cheat starts

5 years 11 months ago #21606 by Dustin
cheat starts was created by Dustin
Just did Canadian surfski champs and had a great time. But one thing gave me heartburn: several of the elite paddlers cheated the start. I chatted with some of the guys after and heard "just part of the sport". I don't buy it. This cheapens the sport and it's disrespectful of the other competitors. One of the things I've been so proud of is the high character of many of our elite.

Once the gun goes, I'm as scrappy as anyone and I like it when my mates give a good scrap. But cheating is lying. Every ten year old kid knows it. Is this going to be just part of the sport?



rd

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5 years 11 months ago #21608 by Nige
Replied by Nige on topic cheat starts
The South African perspective : There has been a lot of talk about having deep water starts here to avoid damage to skis going out through the surf, but in every deep water start surf race I've done the elite paddlers (in particular) have jumped the start, and it's going to take a concerted effort to stop it.

I agree with you : it's just not on, sailing has never allowed it, why should surfski?

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5 years 11 months ago #21611 by robin.mousley
Replied by robin.mousley on topic cheat starts
It has always been a problem with deep water starts.

And it's pretty much impossible to control from a stationary boat. One way I've seen deep water starts successfully controlled is by a mobile boat or jetski cruising up and down the front of the start, keeping people back.

Another tactic is to limit the width of the start and to get the paddlers to cooperate by letting the elite paddlers only take the front rank. This has been used successfully in Mauritius for example.

Having read one of the race reports (and there will be another here tomorrow), it seems that they tried a 5min warning horn before the start - eventually the race started by itself about 4min later, the horn being sounded to accede to a fait accomplis.

Warning horns are invariably a disaster for starts and shouldn't be used.

No doubt the race organisers will be better prepared next time.

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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5 years 11 months ago #21612 by rlh608
Replied by rlh608 on topic cheat starts
There's a whole ceremony and special set of rules for starts in sailing -- it's a big part of the tactics of the sport.

Since there are egos and money at stake, surfski may need more than "hey guys, don't do that" to enforce startline rules. It's not like there is any uncertainty about what the rules are, is there?

Sailing used to have disqualification as the only penalty, but has shifted to a more gradated penalty system, where an infringer has to perform some costly manoeuvre, like go around & cross the start line again, or perform two full circles. This has the advantage that the penalty takes effect immediately, which is not the case for a time penalty assessed after the fact.

Current ski: Stellar SR Advantage

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5 years 11 months ago #21613 by Dustin
Replied by Dustin on topic cheat starts
Thanks for replies fellas. I love this sport so much and have such regard for the top guns. There's a great video clip of Peter Merkos (bad spelling) getting a false start at one of the olympics. The announcers are shocked to see immediate disqualification - no appeal, removed from the event. Four years of work for the expected gold medal winner and he's out.

I'm not complaining. I just want to know where this is all going. I'm not going to involve myself with cheating or lying (both the same to me). If organizers don't nip this shit in the bud, then I'm going to go have a great paddle somewhere else. Once a few guys find out at the end of the race that they were DQ'd it will stop quick.

rd

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5 years 11 months ago #21616 by red_pepper
Replied by red_pepper on topic cheat starts
At the USCA Nationals paddlers have to wait behind the line (typically between two buoys); the gun doesn't go off if anyone is across the line. There will be a one minute warning, and the gun can go off anytime during that one minute, but it won't fire if the start line is compromised. We don't seem to have any problems with false starts.
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5 years 11 months ago #21621 by Wiggie7
Replied by Wiggie7 on topic cheat starts
In sailing races, there is a specific code flag that is raised if anyone jumps the start. The onus is on the individual competitor to go back and restart if he/she suspects they may have been across the line early. Some friendly race controllers will call out the sail number(s) of boats over early on the radio, but its a courtesy only, not a requirement. The jump start code flag only comes down after all jump starters have restarted. Any boat who's bow is over the line early and does not restart is disqualified. There are some additional rules that can come into play, for example in very large fleets, but its basically that simple. Cheat the start and fail to exonerate yourself, you are out.

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5 years 11 months ago #21631 by Metro
Replied by Metro on topic cheat starts
In my view surfski starts are a classic Catch 22. People worry about beach starts because of broken boats and carnage, so we move to deep water starts. But, now you have a couple hundred people bobbing about on the ocean with swell and currents. It is impossible to get everybody to toe the line, as you would in a running race. Sailing starts won't work in my opinion - we have far too many craft on the water to properly police a broken start at exactly 12 noon (or whatever). You can't bring back 30 guys or have 30 guys looping back to cross the start again. Recognizning that deep water ocean starts are dynamic, I think that Dean Gardiner's approach works well. Generally there is not a hard fixed start time. Everyboyd gets on the water. Once a pretty good line forms, Dean hits the gun. To try to artifically hold back a surging rolling mass of people and boats is a losign proposition. Last point: I do not think that our sport is full of cheaters. Those who have done this sport for a while simply recognize the inherent difficulties with deep water starts. So, you get up front and when the first to occur of the gun sounding and herd mentality taking over, you hit the gas.
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5 years 11 months ago #21633 by TaffyMick
Replied by TaffyMick on topic cheat starts
A number of races I have been involved in this year used a rolling start format with a starting boat off to the side. The gun paddlers invariably will be up front and the rest of us plebes will be in the middle or rear of the pack. Interesting paddling conditions to say the least when the horn goes off and you are in the middle of the pack!!!

