Judging

The role of a judge in a surfing contest is to decide which surfer performs the closest to the judging criteria in any heat. It is essential, therefore, that judges have experience and knowledge to give them confidence to obtain the correct results.

The Surfing Criteria

“The surfer must perform committed (outside) radical maneuvers in the most critical sections of a wave with style (control), power, and speed to maximize scoring potential. Innovative and progressive surfing will be taken into account when rewarding points for committed surfing. The surfer who executes these criteria with the highest degree of difficulty and control on the better waves shall be rewarded with the highest scores.”

note – (outside) radical manoeuvres mentioned in the surfing criteria above refers to those critical manoeuvres performed at the start of the ride, as opposed to inside radical manoeuvres, performed at the end of the ride.

LONGBOARDING WILL BE JUDGED ON THE NORMAL SURFING CRITERIA. FURTHER, LONGBOARDING WILL BE JUDGED ON A COMBINATION OF TRADITIONAL AND CONTEMPORARY MANEUVERS WITH CONTROL BEING THE MAJOR FACTOR.

Distinct and important criteria

The fundamental importance of the surfing criteria is that each judge understands what he is looking for and each surfer knows the points on which he is going to be judged. It is vital for each member of the judging panel to adhere to the same point of reference (the criteria) so that each competitor knows how to maximise his scoring potential.

Analysis of the surfing criteria

The criteria have purposely been broken into two sentences. The first sentence being the major emphasis of the Criteria, concerns the maneuvers, how radical and controlled they are, the section of the wave they are performed on, and how they are strung together.

The criteria can be graded into three main sections:

1. RADICAL CONTROLLED MANOEUVRES

This is by far the MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE CRITERIA. Contemporary maneuvers basically constitute change of direction of the board on the wave (not the surfer on the board). Such maneuvers would include re-entries, cut backs, floaters, aerials, tube rides, etc. How radical they are, followed by the amount of control and commitment put into each of them, will determine how high they will score.

Power Committment Control

IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE, EVEN IF A SURFER HAS COMPLETED 90% OF A MANEUVER, IT WILL NOT SCORE IF HE LOSES CONTROL AND FALLS OFF.

2. MOST CRITICAL SECTION

This part of the Criteria describes the positions on the wave maneuvers should be performed to score the maximum points. THE CRITICAL SECTION OF THE WAVE IS THE “POCKET”, CLOSEST TO THE CURL. The degree of commitment and risk involved in performing a maneuver close to the curl is the reason that it scores higher.

3. WAVE SELECTION IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR FOR A SURFER IN HIS HEAT.

The waves he/she selects will dictate the maneuvers he is able to perform. Today there is less emphasis put on wave size in small to medium conditions due to the fact that the best waves may not necessarily be the biggest waves A surfer does not automatically score high because of wave size or quality.

He/she MUST comply with the first section of the Criteria to capitalize on full scoring potential.

The word “Style” has been written into the Criteria. However, It is not the judge’s responsibility to judge whether he likes an individual surfer’s style or not. The word style refers back to the word control. If a surfer executes radical maneuvers with control, his style works.

It bears repeating that it is vital for each member of a judging panel to adhere to the same point of reference (the criteria) so that each competitor knows how to maximize scoring potential.

A Judge must judge the Maneuvers. Not the wave, or length of the ride. Therefore, it is important to judge the maneuvers, not the distance traveled.

It is of the utmost importance for every member of the judging panel to adhere to the same point or reference “The Criteria” so that each competitor knows how to maximize his or her point scoring potential.

