Feb 2017: H2H changes proposed

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Feb 2017: H2H changes proposed

Postby intraftfed » Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:45 pm

Proposal: Re-design the H2H competition so that the course includes 4 slalom gates and each team is required to run at least two of the four gates as per normal slalom rules.

Reason: the H2H, when run on a venue that offers near zero opportunities for passing, is very predictable for 90% of the matches. Predictability equals boredom – and in a competition that is designed as a contact sport, boredom should never enter the picture. Setting gates along the course that forces teams out of the fast line will open up passing opportunities, creating a more dynamic, less predictable race. Deciding which gates to run, ramming opposing teams while in the gate, etc, etc will introduce limitless strategic considerations and chances to overtake.

Suggestions that have come in:
1. Instead of two poles making up a gate, just have 1 pole hanging down and teams need to travel between pole and bank. (So the idea is to add strategy and to split the teams to give overtaking opportunities, not to test their gate negotiating skills)

2. The 4 gates should all be upstream to make it more interesting. Down stream gates will be too quick and so less chance for over taking.

3. Instead of 2 rafts, make it 3 or 4 or even 5 (first 2 go through to next round, rest go into repechage for another chance, so all get at least 2 chances - same as hoe BMX and snowboarding run theirs)

Any other suggestions?

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Re: Feb 2017: H2H changes proposed

Postby intraftfed » Tue Mar 07, 2017 2:44 pm

How is this for draft rules for the D and C level events to start following?

Rafting Cross
- Teams race against X other teams down a course where they must negotiate 2 out of the 4 gates available. They choose which 2 gates they wish to negotiate. They follow a set procedure for advancing each round (similar to BMX and other cross events which we can devise and write up).
- Gates are subject to the Slalom E.4.d "Gate Construction and Marking" rules.
- Gate negotiation is the same as Slalom E.4.f "Gate Negotiation" rules.
- Gate penalties are the same as Slalom E.4.g ""Slalom Penalties" rules.

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Re: Feb 2017: H2H changes proposed

Postby USRA-USA » Wed Mar 08, 2017 4:59 pm

I think we all agree with the reasoning behind a change like this, lets make it more exciting. We are talking about incorporating some new ideas to our national event in May. A few concerns have been brought up.
1. what if we don't have enough teams to have rounds of 3, 4 or 5 boats. It doesn't seem to work unless you have at least 9 rafts per division. Which will be tough for us at this point. 2 boats seem to make sense but add the up gates to keep it interesting.
2. the up stream gates should ALL be mandatory, just have 2(one left and one right). the first team to make both up stream gates and goes over the line wins. If a team crosses the line first but misses a gate, and the other team makes both gates , the first team will not advance.
3. We have some concerns of trying it in an event with so much at stake and not having any set rules yet . There will be a H2H event in Colorado May 26th, with a mass start and 2 buoys, 1 left and 1 right, we will try to get some video and feedback on how it goes.

The Gopro Games in Vail Colorado runs an R2 race with this similar format 3 or 4 boats per round, at first the event had 3 gates( 2 up and 1 down) and 2 were mandatory, this led to some confusion, there was a placement penalty for missing gates. the penalty was not enough to deter teams from just missing gates. After a couple years of making adjustments the event changed the format to ALL gates are mandatory. This made the event way better and less confusing for teams competing.

Just some thoughts...

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Re: Feb 2017: H2H changes proposed

Postby intraftfed » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:18 am

Maybe we should focus this year on defining rules that include the gates and getting that working nicely? And then look at how it would/could work with more than 2 teams per race next year.

The problem with making all gates compulsory is that we will be back to the same problem of the raft who gets out front at the start will stay out front as the raft/s behind will still not be able to over take.

The idea behind making it compulsory to do 2 out of 4 gates is to add an opportunity for the second raft to get ahead of the first raft if they decide on a different set of gates to do. So strategy will become very key and will make it much more interesting, adding a whole different aspect to the race. At the moment it is just a case of whoever gets the best start wins (unless they make a stupid mistake along the way). Making 2 out of 4 gates compulsory means a whole lot of opportunities to get ahead if you can get a good start, negotiate gates well and choose the best strategy.

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Re: Feb 2017: H2H changes proposed

Postby GB Rafting » Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:16 pm

We had a chat with a small group of paddlers about the above and a few points got raised:

- 90% of the teams win from the start, there is some truth in that they win because they are the stronger and better team, not because there isn’t a way of passing for the other team? Better teams win the start (and keep lane choice throughout the process)

We think it’s really important to decide what the aim of the rule change is.
Aim: add excitement for spectators/athletes (Is the H2H is not exiting enough for athletes? The possibility of being able to pass might fit the aim below better?)
- Adding a pole, or buoy or touch banner would make the competition more exciting to watch. The question is, would the predictability change or not looking at the point above? There is a bigger possibility of something going wrong or an extra clash between the teams down the water.
- We don’t prefer a standard gate option. We all know how hard it is to spot if heads are going around it or not in a normal slalom, let alone if in a battle. If they need to go around a buoy or touch a banner it is easier to judge.
- We support the point of having only 2 rafts rather than 4. It might reduce the amount of races too much/ we wouldn’t have enough teams per category (as the point made in the discussion). But can be the next step if the concept works.

- What can be interesting is the ICF is adding a slalom cross to their disciplines and I think they might be pushing this towards the Olympic program. They don’t call it boater cross but slalom cross because this has similarities (even if it's just in the title) to the current slalom format at the Olympics, this makes it easier to add this canoeing sport in future. If we can try to match up this concept it might be an easier road to Olympics? All information see: http://www.canoeicf.com/news/slalom-cross-explained

Aim: making the competition fairer
- for the best team to win, even if they don’t win from the start adding an buoy or touch flag can give them a better chance to overtake. The more technical team will have a better change to overtake if a stronger team beat them on the start line.
- Rethinking the start. Some idea’s: Let people start upstream in the eddy and make them come out around a buoy or pole into the flow (a judge holding an angle well or swirl of the water has got less impact on a H2H start). Or hold the front of the raft in the bottom –bank corner of the eddy and then there is some technical skills involved on how to work into the follow form this position, having a sling through the back of the raft around a fixed point and one paddler is allowed to keep an paddle in the water to keep an angle? All of these might make the race even more predictable but there are more ‘interesting’ moves happening at the start.

Hope this makes sense

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