PWC COMPETITION SOLUTIONS

CHOICES

We are imperfect in our power, drama and expectations. It is possible to control and navigate specific behaviors and expectations based on leadership and team principles. This is a mutable relationship built upon trust and enforcement.

This trust is dependent upon expected exchanges agreed upon by determined rules and regulations. Trust on the racetrack is also lifesaving and sportsmanlike conduct for competitor, staff and spectator.

These relationships are specific between several entities, associate governing bodies and staff members, sponsors, competitors and their supporting teams, regional and national pride, culture, boating rules and regulations, maturity, spiritual presence, equipment compliance, physical ability, sanctioned rule books and expectations.

This is a complicated blend of human directives.

Racing has a distinct pattern to it. Racing is a game. In the game there are rules, actions, weather and water conditions, human interaction, equipment demands and dialogue. In this game there are liabilities, and risks. This game holds disappointments, tragedy, success, ambition, fulfillment and enforcement.

Facts are important because they decipher truth. It takes an interview process based on facts and where those facts are derived from and how they are interpreted to arrive at plausible conclusions. The truth must be accepted. Otherwise corruption is given allowance.

A person can have all the answer that are appropriate in the room, but if the audience denies the answers, then the neglect will continue to operate with poor results the audience demands.

Race preparation is an extensive process. It is costly and bears aspirations from both staff and participants. The demands are vast and complicated, when fatigue is an admixture a lot of volatile patterns can evolve, some are in the imagination and some are concrete fact.

The content that evolves and is transmitted for racing is complicated. It requires study, proper training, vetting and education.

Fundamental understandings and expectations may be in conflict. To move forward as a competent race community, we face a myriad level of chaotic events, and structures that are based in factual domains.

There are many people serving towards the goal of a podium finish. Only a select few individuals will attain the elevation of a Championship attempt let alone bear the #1 plate.

On Friday, the IJSBA Awards for Amateur Ski Lites were to be gifted their trophies. These competitors raced on the previous Wednesday, which means they wait an additional 2 days for their awards ceremony.

They were not called to the stand up on the podium in front of their race peers to receive their due recognition for World Championship earned placings. After waiting through the entire awards program for their class to be called up. How could this happen? We have to perceive a lot of contributing causes and reactions.

The awards announcer and responsible staff for the awards did a poor job reflecting sincerity regarding the lack of accountability and a deserved explanation and public apology from complaints received. They may not have been aware of the situation regarding the trophies.

This could be due to multiple factors, such as staffing issues, fatigue, it could have been a communication error, or the chain of command may have failed. Trophies were stated to have been stolen after the Awards were completed.

However, once the alarm was raised by the competitors themselves emergency actions could have taken place at that time to make amends and modify some solution for petition of error or acknowledgement. Who would be responsible for this action?

Staffing hierarchy structure would need to be clearly outlined with operational guidelines to ensure program success.

Along with the Amateur Ski Lites Champions, likewise the Pro Runabout 1100 Stock Class Champions did not receive their trophies.

This is intolerable at a World Championship event from what appears to be incompetence in managing an awards program in hindsight. Staff needs to make admission on this and not cower in ego defense. Admit the wrongs, identify the issues and fix them, now.

PREPARATION IS EXPENSE

There are also Technical Inspection calls that are in dispute. My question to staff is how familiar are you with the 2019 IJSBA Rule book and the interpretation of those rules? Who mentored you and signed you off after a vetting process? How were you tested and what evaluations occurred? What are your qualifications?

I also extend this responsible accountability to the competitors. Many who do not have English skills and staff has limited international language skills, do you understand the rules and the spirit of the rules? Did you experience frustration in understand and comprehension of rules or expressing them to others?

When we look at a problem you must also look at ourselves to find the answer. Communication is the best place to start.

Interpretations must be fact based. This begins with the Technical Inspection crew and Race Director along with Scoring or Registration (if that applies). It relies on the documents and inspection lists that are filled out for each entry. This is also a responsibility of those in Staging to be looking for any infractions as the race vessels come to the line. How is this noted and conducted if at all?

It is also a responsibility of the racer themselves, and their teammates to understand and ask effective questions far in advance if they are not understanding a specific issue.

This also means that the IJSBA needs a dedicated staff member who is highly trained in human relations communications (able to handle stressful situations and communicate with compassion and stand grand when needed) to be accessible on the race site from start to finish with language skills. This person needs an iPad to document each question and answer and load it into a database for access. This can support evidence based appeal processing. This iPad can also assist in language translations as needed.

