Coping with Numbers in Div 1

General slalom chatter...rant about the bad, rave about the good

Coping with Numbers in Div 1

Postby Nick Penfold » Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:06 pm

Quite a few Div 1 races have been oversubscribed. It's debateable how big a problem this is: not that many "waiting list" applicants haven't got a race. But if it is a problem, help me with ideas about managing it.
We could
1 Get Div 1 numbers down. How?
Demote more:
Demote from below a higher cut-off line? You have to go very high to make much difference and the demotees would take up lots of the next year's promotion places.
Redefine “short season” to promoted after 31st July? This would make a big difference, because as things are we can't demote weak paddlers who got early promotion, even though they've had most of the season to scrape up points.
Slow down promotions from Div 2
Higher points targets
Fewer Div 2 races (because Div 2s have an awful lot of points-getting opportunities)
Promote more to Prem. Controversial, and reasonable lower promotion target would only move a small number.
2 Have more Div 1 races (but then paddlers will just go to more races)
3 Increase capacity at races
The only way I can see to do this is to abolish practice.
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Re: Coping with Numbers in Div 1

Postby JimW » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:36 pm

Ideally more races, I mean that's the point of the sport right?
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Re: Coping with Numbers in Div 1

Postby WindsorCC » Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:57 pm

Just having a look at the current situation in K1M, roughly 32 boats have gone up during the season, if it were to end now, just to keep the class the same size you'd need to demote everyone below about 70th place (obviously excluding those on SS), equating currently to around 1900 points.

Not sure off the top of my head what the demotion level has been, but obviously that's quite a lot of points to still be looking at demotion.

I can see the argument for reducing SS protection, as there are quite a few paddlers who've done four or five races since going up, but are sub 1000 points in total (some a lot less), so they'd stay up, whereas someone else close to 2000 points would go down. But, on the other hand you probably can't expect someone to go up from div 2 to div 1, which is quite a jump, and to be getting mid-pack points straight away. There's a risk those paddlers go down at the end of the season, then get top three in the first five div 2s and go back up, etc etc. But, on the other, other hand, should they be doing more paddle-up to get experience before going up to div 1, but then that doesn't help numbers... AAAARRRGGGHHH!!!

In terms of more races, that'd be amazing and I'm certainly is the ideal solution, but it's been well explored on here that it's difficult with lack of suitable sites/too expensive sites/not enough organisers & volunteers.

It feels to me like there are certainly some races that are over-subscribed (although not if you get entries in early), but others with spare capacity. We need to be careful not to make the under-subscribed races (like I believe, Shepperton when it's just a Div 1) even more difficult financially, for the sake of some paddlers who aren't able to get entries to certain races.

I know it can be a challenge for those promoted later in the year, when some races are then full, but they have SS protection and then plenty of time the following year to get entries in early, and perhaps then racing as an official to get experience on the water for the following year?
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Re: Coping with Numbers in Div 1

Postby CeeBee » Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:12 pm

To me, the purpose and value from Div 1s is that you are allowed to practice. I think abolishing practice runs would therefore be a bad idea. I also don't think we should try to increase the capacity at these events anyway. These events run for long enough as it is.

A possibility would be that not all classes run at each Division 1 races e.g. e.g. no C1M or C1W or K1W or K1M. Events would still have sufficient paddlers with 1 class missing from C1M, C1W or K1W. Not sure an event could run on its own without the K1M though. A way to compensate for this could be for a Div 1 class to run alongside a Prem instead. Again, K1M cannot run with a Prem as too many paddlers.

This wouldn't solve capacity, but think each event should have an entry open date which is 3-4 months before the race so that those promoted during the season have an equal chance of getting a race - paddlers promoted to Div 1 are struggling to get Div 1 races as the events are already full.

I also think that Prem and Div 1 events should be run on separate weekends to improve the paddler experience so the event should be either a Double Prem or a Double Div 1. Many paddlers and families are travelling lengthy distances to events with all the associated travel and accommodation costs and it would be so much better value to have double races.
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Re: Coping with Numbers in Div 1

Postby Dee » Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:27 pm

Based on the div 1s that have used the online entry. The majority of div 1s do not end up being over-subscribed. To be honest I'd say that the balance is about right. (Prem is not dissimilar)

The noticable exception is Llandysul which is at least in part because it is a panceltic and championship so some places go to non-host paddlers and HPP 1/2. My guess is that by the time these competitions come around the numbers on the waiting list will drop as cancellations (and div 1s promoted to prem) will open up extra spaces.

