ijsba_original_100Greetings from IJSBA Headquarters.  This is the “end of spring” update.  Although the three day weekend normally marks the start of summer vacation, summer does not actually start until the Summer Solstice which usually brings an IJSBA update celebrating the day.  For now, we celebrate all the students who have just graduated or at least finished their last set of finals for the year.  We just broke the 130 day mark before the start of the 2015 quakysense World Finals.  Other important events, around the world, are about to start up as well.  2015 is off to a great start with the events that have already wrapped up.  2015 will be one of the most remarkable years for change and evolution in IJSBA history.  Please share the following information with your friends and colleagues in the PWC Racing community.

IJSBA Western Nationals This Weekend

The 2015 Parker event is usually the biggest race of the year, in the USA, outside of World Finals.  Pre-registration news shows that this year may be the biggest turnout ever.  Ski classes dominate the current entry list but a respectable runabout contingent is showing up.  The Bluewater Casino will be packed full of spectators and participants thanks to RPM Racing’s very successful round of Jettribe’s Best In The West series.  The action starts tomorrow at the Blue Water Casino in Parker, Arizona.  For more information, please visit:    http://www.bluewaterfun.com/.

IJSBA Reminds Competitors Of Two Event Requirement For World Finals Eligibility

In January 30, of this year, IJSBA announced that competitors would be required to participate in two events, in 2015, in order be eligible for the 2015 quakysense World Finals.  The quality and safety of the event demands that participants are experienced and seasoned in the same year in order to compete at the world championship level.  The World Finals entry form will require the competitor to enter the two qualifying events.  Failure to list these events will bar the competitor from checking in at registration.  The original bulletin announcing this requirement is listed as here:  http://www.ijsba.com/2015/01/30/ijsba-notifies-competitors-of-two-event-requirement-for-world-finals-eligibility/.

USA National Championships Determine Single Digit Numbers At World Finals

The 2015 IJSBA National Championship will be held September 18-21 in Cocoa Beach, Florida.  This standalone event will crown the annual IJSBA rankings for the United States.  Competitors in this event will be allowed to run their earned number at the 2015 quakysense World Finals and in the 2016 competition season.  The IJSBA USA National Championship also counts as one of the qualifying events for World Finals eligibility.  This even is produced by P1 Aqua X who has set new standards in production quality and media exposure for PWC Racing.  For more information about this event, please visit:  www.p1grandprix.com.

2016/2017 Tentative Table Of Contents Released

For those of you who may have missed it, IJSBA has released the tentative table of contents for the 2106/2017.  You can see it here:  http://www.ijsba.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/2016-Rule-Book-Table-Of-Contents.pdf.  The new IJSBA Competition Rule book will be seen as a more enjoyable format that is much easier to follow.  To begin, the book will be divided by the type of watercraft, either Runabout or Ski (don’t worry Sport Class racers, your watercraft is still in the book, it is just placed in a section of alternative watercraft types) which will allow the subsequent modification provisions (ie Stock, Limited) to focus totally on that particular type of watercraft when determining the legality of modifications.  Next, the book will be based off of a four stroke engine platform for Runabout categories rather than placing intermittent four stroke provisions among a two stroke set of modification allowances.  Finally,  all of Freestyle will be contained in one section so that the modifications and policies can all be more easily referenced together.  Please send us your comments on ways that you feel the IJSBA Competition Rulebook can be better presented.

2015 quakysense World Finals Class List

IJSBA has posted the expected class list for the 2015 quakysense World Finals.  The class list has several consolidation notices for 2016.  Most notably, GP Ski and Pro Ski will merge into Pro Ski in 2016.  Many classic classes will merge into a Normally Aspirated format and the Runabout Normally Aspirated (a hybrid of Two Stoke Limited and Four Stroke Stock) will disappear in favor of these new consolidated classes.  2015 will be the final year that the weeklong schedule resembles the format you have seen in the past.  Consistent with the rule changes and look to the future, the landscape will change rapidly over the next couple of years and we will already be showing the format for the new racing in 2015.  New changes will include structured times for competition, interviews, and product highlights on the Pro Weekend.  Racing and race results, from world finals, will take on a more direct and interactive relationship with social media.  Those of you who like some of the older legacy classless are advised to participate this year to help show IJSBA which categories  need to be included in future programs.  Please view the class list here if you have not already done so:  http://www.ijsba.com/2015/05/25/ijsba-releases-expected-class-list-for-2015-quakysense-world-finals/.

IJSBA Competitor Mark Gomez Makes Go Pro Video Of The Month

IJSBA competitor Mark Gomez mad GoPro’s “video of the month.”  At nearly a quarter million views at the time of this posting, Mark’s use of a selfie stick on the front of his Ski made for some very beautiful footage.  The publicity was great for the sport Personal Watercraft competitions as GoPro sent the video link out to subscribers of the GoPro newsletter.