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Judging

The point scoring system to be used is zero to ten:

•0 – 2.0 BAD
•2.1 – 4.0 FAIR
•4.1 – 6.0 AVERAGE
•6.1 – 8.0 GOOD
•8.1 -10.0 EXCELLENT
USE WHOLE POINTS AND HALF POINTS AS MUCH AS YOU CAN DURING A HEAT. RESORT TO DECIMAL POINTS ONLY WHEN NECESSARY. DO SO TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN WAVES IN THE GOOD TO EXCELLENT

Judging Tips

•Maintain concentration during heat.
•Minimize conversation.
•Keep up wave counts.
•During the course of a heat, try to use the whole of your scale from 0 -10 regardless of surf conditions. Score the good waves up and the bad waves down.
•Avoid scoring higher as the heat continues. Bear in mind the previous scoring waves. The final wave exchange in a heat should be in context to the first waves scored in a heat.
•It is important that a judge concentrates on the scoring of individual waves and ignores the final outcome of a heat.
•No rides are identical, so try to differentiate between all scoring waves.
•Do not deliberate on your scores, put pen to paper.
•All heats, of every contest have their own personality. Each heat, regardless of the wave quality during that time period, has the full potential for 10.0 rides. This is very important to remember. Do not think about the waves or wave scores in previous heats for individual surfers. Rather, concentrate on the rides that are being performed on the ‘playing field’ the surfers are given for this particular time frame (heat).
•If a judge misses a wave or part of a wave, he should place an “M” in the square on the judge’s sheet and have the wave included into his sheet by the Head Judge.
•Judges may not change their scores or interference calls. In the event that a mistake has been made, the judge shall have the Head Judge make the change for him.
•Avoid being influenced by the spectators, commentators, or friendships and other outside influences. Have the confidence to stand by your own decisions.
•During a heat do not express your opinions to other judges.

Judging Method

It is important to score the first wave exchanges in the heat correctly. That will set the scale for the rest of the heat.

Try to see the wave in terms of scoring potential. While the competitor is riding the wave, maneuvering, you are allocating points that will be automatically added in your mind. Thus, at the end of the wave, or in the case of a fall, you immediately have a score for the ride. Do not forget to compare this score with previous scores and remember: NEVER DEDUCT POINTS (already earned during a ride) because a surfer fell.

IMPORTANT: “Each judge must give 100% effort. Maximum concentration is essential to ensure your contribution to the panel is significant and personal bias is eliminated.”

Judging in bad conditions

A lot of events take place in marginal conditions. In poor surf you should concentrate on surfers who are utilising the mini pockets on the wave with explosive maneuvers that are timed to occur at each of these spots on the wave.

Observe if each maneuver has been linked directly to another without “groveling”. Establish if the surfer is generating and creating his own speed out of turns because the wave will certainly not be cooperating. You also must notice which surfers are completing each wave flawlessly with major significant, perfectly executed maneuvers.

NOTE: In poor conditions there are normally not many waves. Keep in mind the fact that each heat can have 10.0 rides regardless of the wave conditions. This is crucial.

Judging HEAVY heats

Difficult heats should be accepted as a challenge. This means judging methodically, being extremely critical, watching details, and picturing the whole wave in your mind. In every contest there will always be some heats that are more difficult than others either because they are the first heats of the day, due to worsening conditions, or because it is a close heat due to the level of surfing that is taking place (good or bad). This is when the top judges come to the forefront.

The following factors should be considered when analysing each wave in such heats:

•Where was the first maneuver performed?
•How well was the first maneuver executed?
•How well were the maneuvers connected together?
•Did the surfer execute rail-to-rail maneuvers through the flat sections or did he just hop all the way to the next section?
•Compare outside maneuvers to inside maneuvers.
•Compare take off areas and how deep the surfer was at the initial point of take-off.
•Consider how the surfer utilised the wave.
•Consider the ability of the surfer to make sections and whether the maneuvers were functional in doing so.
•Did the surfer actually complete the maneuver and with control?
•What did the surfer complete before falling?
•Comparison between the first scoring wave and the last scoring wave is extremely important. Inexperienced judges tend to over score last waves as they forget or ignore what has taken place during a heat. This often affects a result. However, the good judge will never add up his scores during a heat. He scores colors, not people, and he records history at that moment in time, and moves on.
This is an area where an inexperienced judge can learn a lot from an experienced judge. The experienced judge has the ability to concentrate on the broad picture of what is happening in the heat as well as minor details such as possible paddling interference, etc.

