Wrenny’s Wrants Volume 1

I’d like to welcome A Louder Blog’s first ever guest blogger…Nick Wrenn. Wrenny will be involved in the regular piece on this blog called ‘Wrenny’s Wrants’. Nick will have a rant (or wrant as I’ve called it…who doesn’t love alliteration) and I will have my rebuttal after his rant. So I get the final say (because it’s my blog so I only see that as being fair).

Me and Wrenny - Co-captains of the Australian Team for the Aussie-Kiwi Challenge 2013

Me and Wrenny – Co-captains of the Australian Team for the Aussie-Kiwi Challenge 2013

This week, while it will be foreign to non-water skiers, we tackle the issue of the ultimate team prize for Australian water skiing. The Beynon Shield.

The Wrant…by Nick Wrenn

In any sport one of the biggest greatest achievements for an athlete at a national level is to represent their state. Why? Mainly because it is a sign that they are recognised as the best in the sport, and are rewarded for their achievements by giving them the opportunity to represent their state at a higher level. However, for some reason water-skiing in Australia does not have the same system.

Technically, anyone who skis in the national championships is in their “state-team”. They are already representing their state. I believe however, that to be selected to represent your state in the Beynon Shield competition, should be of the highest privilege and should be reserved for the best skiers in that state, based on their raw scores.

Instead, our Beynon Shield is a competition whereby people are chosen strategically by their state depending on how well they ski in their respective age division. This leaves out the best skiers in the state who may be Open rated, but no-where near the record for that division. This means that a boy in u/14’s who is jumping 30 metres has more chance of getting in their team than an open rated skier jumping 50 metres. I don’t believe that this is fair.

Let’s face it, whoever wins this trophy has the bragging rights as the “best state” in tournament waterskiing. But how can that be true when the scores don’t even come from the best skiers? It just doesn’t make sense.

My solution is a simple one; you pick a team of 4 (or 6) skiers, the same way you would pick your World Championship teams. This would allow a state to include the best slalom, trick and jump male and female skiers of that state, based solely on scores, not age division records. All the people in a “state team” will have their scores pooled into a separate competition, and the overall scores derived from that competition are attributed towards the team score. Slalom scores will need to be adjusted due to varying maximum speeds, which can be solved by deducting 6 buoys for every 3kph difference.

Out of the 200 competitors at last year’s Nationals, I challenge you to find 100 that know the rules of the Beynon Shield, and if they know who is in their own team. The significance of this competition has dwindled ever since I entered the sport, due to its complex rules and varying representation. It’s time to re-vamp the competition and make it a true representation of who actually is the best state in the country. Because at the end of the day, if you truly want to be known as the best state in Australian waterskiing, wouldn’t you want to do so with the best skiers you have?

The Beynon Shield

The Beynon Shield

The Rebuttal…by Joshua Louder

Wrenny does raise some valid points, especially about not many people knowing how the Beynon Shield scoring system works. But am I detecting a little jealously in Wrenny’s Wrant? Just because his home state (Western Australia) haven’t won the Beynon Shield since outboards were used at Nationals doesn’t mean he can criticise the Beynon Shield scoring system.

The scoring system for the Beynon Shield as it stands is to make sure a wide range of different people from different age groups feel included. If we change the Beynon Shield scoring to just count the best skiers we would be moving back to a more elitist system…which is like any other record capable or professional tournament.

I think the real answer here is to actually promote the Beynon Shield competition a bit better. Make sure everyone in the water ski community knows how the Beynon Shield scoring system works. So essentially it is the responsibility of the media team at Tournament Water Ski Australia to dissipate that information to the masses…and yes that’s me.

Ok well here is the Beynon Shield scoring system as it stands straight from the rulebook…

A4.01: Team Selection:

Each State that is affiliated to the AWWF shall have the right to enter a team of skiers, made up of all state skiers who are rated to ski, to represent their State at the National Championships. The Scoring team of 7 skiers shall be nominated to the Chief

Calculator before the commencement of the competition.

As per AWWF TWSA Tournament Rules 10 Oct 2010

A5.05: Team Scoring:

Team scoring – The best three (3) overall scores for each scoring team in each event shall be added together to determine the team score. These scores will be calculated basing the 1000 points on the Division Australian Record as at 31st January of the current season or the

event score from the Nationals, whichever is higher will be used for the 1000 points. In the case of a tie between teams the fourth jump score shall be used, then the fifth and so on until the tie is broken.

Even though New South Wales has won the Beynon Shield for almost a decade, the competition has been as close as ever. The fight for the Beynon Shield next year is set to be the toughest yet.

 

The Price of Gold

Do you think $588 million for seven gold medals at the London Olympics is money well spend? We also won sixteen silver and twelve bronze medals, so with the 35 medals Australia won that acquaints to just over $16.5 million a medal. The Australian Government have entrenched in their sport policies that the Olympics is the be-all and end-all in sport. This means non-Olympic sports are left out in the cold, with the exception of Cricket, Aussie Rules, Rugby League and Rugby Union who each have large television and sponsorship deals. One sport that is severely underfunded is water skiing.

There are 9 competitive sports under the branch of water skiing. These include:

  • Tournament Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Barefooting
  • Wakeskating
  • Ski Racing
  • Cable Tournament Water Skiing
  • Cable Wakeboarding
  • Kneeboarding
  • Show Skiing

ImageCrowds haven’t been an issue at the Moomba Masters in Melbourne. Photo: IWSF

Think of water skiing like athletics in the way athletics has many different disciplines under the term ‘athletics’. Although all these sports are governed by the same body in Australia, The Australian Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (AWWF), each discipline is a different sport in its self. For example in Tournament Water Skiing there are three disciplines (slalom, trick and jump), this is substantially different to Ski Racing which is more of a hybrid between an athletic sport and a motor sport.

The sport I’m going to focus on, and one of the most popular, is tournament water skiing. In Australia Tournament Water Ski Nationals are hosted on a yearly basis along with Disabled Tournament Water Ski Nationals. For the past few years there has been over 200 athletes competing from all states and territories across Australia at this five day competition.

The Future of Sport in Australia, aka The Crawford Report, was released in 2009 by the Independent Sports Panel set up by the government. The purpose of this was to “review all aspects of sport in Australia and to chart a new direction.” It was also in response to John Coates (AOC Chief) requesting an extra $100 million a year for 10 years for elite Olympic sports. I can understand where Coates is coming from as he has witnessed firsthand the slide from 58 medals in Sydney 2000 to 49 medals in Athens 2004 to 46 medals in Beijing 2008 and now 35 medals in London 2012. To give $1 billion to elite athletes while the 9 sports of water skiing share $161,000 a year, would highlight the massive inequalities evident in sport funding in Australia.

ImageNo surprises there! John Coates has strongly rejected funding cuts from the elite program over the past few years. Photo: Herald Sun

While the AWWF was included in the research process of The Crawford Report, the findings are only recommendations. Many of these recommendations are still yet to be adopted by the government.

As Tournament Water Skiing grows stronger the screams for more funding will get louder and louder but these screams may be drowned out by the bellowing yell of a declining Olympic team begging for more money.

The Crawford Report –
http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/1DDA76A44E5F4DD4CA257671000E4C45/$File/Crawford_Report.pdf