If you have not seen it yet, you really need to.  Good job, Mark!

https://youtu.be/R2_0CSlV9SU

IJSBA Hearing Appeals For Masters Ski Age Changes

IJSBA changed the age of Masters Ski competitors from 40 years to 45 years.  IJSBA will be hearing appeals from persons who have competed in Masters Ski and are older than 42 that they might be “grandfathered” into Masters Ski.  Such an appeal may be sent by persons who have competed in Masters Ski, at IJSBA World Finals, every year since they were the age of 40.  If you have such an appeal, it may be sent to info@www.ijsba.com.  IJSBA also welcomes comments from competitors, aged 45 and older, who object to such appeals.  IJSBA will not be hearing appeals to grandfather competitors into Veterans Ski classes.  35 years will remain the minimum age to compete in Veterans Ski.

IJSBA Tech Team Researching And Updating Turbo Policy

Who needs a day off?  Obviously not the IJSBA Tech Director or Managing Director!  A considerable amount of time has been spent researching the cooling systems of turbochargers to figure out how to apply Rule 8.8.1.  We have, literally, spent several hours on this the last few weekends.  The IJSBA Technical director will be reviewing the last set of recommendations as to how interpretations of Rule 8.8.1 apply to the turbochargers that are being used in PWC Racing format.  A written explanation will take into account the turbochargers that are used in several sanctioned racing platforms around the world.  We expect that we will have identified the areas that are traditionally water jacketed on most turbochargers as well as the safety applicability of putting those turbochargers in a Personal Watercraft.  We expect to have this advisory posting by the next update.   Those persons who have questions and concerns related to aftermarket turbochargers are advised to send them to us right away.

IJSBA Announces Aqualife Festival At 2015 World Finals Tradeshow

IJSBA is pleased to announce the expansion of the trade show portion of the IJSBA World Finals.  Many inquiries have been sent to IJSBA asking to be part of the trade show in order to exhibit products that are outside of the Personal Watercraft market but are none-the-less related to recreational enjoyment of water.  This has caused IJSBA to develop a new addition to the trade show called The Aqualife Festival.  The Aqualife Festival will be a celebration of everything related to the recreational enjoyment of water.  Exhibitors will range from traditional technology (floating toys, pool systems, water cannons, mist system, etc.) to revolutionary new products (water based motor vehicles, waterproof drones, buoyancy technology, etc.).  IJSBA is partnering with online distribution companies as well as developers on Kickstarter to give the public a physical viewing opportunity to a product that otherwise can only be seen on the internet.  The Aqualife Festival is working to be a touring production with the 2016 IJSBA World Endurance Tour.  Please stay tuned for more information regarding some surprise exhibitors.

IJSBA Online Store To Reopen This Summer

IJSBA launched a new web format a few months ago.  We have been doing back end work getting ready to launch an even more improved version.  IJSBA will be reopening the online store this summer and will blow out all of our old inventory as we prepare for a fresh new line from Shirtwerx.  Please inquire about bulk purchases of older DVD, T-Shirts, VHS, and other IJSBA accessories as we will be offering wholesale incentives on these items.  We look forward to the new store and to seeing all of you in clean new IJSBA branded t-shirts soon!

State Of The Sport

We are closing this month’s update with a brief state of the sport report.  Personal Watercraft are a discretionary item which, naturally, enjoys more pervasive sales when there is greater discretionary income in the areas where PWC are heavily marketed.  When a recession hit the United States, the largest market for Personal Watercraft, in 2007 (depending on who you ask), PWC sales dipped but racing remained reasonably strong until fuel prices had a noticeable static increase in 2011, with a peak, in 2014, just before World Finals.   Fuel pricing clearly affected some racing but IJSBA numbers continued to grow.  World Finals participation stayed constant from 2013-2014.  The last few years have seen an increase in PWC sales, with a noticeable rise in both new and used watercraft sales since 2013.  With some economic improvement (again, depending on who you ask) ramping up 2015, we expect both the recreational and competition markets to continue to grow.  A drop in fuel prices started 2015 in the right direction.  The fuel prices and global currency exchange rates will be the most significantly watched factors in racing for 2015.