However, in the IJSBA defense there may be secondary issues not exposed here that should be taken into consideration. This is the only way to gain understanding and equitable solutions. Blame is easy to project, solutions are what people step away from, because its uncomfortable to be held responsible, it requires time and effort.

We do not have the full story, only the expressions of competitors who did not receive the benefits of their efforts. There was a press release from the IJSBA stating that trophies were stolen and misappropriated, this could explain a lot, however the racers whose trophies were stolen should have been contacted as soon as this came to light individually. People understand hardship, they can deal with it.

Staff and Management need to be educated on the protocols and procedures of problems that may occur from unforeseen circumstances and have what is called an ‘action plan’ or what others would simply say ‘damage control’. Sincere apologies go a long way.
People can handle the truth, but not to be dismissed.

Here is a Pro Tip for the IJSBA staff and other venues: I propose a meeting, take notes, race stakeholders’ public comments, structure the complaints and the timeline of problems faced at the venue. Evaluate the issues that took place with fearless courage. Issue public apologies. Ensure these athletes, their teams and their sponsors are given a platform for recognition after the fact for their earned efforts.

Secondly; IJSBA needs to responsibly train staff members to a higher level of functionality with organizational solutions for secondary controls. Staff members need to be vetted, tested, evaluated and assessed. Some people may not be the right fit for this job and they have to go away. Their Character and principles may not align with altruistic work. Others deserve more support and encouragement.

These people deserve a stronger leadership platform to assist them in the safe and competent production of a legacy event.

Perhaps it will take novice and seasoned IJSBA staff will take this into consideration and care about their constituents they represent with a higher level of professionalism. It would be helpful if staff would remember these simple pressures that people are placed under.

There are emotional and physical demands, lack of language translations from staff to teams that lead to frustration and misunderstandings. Many competitors who travel from all over the world, pay high costs throughout the year to compete for qualifying for this event, acquiring equipment, funding, sponsorship and travel demands.

It is demanding for both the supporting staff as it is for the athletes and their teams. There is a lot of emotion, hopes, aspirations and disappointments that are experienced during an event like this. There is the political climate, territorial issues and personality conflicts to navigate.

The IJSBA has disenfranchised many seasoned race event staff personnel and competitors. Some are deserving and some are incompetent rulings.

There may be financial considerations in these changes, personality or management conflicts. Whatever it is, solutions are potential for advancing the mission, vision and goals of Championship race events. It takes both parties to work together, like a marriage it is not about both sides, it is about the sum of the whole.

This problem is not just for Havasu, but worldwide. This has left a great void in mentorship, safety and event flow from crews and leaders. The time is now to address these concerns that have been voiced publicly by participants and former staff for a few years and organize a stakeholder meeting.

In defense of the current and past IJSBA staff, many are not paid high salaries, or they are volunteering their time, taking away from their work, livelihood and families. They sacrifice a lot to be a part of this amazing venue! They work long hours, in adverse conditions, and perhaps only once a year, or at local events, they may not have any training. Some of the rules and manners of racing may be different from where they are coming from in relation to this event.

Staff, you must hear the things you do not want to hear, you may shut down and become adversarial, that is not to your advantage.

Some of you may not be as great as you think you are. This goes the same for competitors. If you want to look at integrity in motorsports it begins with you.

Fearless review and inventory of your mistakes is the only way to grow the sport in unity. It’s not one against the other, it is everyone combined as a community invested in the culture and spirit of a dangerous and stressful motorized power sport. Otherwise carry on with the ‘Clown Down’ and drama, because it will only continue to slide downward with you driving it. It is your reputation you should be concerned about, not ego.

Do not expect affirmation or fame, expect sacrifice, hard work and personal achievement.

There are intolerable personalities who will continue to be a determinant to themselves and the race community by their own contempt and avoidance. There is nothing we can do to support folks such as this, they are unable to evolve.

LAZINESS IS AN ENDING

However, we as a culture can evolve by addressing known problems or recurring problems without ego or spitefulness. It will take effort and that is the problem. Some will inflict politics and strategy into dominance to undermine control. That is and has always been a challenge, but with personalities focused on unity a lot of that can be enforced and subsequently dismissed.

