metric dimension. Two days of treading 70 degree water.

Lpskier

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There are really about 11 guys that should be consulted on this topic. I’ve never heard them advocate for something easier than 43. If those 11 guys and maybe Regina (Whitney?) think the sport would be better if we went from 41 to 42 I’d support it. Otherwise it’s kind of a non issue to me. The only time I’ll ever see 41/42/43 is from the boat, shore or You Tube.

 

Masterline rope’s come now with loops beyond 9.75. They may be quite useful when the rope is retired from ski use and repurposed to tying up things around the lake or yard.

Lpskier

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I believe part of the issue is that you can't make a loop and fid enough rope back in to hold adequately at anything much shorter than a 0.5 meter. You kinda end up with loop on top of loop. Can't say that I have ever seen a trainer loop between the 0.5 meter sections of a rope. So I don't think it would be as simple as just adding a 42 loop. You would have to loose the 41 loop and the 43 loop.
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@Edbrazil might know.

 

@Than_Bogan not really sarcasm.

Watching things like ski finals where all the skiers are coming off the dock at say 32 off or 35 off in the final you're adding a pass that a few top tier skiers are going to need to ski before they get near the established records.

 

 

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Before going to metric, we had 33off for a while between 30off and 36off. I witnessed the first time that 10.75m was run at the Thrillah in Hydrilla. The rules are such that we will never run out of loops, but a 0.25meter shortening is difficult to add. However, a special super-short line could be an option, with loops starting with 10.75m, and going on and on.
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Some things to consider:

 

1. Additional loops mean stiffer overall rope at all earlier line lengths.

2. The greater the delta between course width and rope length, the greater the role skier height plays, as well as boat path deviation. Hence, factors other than athletic skill become more prominent.

 

Now, consider the effect of a course that were 25-50 cm wider... and be careful of drawing quick conclusions. Instinctively we are led to believe that this would actually increase the advantage of a taller skier. But consider the effect of the wider course in terms of the delta between course width and rope length at a skier's finishing pass. If that delta is less than the delta under current course conditions, then athletic skill is becoming a more prominent factor in performance as compared to that of skier height or boat path deviation. That's right--skier height and boat path deviation (or driver skill) become less of a factor in competition with a wider course!

 

The current course dimensions have existed since times of large wakes, inferior skis, and very big skier buoys. In other words, conditions were much more difficult and the time of design of the current slalom course. Making early passes was more difficult then than it is now... today mistakes often do not matter.

 

A wider course may drastically improve the event.

 

Thoughts?

 

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@rich I think that this would have a similar effect. Requires a more difficult change to all courses. Increasing the width to length ratio will reduce the value of skier height or driving. But the wider the course the longer the rope at the hardest pass, which has advantages. And we are talking about small changes for big impact. 25 cm in width would be substantial.
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When the change was made to what we have now it was all done in meters off. There is no true 15'/22'/28'/32'/35'/41' or 43' off, those are just the closest numbers when you convert back to feet off from meters.

 

@scotchipman thanks for clearing this up. I couldn't understand how a 0.5 m change in rope length resulted in a 2 foot off increment when 2 feet is 0.60 m, not 0.50. Now I get it. Just one thing though: It's METRES not meters. (just like Litres not Liters) ;)

 

I kind of agree that at such a short rope length, going from 10.25 m to 9.75 m is too much of a jump. Maybe dropping to 0.25 m increments after 10.25 m is a better way to go and would make the competitions more interesting as there may be more people who could at least get part way into 10.0 m but can't get much of anywhere into 9.75 m. Not sure what that would mean for the logistics of tournaments but it might make things more interesting and exciting for the spectators.

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So I spent half the night thinking about this (yeah....) and I'm pretty sure @drew is a total genius and should earn the BoS Insight of the Year Award. Eventually I hope to post something about this, but maybe @drew could you start a separate thread about it?
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@nathan_bogan thank you for the vote of confidence--I am certain that when looked at from an objective standpoint followed by empirical investigation, this proposal is a better solution than current parameters.

I would prefer this discussion to remain in this thread for now, to diffuse any potential confusion relating to belief in need for rope length changes. Reduction in the increments is the wrong path to go down. I could elaborate but would rather focus on the benefits of widening the course. And keep in mind that the proposed new dimensions would demand, in practicality, a similar ski path that the existing course demanded in the 70's and early 80's--before modern (small) buoys. Yes, small buoys are a sensible progression in the event, for safety, precision and consistency, but small buoys have altered the ski path requirements in a negative way.

Today, 41 (10.25m) is the pass to run. When a top skier runs 41, they will be at or very near the pinnacle for the event. And though tournaments occur where more than one skier gets through 41, it is fact that most do not. So let's define 41 as the PTR (pass to run; aka "the cat's meow").