On the IJSBA side of things, we have outperformed the economy by a significant measure.  IJSBA membership in the USA is reaching a fifteen year high.  IJSBA has approximately double the US memberships we had this time, last year.  Numbers are rising at IJSBA sanctioned events in the USA with the last few months bringing several new partners looking to host sanctioned racing events at their waterfront venues and have expressed that their first priority is to secure IJSBA competitions.  IJSBA has explored new models to reduce costs to event organizers while holding prices constant for competition licenses and industry partners.  2015 will celebrate more than a decade of nor price increases for vendors and sponsors of the World Finals event.  Prices to participate in the competition, in the last ten years, has risen less than the annual cost of living.  By being conservative in our use of funds, IJSBA has continued to bring the world’s largest watercraft event at the lowest possible price.  This year, IJSBA will be investing some of these funds in the aesthetic upgrade of the World Finals presentation.  This will not cause a price increase in 2015.  We hope the returns from this investment will be strong enough to continue to keep prices down.

Internationally, IJSBA continues to see growth.  Many IJSBA Affiliates are showing an increase in the number of events held, annually, as well as increased levels of participation at those events.  Most notably, more regions are requesting IJSBA Sanctioned World Championship level events.  Asia and the Middle East are certain to drive a larger amount of Personal Watercraft events over the next few years with some models predicting that racing in these regions may eclipse the USA as the center of the PWC industry.  IJSBA has also been brought in to do policy consulting at a greater level than in the last decade.  IJSBA’s resources are quite valuable in helping governments plan for the growth in Personal Watercraft use and we will do our best to ensure the safe use of watercraft.  One of the best tools to ensure safe watercraft use is introducing young people to PWC in a controlled environment.  For this reason, IJSBA will heavily advocate licensing for young riders and participation in closed sanctioned activities (such as racing) as skills are being developed.  IJSBA is also developing an updated International Affiliate agreement which will make communication mandatory for all countries under the IJSBA organization.  This will mean participating in databases and updates so that the classification of racers and the caliber of class designations stays consistent from country to country. This will also ensure more uniformed rule interpretations.

IJSBA has been diligently working on a completely revamped Competition Rule Book.  The new rule book format should make for a much easier to follow system of regulations on what can, and cannot, be done to a Personal Watercraft in the various competition classes.  The Rule Book will be printed for two year periods beginning in 2016.  The most important transition for the Competition Rule Book will be to digital media.  IJSBA has been (slowly) developing a combination app/digital rule book that will allow competitors to input the modifications done to a PWC and have the app tell you what classes the competitor is/is not eligible for based on those modifications.  This has not been an easy task but we are determined to have a beta version ready for World Finals.

Perhaps the most significant new development is in the IJSBA restructuring that has been slow but very much evolving.  The IJSBA International Headquarters is planned to continue to serve as the primary research entity for the OEM producers as well as oversee the standards and practices and quality control of sanctioned PWC Racing.  The model of the  IJSBA International Headquarters will be to own the intellectual property of IJSBA and to license it to various entities; those entities will, in turn, manage the segments of the sport democratically through a common unity called IJSBA Racing.  Competition management policy and rule book changes will be made through a general assembly process which will be sent to the IJSBA headquarters for ratification.  The role of the IJSBA Executive Director will be to administer the ratified policies, to oversee dispute resolutions, and to maintain the business practices of IJSBA.  International consulting will also be part of the Executive Director’s role.  The IJSBA Technical Director will be a function of IJSBA International Headquarters and this officer will make final interpretations of any technical matter that is left to interpretation after the ratification of technical rules.  This process will give more governing power to the community as a whole.  This power requires participation and we trust that the community is prepared to make this commitment.

A final change coming to IJSBA is going to be a further prioritization on creating two levels of racing, each with its own level of focus.  IJSBA intends to empower regional, club, and smaller affiliate entities with easier to manage programs that will make their racing more cost effective and can best serve the needs of budget conscious, locally based, grass roots type racing.  Similarly, IJSBA intends to ensure that those organizers that are capable of producing highly visible, world class competitions have the support and recognition that distinguishes these types of events and brings the necessary attention to the sponsors and competitors who are operating at a higher budget level.  The idea is going to be to have these two different types of entities each have their own type of ranking system so they can both grow, complement each other, and make the entire sport larger.  We find too often that events are being judged by a “one size fits all” standard.  Obviously this is going to take some compromise and some willingness to view things through a different lens than we have the last few years but we are confident that this two tiered system will grow the sport and prevent different caliber events from being in competition with one another.  Please watch for the first draft of the two tiered proposal coming soon.

In closing, IJSBA is poised to have another successful year.  We have been busy the last few months making changes where they need to be made, making improvements, and being progressive in modernizing how we will operate without abandoning the core qualities of what has kept us alive for nearly forty years.  Please send any comments and questions to info@www.ijsba.com.  On behalf of the IJSBA staff, Board of Directors, International Affiliates, OEM members, and Aftermarket Industry, we look forward to serving you and continuing to take PWC Racing to new heights.