This is a strong justification for staff training and mentorship. Instead of focusing on the negativity, I have addressed concrete issues to solve. You may have others to bring to light. What are the solutions?

I am offering a solution.

If any noble IJSBA staff member who is willing and has the volition to further their competition event management skills, I would like to offer free training, mentorship and guidance to assist you in professionally developing your skill sets. I have the answers.

I also extend this same invitation to any race competitors who are interested in professionally developing their race career. This invitation will stand until the deadline of October 24, 2019 to allow enough time for sincerity in considering the truth of these matters for those who care and are willing to be constructive in resolution.

This is not about ego, company, nation or team bias or political affiliation, it is about competency in race management for both staff and competitors for power sport safety and competence. This commentary is positive in spirit and driven for the purpose of creating solutions and to deny future drama, blaming, shaming and mistrust of a sport that I helped develop along with my colleagues. Stand with us.

I have a strong pedigree in racing events and event management. However, I acknowledge that I have in the past made mistakes and I did make corrective measures after the fact. Today I remain in regret over some of my decisions that had negative effects on others. However, I determined not to make them again which I did not, and to apply myself towards a higher level of dedication to service, safety, accountability and communication towards others.

It is not easy to change, but it is the only way to move forward. Otherwise expect the same results. These are not new issues, they are just growing. In 2012 these same concerns were presented to the race community by myself and others, its now 7 years later and the issues are deteriorating. Many new racers have a sub-par race platform they enjoy today because they have nothing to scale it against. Those of us who are legacy pioneers know the difference.

What I learned about my mistakes was that I was not fully prepared to meet the demands I wanted to manage; I did not receive training because there was no source for such competency.

I had to retrain myself. In owning a mistake, the goal is not to repeat it. Once negligence is established as an awareness it is up to us collectively and individually to alter course. This means we must hear the truth, the hard facts, the mistakes and the full understanding of the situation and its reciprocal effects.

We must admit that these problems may have ancillary options we can understand and should. Ignorance is not an excuse. Safety is a behavior. Racing is not Fair. Staffing cannot rely merely on having a good heart, one must have competence and structure. Racers must come to an event fully prepared.

Not all racers are ready for the race track, they may not belong on a race track and therefore their scrutiny is most important. Do your homework, study, prepare, find a mentor or a coach, don't just show up to the starting line. Show up as a representative that understands the history, rulebook, water and your boat.

There is no value in pointing out problems if a solution is not offered. It is up to us as individuals to decide right now, what kind of a staff or competitor do we want to be? Do you want to be the person in the room or on the racetrack others will be able to depend upon?

The real question here is what are you willing to do to make effective changes? What effort are you willing to exert for solutions?

The past cannot be changed, but the future can be addressed. It begins with you, or it ends with you.

Private message this page PWC Competition if you are interested in accepting my proposal.
Those who do will not be disappointed, be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get to work.
Shawn Alladio
10.16. 2019

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DAY OF THE LEG DRAG

RED FLAG WARNING

I was racing at Long Beach at the Marine Stadium with the world’s greatest Jet Skiers. Many of my friends know this place well as first generation Jet Skiers; that was our hallowed ground for RPM loads! We all have race stories. This is one that helped me climb the ladder we call life.

To be on a track during that time was high energy! The competitive spirit and drive was a birthplace of everything that came after in Personal Water Craft racing.

New engines, pipes, pumps, anything you can think of was being engineered, designed and tested, curiosity was a fever. Development was a weekly high. This was part of the Jet Ski Fever.

I was a weekend stand up Jet Ski® racer; meaning I was a mother first, had my own business and was working hard to get the time and funds to compete on the weekends. And how we raced!

We had qualifiers, heats, last chance qualifiers and main events. Easily up to 50 women would vie for the limited top positions for the mains. Every main event was earned.

Racers with amazing talent across the nation would drive hundreds to thousands of miles to compare themselves to others. They represented 50% of the equation, the powerhouse gamble was their custom build and race teams.

Women were on these tracks. Lots of women!

These women opened the door for motorsports. They are Jet Ski icons and mavens. They gave a gift to this generation that should be determined in honor and gratitude.

Some day this current generation of female racers needs to do the same for those coming up behind them and we encourage them increase and not decrease the worth of our efforts. We gave a lot to this sport for 'future generations'.

We determine this to represent a code of honor for racing to rest upon. And for those who built it before me, I thank you.

