Cones are Killing Slalom
Personally I would like to see a move AWAY from the standard competition cone. And while my friend Dan Gesmer has many thousands of dollars invested in the "Seismic/Turner" competition cone, he agrees with me on this.
I once calculated that MORE time is spent chasing, counting, and replacing cones, in a TS race, than is spent actually racing. This is insanity.
This sport is more like bowling than skateboarding sometimes.
Imagine the excitement of the spectator as they watch "course workers" (kids grabbed from the crowd) run around collecting cones and trying to hold them up (or a placard) so that a guy can count them up, report to another guy the number and color of the cones, so he can use a computer to calculate the penalty time added to his course time for knocking over the cone.
On top of that the spectator, who has just watched two skateboarders race down a hill, cannot tell you who won until this calculation has been completed.
I know this is slalom heresy, but cones got to go!
The closest we have come to mitigating for what I will call the "cone problem" is by adopting the Max cone rule that came from Grass Roots rules, was used in Morro Bay Nationals, and was generally disliked by the racers.
Word to Racers GET OVER IT. Its not about you. Its about the spectator. Well, OK, its not ALL about the spectator. We DO need an obstacle that you can see, that is safe, and is inexpensive, but I firmly believe we can come up with this and seriously improve the sport, both for the racer, the race organizer, and especially the spectator.
I have experimented with EVA foam disks with great results. In fact it was John Hutson that introduced me to the idea. He practiced slalom in a business park in Santa Cruz. A quiet, but automotive active hill. He couldn't place cones on the hill, without attracting police intervention. So he used circular slabs of wetsuit material he got from O'Neil. He chose to keep the discs black. On black pavement, the motorists couldn't see them. They drove right over them. Didn't even bat an eye. They were heavy/stiff enough that they didn't move when a car drove over them, and when you ran over them on a skateboard, you could feel a slight tug on your wheels but it didn't throw off your balance.
It's the perfect solution (he says with religious zeal)! A "cone" you don't have to chase, that slows you down when you run over it, such that it is "self penalizing", and can be easily seen by the skater.
Hut's discs were black by design, but the flip side could be neon green or orange for competition.
What about criddling? For competition thats easy. Place a standard cone on the wrong side of the foam disc. If someone hits a cone, that's a DQ. No more guessing if the guy went around the correct side of the cone. If a cone flies, it's an obvious DQ.
Imagine a slalom contest where you never had to count cones, the spectators could watch a dual race and immediately know the outcome, and no "cone heads" were needed to work.
I look forward to your comments.