10.25m is 1.25 m shorter than the 11.5m width (from centerline) of the course--that's 4'1.2" short of the width of the course! It is quite clear that any consistency here, in addition to exceptional skier ability, will depend upon skier height, and favorable boat path (by favorable, I mean free of negative deviation). Let's define the difference between the course width from centerline and the rope length as the rope delta (RD). SO, the current PTR has an RD (rope delta) of 1.25m.

Current longitudinal dimensions between boat guides/turn buoys is 41m. If this dimension is maintained, it is fair to say that by increasing the turn ball width from 11.5m to 11.75m or 12m, running the course with the same RD will be more difficult (if this is questioned, simply map the current course and the widened course, and examine the angular requirements). As the wider course makes it more difficult to run the same RD as the current course, we can logically deduce that the PTR of the wider course will ultimately have a lower RD than the current course...

As a lower RD means a reduced value factor for both height and favorable boat path, the wider course is favorable for both shorter skiers (as compared to the current course), and also less dependent upon driving. These are two significant impairments to the current model at the elite level. An ancillary benefit of the wider course model will be the superior properties of longer rope lengths for skier longevity. Anecdotally, the wider course model, as mentioned earlier, is somewhat a "return" to the original intentions of slalom skiing, in terms of the ski path requirements (due to modern buoy size). And today's technology in boats and skis has already made things substantially more efficient/easier.

And so I'll leave with you... what will the RD of the PTR be on an 11.75m course? How about a 12m course?

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The question of skier size/reach goes back at least as far as Warren Witherell, who was perhaps the first skier to get into line off, or at least beyond the first 12 off shortening.

Ol' Stew McDonald described a tournament in the olde days when skiers first ran max. speed (34 mph then) at 75' longline. So, the problem came up: what next? Then they decided to shorten the line; thinking they settled on 12 off. Note: this was on the foot-dimensioned course and with the long endgates, and when the gates counted for one point. Of course, whether they were skiing on accurate courses is a question, long before it was general practice to survey them. About 1967, I came up with a computer program in the BASIC language for 3-point surveying.

Ps: Warren asked: "Do they raise the basket for Wilt Chamberlin?" Think it was Wilt, a tall guy at the time in the NBA.

 

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@drew widening the course is an interesting concept that I never considered. I always think rope length or boat speed when I think about something that could be done differently. I like your idea a lot and I agree that most lakes should be able to handle the extra width. I would like to see some of the top skiers try that out sometime to see what it would look like.
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Man, it is so unintuitive that a wider course who make height and boat path less important, but once you think it all the way through it seems clearly to be true. What helps me a little is:

 

I imagine running a 12m line on a 12m wide coarse. In terms of the rope angle, this is the same "theta vs. time" as running a 11.5m (non-standard btw) line on a 11.5m course. But the person running the 12m scenario must travel significantly farther (and there's no "but what if he takes a different path?" because the angle vs. time is the same).

 

Since that takes place in the same amount time, running the 12m scenario is more difficult, and likely significantly more difficult, than running the 11.5m scenario.

 

Ok, so then where would that lead us? Because a rope that is the same offset from the buoy distance is more difficult it means that every one of us will top at at a rope length that is relatively longer (compared the buoy distance).

 

And so finally @drew's unintuitive claim is verified. We'd all end up at a relatively longer rope and thus there would less requirement to be tall or have an absolutely perfect boat path.

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I think my only real concern with this proposal is the barrier to entry. It's so hard for a beginner to manage to get around all 6 buoys, but once they do, many are hooked for life. Would we mortgage our future if we made it even harder for a novice to reach that point?
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It is a bit the case of a Nastar set course vs a properly set World Cup course... What would the result be if the field were to compete on a course set far too easy? The athlete's physical attributes (in this case, mass) become increasingly valuable at the expense of skill. And skill ought to be the most valuable attribute (not mass or height).

With a slightly wider course (25cm), the effect is less on long line than short. Nonetheless, the wider course is a more difficult challenge, but a slower boat and the greater reward can help. The wider course also increases the need for recognizing the importance of efficiency in equipment selection and design, which is something today's parameters may inadvertently neglect.

 

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Just ran into this thread on a 42' off / 10m line length when I was looking for a list of skiers who have run competition 41' off / 36mph. The only list I can easily find is on the forum when Sasha ran it in 2016 as the 10th man in history to do so. Who has run it since?

 

On the question of a 42' off length, I have thought it a good idea for years. The only pushback I have heard is whether ropes can be manufactured to that spec, but a 9" loop seems possible with the latest rope tech. And if you check the AWSA RuleBook chart on page 49, it starts in 0.25m increments after 43'off/9.75m so technically they were thinking that way. Why not start this 0.25m increment after 10.25m, to 10m, 9.75m, etc.?

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