Looking purely at Host paddlers (ignoring paddle ups, officials and opens), the following shows entry limit, accepted entries and those on the waiting list. We do not remove waiting lists entries post events so these should reflect the situation at the time the competition happened.

competitionName date entry Limit Acc Wait
Shepperton - Div 1 04/03/2017 150 118 0
Shepperton - Div 1 05/03/2017 150 116 0
Llandysul Div 1 18/03/2017 200 163 0
Llandysul Div 1 19/03/2017 200 158 0
Pinkston Div 1 06/05/2017 200 117 0
Pinkston Div 1 07/05/2017 200 113 0
Paul McConkey 14/05/2017 200 147 0
Canolfan Tryweryn 03/06/2017 160 145 2
Canolfan Tryweryn 04/06/2017 160 142 3
Grandtully Div 1 26/08/2017 200 173 0
Grandtully Div 1 27/08/2017 200 172 0
HPPCC Div1 03/09/2017 150 167 0
Llandysul Div 1 07/10/2017 230 166 20
Llandysul Div 1 08/10/2017 230 176 11
HPP Div 1/2 28/10/2017 150 141 47

(Sorry, but can't get columns to line up on here)
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Re: Coping with Numbers in Div 1

Postby Nick Penfold » Sun Sep 10, 2017 3:28 pm

Broadly, Dee's numbers suggest that early season races cope, and a problem develops as the season goes on. Which makes sense, partly because Div 1 numbers typically grow by about 20% over the year (some promoted to Prem, but about 3 times as many promoted from Div 2)

each event should have an entry open date which is 3-4 months before the race
I love this idea, but I think we'd have to go over to online-only entry to make it possible - otherwise what can an organiser do with cheques and cards other than stash them and process them when the time comes, which defeats the aim?

Another idea: stop carrying Pan Celtics and Junior and Vets Championships on the back of Div 1 races. That's often what breaks the bank on entries. How about running the Pan Celtic as one freestanding, seriously supported event each year, hosted by the countries in turn? Junior and Vets Championships ditto?

By the way, it's tempting always to look at K1M because it's the biggest class - I do it myself too often. But it isn't Div 1 K1M numbers that are the issue - they haven't changed much in a long period of time. It's paddlers paddling more often (so we must be doing something right, guys) and growth of numbers in historically small/non existent classes - K1W, C1W and C1M.
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Re: Coping with Numbers in Div 1

Postby Dee » Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:32 pm

Nick Penfold wrote:....otherwise what can an organiser do with cheques and cards other than stash them and process them when the time comes.....


Shred them!
Enter by post early and your entry and cheque is immediately shredded when received, otherwise everyone will go ahead with a postal entry to beat all the online entries!

If I'd received any postal entries to Sheppy div 1 before 12th night, I guarantee that they would have been "lost" in the Christmas clear up. Fortunately nobody was that daft. :)
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Re: Coping with Numbers in Div 1

Postby Mick h » Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:32 pm

I have been racing in Div 1 since 1995. My first race was on Bala Mill there were 111 K1 men on the start list and the previous day I raced in a Div 2 at the Graveyard with 130 K1 men so why all of a sudden have we got a problem?

We now race courses that are less than two minutes with intervals of one minute between paddlers. We used to have courses 3 minutes long at 1 minute intervals between paddlers so logic says that there is no need to run at one minute and we should be able to have 45 seconds between paddlers. I have raced at 45 seconds when time has been short due to technical issues and this has not caused problems.

Why would a paddler who has raced in Div 1 want to paddle on the Div 2 courses that are on the calendar? We have lost too many of the testing races we used to have, such as The Graveyard, Stilling Basin, Serpents Tail, Appletreewick, Halton Rapid and many more.

I have accumulated 1703 points this season which should have been enough to keep me in Div 1, so I have not entered anymore races. However, now there is talk of moving the goalposts, is this fair?

