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January 21, 2005

At the City Council building in downtown Penrith, in
a board room, an unlikely group of people filled the room. Dressed like
your typical kayakers, bear foot, sandals, t-shirts, and shades, the room
filled quickly, with athletes and representatives from the corners of
the earth. The subject of conversation was to be the rules that freestyle
will use in competition. Muppett from England worked out a system over
the past year, while, Fred from the French Federation had a full power-point
presentation. North America represented by Kristine declined presenting
our system that we used in 2004 competition because it was almost identical
to the French system, and the last thing we wanted to do is to confuse
the issue and split the crowd. The beautiful thing about the meeting was
the incredible consistency in the desires and goals for the scoring system
to be chosen or created. It was simply to encourage the best and most
variety of moves in a rides, eliminating repetition and the ability to
win with easier moves repeated. There were plenty of discussions that
appeared to be arguments on different points such as a style score, or
a completion bonus, or a vertical bonus, etc., etc. but in the end it
was an issue of trying to imagine the system in action and lots of uncertainly
due to lack of experience with them that raised questions. However, the
committee, the athletes and the team leaders are all quite unanimous in
their position to replace the existing system with a system like the one
used in North America and France, and proposed by the UK.

The other main factor in determining a system was to
assure that it is easy to implement, easy to score, and easy to understand.
The beautiful thing about the variety only systems:

You don’t need a calculator or computer- simple
addition of move scores and bonuses for Huge or Big, or Completion and
you have a final score.

In the ideal situation when you use an odd number of
judges you can drop the high and low judges leaving a single middle score,
which prevents the need for compiling multiple scores and also eliminates
potential bias scores that would either jack up or bring down an athletes
final score. This is very cool.
A spectator can watch and see what moves an athlete does and determine
who is winning, much easier to understand.

All that is remaining for the IFC to do is to complete
a scoring system in writing, either adopting the US/Canada, French or
UK system and make any adjustments that are requested, or use the spirit
of them to write a new set of rules that starts from scratch.

Any way you cut it, freestyle is moving forward once

🙂 EJ



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Board Room

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Czech Team Rep

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Getting thinks started

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Natailie Calder, Mike Birbeck, and Lawrence Simpson

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Peter Flowers and Mike Birbeck