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Did You Know...

... that a German veteran competitor sees "clearly presented" as a "fuzzy definition"?

Uwe Soppa with IPC FS Committee member Dr. Rainer "Exi" Hoenle
posted Feb 18th, 2005 - The NSL News still continues to collect feedback as of the 2005 rule and dive pool changes. Craig Girad of Arizona Airspeed, John Hoover of the Golden Knights and former DeLand Majik member Joey Jones already expressed their opinions from the view of the top competitors in the country. Additional input from the DeLand Majik and Fire quarters will follow, while Team Fastrax members have already provided their positions to the NSL News. This story will be posted soon.

In general, there seems to be a lot of support for the changes in the 4-way event. The new Block 12 and the adjusted Block 5, along with the Star as a new Random Formation, do not cause any trouble and have been well recieved by the teams and competitors. It would be hard to imagine that teams and competitors would not welcome the reduced punishment for infringements and efforts to make judging faster and easier. However, there are still a few concerns.

German 8-way team at the World Meet 2004 in Croatia
There is general agreement that the 2005 rules will make judging easier and more understandable. This was also the declared intention of the IPC commission members who prepared the rule changes. Some sceptical observers still detected a controversy between the intention of making judging easier and the reduced damage for infringements.

The perspective of losing only one point in a penalty situation might inspire teams to take more chances and increase the pace to the team limit. The edge between performing on the safe side and pushing the limits will probably become smaller. Result could be an increasing number of critical situations where the judges have to pay special attention to the action.

German 8-way team at a 2004 training camp in DeLand
image by: Thomas "Moritz" Friess
On the other side, the judges might be less willing to compromise their demand for a clean and clear presentation of any maneuver at all. There is a good chance that the judges may push the red button in more situations that might have been acceptable in the past. Result could be a technically easier judging procedure with only two, very seldomly three buttons to push, which would face an increasing number of penalty calls. Mission accomplished on one hand - penalty situations increased on the other hand.

A veteran competitor and member of the German 8-way team, which finished in 4th place in Croatia, Uwe Soppa, detected this controversy and possible conflict situation and posted his evaluation of the new penalty situation at the NSL Discussion Forum.

I'm astonished that everybody posting messages here seems to feel comfortable with the term "clearly presented" which is mentioned multiple times in the rules as if it would become more obvious like that. 

For me this is a fuzzy definition and what appears top be clear to me or other skydivers might be unclear to a judge. Fuzzy definitions, developed pretending to protect the judges authority are not the right way for a sport with clear and distinct rules defining what a grip is, what a centerpoint is, and so on. 

I was hoping for more technical definitions which can be verified by video and YES, this means, accepting slow motion for grip issues and and even stills for centerpoint issues. I think that the hardware to do this fast and efficiently is available today. I wouldn't want to be a judge under these circumstances. 

I see a lot of trouble coming up with judges punching the fault button if something appears to be unusual to them, or too fast, but not wrong. Hey, it's only one point, used to be two, so don't get mad... 


Soppa makes a very interesting point, which can still be discussed at the NSL Forum. Only time will tell how the teams, competitors and judges will deal with the new situation. The 2005 season is the test year for the IPC. The NSL leagues have scheduled enough meets to get a lot of feedback. The SSL Valentine's Meet and season opener did not bring any extraordinary experiences. The next evaluation will follow after the FSL Shamrock Showdown 2005 on March 19 at Skydive DeLand.
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