Prominent Race Names come to mind:
Brenda Burns, Celeste Peterson, Bonnie Burns (Brenda's mother), Kelly Koster, Bonnie Gordon, and Cindy Coffman.

There was a race every weekend in California. BC Racing was our Region 1 promoter and I would enter 4-5 events. Whatever they had to offer I signed up: freestyle, closed course, obstacle, slalom and the gran prix (long distance).

My Jet Ski® was salvation. It kept me sane with the hectic pace of life I adopted as an adult juggling a lot of responsibilities. This was therapy for me. My Jet Ski® taught me about myself, racing was the delivery of tempered emotions, responsibility and dedication.

This was my right of passage. Mentorship came from those on the sides; my husband, my daughters my race mechanic, a variety of great holders and Kawasaki Motors Corporation and finally the IJSBA and it’s promoters. Those promoters worked very hard to put on their events. Even harder today with the reduced participant numbers.

Interesting fact which is the basis of this story. I did the first leg drag at the BC race at the marine stadium for us gals in my division. I was just starting to get into a race groove regionally.

At this race I had the pole position on the start in the main I had earned through the qualifiers.

The week prior I had been practicing the leg drag at WOT and got really good with it. I was competent and strong. I decided to use it in the next race. The men had been doing this for a while and I aspired to race like they did because I admire their power and aggressive drive.

It is race day, I'm on the pole. I get a fair start.

We are heading to the first turn buoy pretty much lined up in a stack off my starboard side. I will take advantage of the pivot on this turn to get the clean water ahead. I feel good.

I throw out my left foot and start the pivot to drag my foot on WOT.. However.......with that being said...........

When a leg drag is thrown the subsequent pitch of the hull offsets the flat bottom and makes a V off the gunwale angle. And guess what? Planing with a deep vee on a sharp edge throws a significant plume of whitewater like a garden hose. Yup, that’s' what it does on a stand up.

The first four riders closest to my starboard side, the first inside racer freaks from the water which I believe they thought I fell (appropriate assumption and a fearful one in a first turn). It's not fun having a blast of water at speed hit your face. This is blind faith to negotiate through streams of water.

Fear of getting hit on the first turn buoy and the next 5 are the highest risk of the race. Positions are challenged with skill and horsepower. Contact with another Personal Water Craft is a legitimate fear. It's real, people have died on race tracks.

Instead of holding their line and braving the turn, they turn sharply to their right and create a 4 boat pile up. I race away into beautiful glass water ahead and negotiate 2 more turn buoys to be faced with a red flag coming at me by a pursuing head on Course Marshal. It was probably Brad Southworth haha.

MINDSET

My happiness and joy I experienced for throwing down a foot was replaced instead by the color of danger. Red was my punishment.

My historic maneuver was diminished in disgrace and my pride slipped away. I was shocked. What the heck happened? Everything was perfect on that first turn! I didn't push anyone! I felt pigeonholed; men would never be given a red flag for a leg drag on the first turn! The guy who pushed the pack however would be! Rats! Suck it up Shawn, own it.

I track back towards the starting line wondering what happened and how that crash happened since it was behind me and not in front of me, I had no idea. I reset my mindset to get back on the track in my head and make a repeat stellar performance. I am not hoping for this. I want the win. Goals!

I get on the line with my holder and the rest of the racers recollect. The Course Marshal drives up to my pole position and places his hand to his head and taps it. What? What? He points to me! What? Nobody else?

I have been assessed the penalty on the start! I received this due to my fellow female racers not ready for the change and pushing through the risk. Which is not easy in a motorsport.

I was ready. It was time we climb one more rung in the race ladder. Change does not come easy or with acceptance, it comes from friction against the status quo.

I have 30 seconds to figure this out and not dwell on disappointment. My holder walks away. Dead start with no holder and a hand on my head signals absolute defeat. It is obvious I'm in a pinch. I am not going to waste the money I invested.

There is a level of shame involved in being the recipient of an infraction, sometimes it's worthy. It’s usually temporary because racing has no place for emotions, feelings are distractions. Racing only has a podium that dominates the waterspace.

Everyone there knows it’s me, I'm the one to dispute. There is no way to protest. 'Racer's fire up your engines'; so helmet down, refocus. Have fun and ride smart.

Spectators love drama, crashes and negativity.