At 58 years old I am just happy to be able to still race!

Stellar SEI, Fenn Bluefin S, Sladecraft Comet Long Rec & Vajda K1
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5 years 11 months ago #21664 by coastbouy
Replied by coastbouy on topic cheat starts
Here's my "two cents" on this subject. For deep water starts (if it is calm enough) how about having the paddlers keep their feet out in the water and their paddles down until the gun or horn goes off. If is windy the racers just keep their feet in the water until the start. As for starting sometimes with our local races it's hard to know the race has even started!, until you see some paddlers start going. Maybe invest in a reliable horn/whistle/gun/cannon!?..(what ever it takes!!)

I don't think you will ever have a totally neutral start in open water given the # of boats and wind and water movement.

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5 years 11 months ago #21685 by nell
Replied by nell on topic cheat starts
My thoughts:

I think oftentimes, it's one or two racers on the front line that get moving too early and then drag the whole line forwards with them. Stop those few, and that might solve an area's local problem. The reason this seems plausible to me is that I've done races all over the place, and in some areas it's never a problem, in others, it's always a problem and it's the same paddler(s) that push the start line. Watch those paddlers closely, enforce the time penalty always, and it should take care of itself.

The other plausible reason, IMO, is when a start line gets too crowded and then sub-elites push their way onto the front line or in between front line skis to "be next to Clint" or to try to get a ride for the first km or so. What would I do if I were an elite paddler and a "middle of the packer" is pushing in next to me where there isn't enough space? I'd move slightly ahead to get away from the guy, and what would that make the elite guy next to me do? move forwards with me. Multiply this scenario several times on the front line and now you've got a moving front line. The fix is to designate a front line for deep water starts of 20? 30? paddlers that are true elites. Behind them is a controlled open space of 1-2 boat lengths, and it's here that a jet ski might be used to hold the pack back by going back and forth once or twice. If an elite cheats the start, it'll be pretty obvious that they did - because there's only a limited number of paddlers on the line, and that should hold them back (if there are consequences that are enforced, i.e. time penalty). The lack of mid-packers crowding them should help to keep them motionless on the line. EB
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5 years 11 months ago #21691 by robin.mousley
Replied by robin.mousley on topic cheat starts
Excellent way of putting it...

Race directors, you reading this?!

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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5 years 11 months ago #21694 by antonsa
Replied by antonsa on topic cheat starts
We have done this type of start in Mauritius over the last two years and it has been very effective. Speaking to the seeded paddlers as a group and explaining what is expected of them helps. They also want a clean start.

Choosing the best area for the start and the length of the start line is important. Again get th ebuy in from the top guys and the event will start smoothly

In my experience it is not the top guys who jump the gun but rather the wanna be's. Doing the start with a gap between the top and the rest takes this problem out of the mix.

Thanks for the topic. Good stuff. :cheer:

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5 years 11 months ago #21696 by AR_convert
Replied by AR_convert on topic cheat starts
I've lost count of the amount of briefings where the starter has threatened or promised to penalise those that jumps the start or aren't behind the line at the start.

Does it still happen...yes

Do they penalise them....no

Why not?...I believe it is because the starters are often the events organisers or some other person very close to the sport who doesn't want to upset the paddler who jumped by penalising him either because of a friendship or fear that the elite wont return to that event!

Current - Carbonology"Flash" Vajda "Infusion II K1" Previously ~Finn"Molokai Mk II"~Knysna "Vantage Pro K1' Carbonology "Vault"~Epic"V10L & Sport"~ [/b]Fenn"Mill Double" ~Spirit"PRS"~Finn"Affinity"
Always looking for the next boat :)
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5 years 11 months ago #21699 by Dustin
Replied by Dustin on topic cheat starts
In our little group there are some tender feelings about this. There's a very high respect for the elite paddlers. But I said some tough things about those guys because many of them were the ones who cheated the start. I've learned from the discussion here, thanks to the replies. One of our race directors has been tough on me because it really is buggarly to control the start line. A rolling downwind start in chop, for example. One local idea was to video the start from both sides with ruthless penalties, review of disputes, etc. Another was to have jet skis patrol the start line where the drivers had too much coffee. Or beer. hehe.

I was thinking hell, we know who we are. This should be easy, but this is hard. One guy said it bluntly. If you are a contender and other guys are creeping the line, you either go with or go home. I am crazy for this sport and think this issue needs dealt with. It's gratifying to see that most feel the same.

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5 years 11 months ago #21700 by rlh608
Replied by rlh608 on topic cheat starts
Cowboys with padded lances on jetskis -- jump the start, take a swim.

:-)

Current ski: Stellar SR Advantage

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5 years 11 months ago #21701 by Dustin
Replied by Dustin on topic cheat starts

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