So do I turn Vet and still take a place on the Div 1 start lists or will that option be closed?
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Re: Coping with Numbers in Div 1

Postby Debs » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:09 am

Make promotion harder from division 2 to 1, and 3 to 2.
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Re: Coping with Numbers in Div 1

Postby HPPaddle » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:52 am

Dees numbers from the online system show that there really isn't a problem at all, although there is a perceived one. Llandysul is full due to the non-host division paddlers, so this race shouldn't be considered as the basis of changing the structural issues of the races, points system, promotion and demotion criteria. Trywryn had 3 paddlers who were not able to race, again, not enough to say we need a radial rethink. And then there is HPP. The last race of the season, when there will be a maximum number of people newly promoted and wanting to race, and people trying for last minute promotion.

The numbers just don't suggest that there is a season long problem of getting entries. People promoted in July got places at the September HPP race. It doesn't seem necessary to make radical changes to a system that Dees numbers suggest isn't overflowing.

Maybe at the HPP race a couple of the classes could run on the Sunday alongside the div 2 which isn't going to be full. Div 1 C1 perhaps?
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Re: Coping with Numbers in Div 1

Postby Nick Penfold » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:17 am

My first race was on Bala Mill there were 111 K1 men on the start list and the previous day I raced in a Div 2 at the Graveyard with 130 K1 men so why all of a sudden have we got a problem?


How many K1Ws, C1Ms and C1Ws were there at your Bala Mill race, Mick? At HPP last week we had 85 K1Ms, 40 K1Ws, 22 C1Ms, 15 C1Ws and 3 Vets - 165, plus 15 officials.

And yes, 45 second starts are possible, but speaking as a regular judge I can tell you that 15 seconds less spacing can make things very difficult, and harm the quality of the judging you get.
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Re: Coping with Numbers in Div 1

Postby JimW » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:33 am

One thing the stats don't tell you is how many people saw the event was full and had a long waiting list and then didn't bother to join it because it seemed hopeless.

I have seen a few div 2s promoted recently who have subsequently had conversations with me or others along the lines of "are you going to try and get an entry for X div 1 next week (or sometime soon)" with the response "No, it will be too late now, last time I checked the waiting list was huge". This late in the year some of them are already murmering about probably not getting an entry this season now.
I hope they all did check and find the waiting list had diminished and did get entries in the end.

I think perhaps we need to tackle the perception more than the reality?

Can we encouage paddlers to pull out earlier rather than last minute, or do they really only find out last minute that they can't go?
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Re: Coping with Numbers in Div 1

Postby Foxton » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:45 am

I noticed that some div 2 paddlers have managed to get a place in the div 1 race coming up at LLandysul as PU’s whilst there are div 1 paddlers who can’t get a place on the waiting list. I’m not against PU’s when there is space but when you have fewer races in div 1 it adds to the problem.
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Re: Coping with Numbers in Div 1

Postby Mick h » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:59 am

Nick I think if you look back at old year books you will see most races had a limit of 200 paddles, with judges that race was 180 paddlers.

To make the judging situation work at 45 seconds paddlers could be made to judge giving more judges to cover the sections.
Last edited by Mick h on Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Coping with Numbers in Div 1

Postby JimW » Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:04 pm

Mick h wrote:We have lost too many of the testing races we used to have, such as The Graveyard, Stilling Basin, Serpents Tail, Appletreewick, Halton Rapid and many more.


What are the reasons for the losses?
Is it generally withdrawl of permission by landowners, or increased facilities costs, or simply the loss of willing organisers, or worse still the loss of the clubs that organised them?

I am relatively new to all this but I know many of the rapids that I hear used to host div 2 slaloms, and it does concern me that perhaps perceptions of what is a div 2 standard course have been lowered. I have a couple of times heard comments that certain venues aren't really div 2 venues, they are too 'difficult' (in terms of the water strength/flow/drops) - always about my favourite kinds of venues that I would like to see more of on the calendar!

I wonder if in a way div 2 has become the slalom equivalent of grade 4 in river running? Grade 4 covers a huge range of difficulty and types of rapids, div 2 has to cover a wide range of paddler abilities and levels of confidence - both are in danger of losing their meaning.

Are my musings still relevant to numbers in div 1?
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