Race teams like winning. These spectacles are to revel in the disaster by enjoying the setback one experiences.
This is the gladiator in the coliseum and we are all mere entertainment. People prefer damage to success. Essentially, we reduce this to one word ‘drama’.

Feeding drama is pointless and a distraction to race success.

Races have lots of drama. I decline to participate. It's back to the rule book and what it says for dead engine starts.

I have no holder now. I am alone on the start line standing in hip deep water. My fellow sister racers are all on game with their pumps out of the water revving up their pipes red hot. Damn! That sound is beautiful!

It wakes me up and I smile, I love that compression sound. That is why I am here.

They load their boats into the water for their final push and level out the hull as their holders strains to control their crafts straight, their heads are tucked and ready to battle the first turn.

DEAD LAST

I look over at them in their game. I notice the first four to my right. They are intent on the first turn buoy and not distracted. They are waiting for the Course Marshal to turn the card. The hold their breath waiting for the band to snap. Boats are fully loaded.

I make a decision that I will meet them on the track and dominate their track lines. I will pass every single one of them I tell myself. That is my goal. I am going to let myself go.

I thank them for my race ahead. In my mind I run a quick win on fast forward.

The rubber band snaps. They are off on that wonderful ‘wot wot wot’ sound with the tell-tale whitewash that is the signature of thrust and super stock power.

As they race away, I start my Jet Ski loaded sideways on my hip to not overload the back pressure of the exhaust and drop the hull into the water.

I pull my throttle drawing a left knee into the tray, I stand up and tuck down and I pin it to win it. I’m tracking over their wonderful trailing jet wash wakes. I race as if there are 11 race boats at my side.
They have all crossed the first inside line buoy and are fighting for the hierarchy structure on the track.

I ride my race on my terms. I unleash permission and I let my race boat do its job. I don’t interfere. I let my boat do all the work and I stay in step with it. My breathing is calm and steady.

I am in that space of wonder. That internal mind. That hidden area that is given permission to awake where before slumber was comfortable and convenient in the middle of the pack.

The track is tight, with a lot of buoy turns and laps. I pick off every single racer on the track one by one. I win the race. From dead last I was number 1.

I knew I was going to win that race. In my mind, I had won that race before I started the boat. I cannot say that about any other race I had been in prior to this one.

I am a bit surprised honestly I am doing this. I never imagined I would pass this many race boats or even have the talent to do so, let alone competitive horsepower.

I won that race because of my sister racers. They also won with me.

If that call was not made against me, I would not have tapped into the hidden mind of permission. It was this race that I became an Apex Predator. I finally figured it out in my head! But it took the color of red to guide me and a failure.

I learned from that race a valuable lesson: Give Yourself Permission

This lesson is mindset through spirit. I teach this capability to my Rescue Water Craft students. One must wnat it and not be afraid to succeed.

It can be used for anything in life. Not everyone has it or wants it. This is something developed inside the internal will of a human who has a hunger for greatness. It is a passage.

My sister racers are my champions. They are my personal race heroes.

Without them I would be nothing. With them I am something.

They are part of my team, not adversaries. If we are not pushing one another towards greatness we are holding one another back and that my dear friends is the most selfish act of all in competition.

Keep in mind that we also had up to 4 log jumps and sometimes mini ramps on the closed course race track. Not like today where race tracks have reduced women's stand-up racing to a token of risk in a reverse discrimination against everything us first generation racers fought for. And loved!

We weren't afraid of ramp jumps or log jumps, they were equalizers of talent just like the slalom event.

Racing today is a fragment of the raw excitement it used to be. We can thank promoters and track design for that disaster. Runabouts do not belong on our closed course tracks. Yes, quote me because evidence is my master and it should be yours as well. And the evidence does not lie, but people do.

Runabouts are best suited for endurance and offshore race events due to mass weight, distance of travel and speed vs risk and safety. I'll save that for another story.

Moral of my race story:
Racing isn’t fair and neither is life.

We earn our effort and sometimes it’s taken away. But we keep on keeping on.

We respect our competitors and honor them.

They are us and we are them.

______________________
Posted: June 23, 2019

Content Creator of Rescue Water Craft and Personal Water Craft boating international education standards: Shawn Alladio is the world’s foremost authority and leading subject matter expert. She cares most about her community and the culture surrounding the safety of event service providers and Rescue Water Craft operators, working hard and dedicated towards protecting their reputation, distributing safety information and continuing to train these amazing individuals to the highest standards of care.

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