Judging 4, 5 an d 6 person heats

100% concentration is the key. In such heats the ability to score the wave instinctively in your mind and allocate the score automatically at the end of each ride is of the utmost importance. When several competitors are riding at the same time, it is important to watch everyone. However, it is essential that you focus on the more critical areas. For example, the take off point, the first maneuver, and other outside maneuvers because this is where the surfer’s greatest scoring potential will occur. The beginning of a wave is far more important. Therefore, when at least two surfers are riding, concentration must be apportioned according to each surfer’s scoring potential on their waves. The surfer’s scoring potential at the end of a wave is obviously much lower.

It is important to get your scores down on your judge’s sheet as quickly as possible.

Continuously call wave counts when no competitors are riding.

Judging longboard heats

The essence of the matter is to recreate the typical riding approach of the period on relatively standardised equipment, NOT to provide an exhibition of modern riding on longer boards.

The criteria set out below presents an approach to recreate surfing of the original longboard era, which still allows creativity, and development of the art of longboarding by its current contemporary exponents.

LONGBOARDING WILL BE JUDGED ON THE NORMAL SURFING CRITERIA. FURTHER, LONGBOARDING WILL BE JUDGED ON A COMBINATION OF TRADITIONAL AND CONTEMPORARY MANEUVERS WITH CONTROL BEING THE MAJOR FACTOR.

Points will be awarded for classic surfing maneuvers. In longboarding, such maneuvers include:

•Nose riding, trimming, and stalling
•Walking on the board
•Standing and crouching “Island pullouts”
•Bottom turns – full rail or from the tail
•Cut backs – Drop knee or wide stance/sit down style
•Tube rides and cover-ups
•Top turns and fade take offs
•Late take offs
•Critical surfing
A surfer may embellish his performance with soul arches, quasi motos, head dips, grace and style, although these are not considered maneuvers as such.

This is a summary of maneuvers used in traditional surfing technique. Judges should make themselves aware of these maneuvers and classic surfing in general, by studying suitable reference material in forms of magazines of the era.

NOTE: Judges must consider the difference in accomplishment in various nose rides, such as stretch or cheater fives, hang fives, hang tens, and walking back to the tail to continue the ride, and clean conclusions to the ride such as island pullouts as opposed to wipe outs to conclude the ride.

Walking cleanly and precisely foot over foot to the nose and back to the tail is obviously superior to shuffling forward and back.

Classic nose rides are usually best when the walk to the nose is set up by a tail stall or directly in or from the arc of a turn.

It is not necessary for a surfer to “work the wave over” in this division. Simple trimming or climbing and dropping, if performed with control in the critical part of a wave, may receive a high score.

SUMMARY OF POINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN JUDGING LONGBOARD HEATS

•How well were the maneuvers connected together?
•Did the surfer walk foot over foot or did they shuffle?
•Are the surfer’s toes really hanging over or are they back from the nose?
•Has the surfer used the whole length of their surfboard?
•Compare outside maneuvers to inside maneuvers. Are they major or minor maneuvers?
•Compare take off area and how deep the surfer was at the initial point of take off
•Consider how the surfer utilized the wave
•Consider the ability of the surfer to make sections and whether the maneuvers were functional in doing so
•Did the surfer actually complete the maneuver and with control?
•What did the surfer complete before falling?
•Do not be fooled by tricks or arched backs. Judge the real maneuvers
•Most importantly, the rules state that longboarders will be judged on a 50-50-percentage combination of traditional and modern maneuvers with control being the major factor.
Important: IF A SURFER IS ONLY SURFING TO HALF THE CRITERIA, THAT SURFER SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN EXCELLENT SCORES (8.0 OR ABOVE). A SURFER MUST COMPLY WITH ALL AREAS OF CRITERIA TO RECEIVE EXCELLENT SCORES!

Interference

The interference rules determine which surfer has the Right of Way (ROW) as situations arise. It is up to the individual judge to determine whether the surfer with ROW has possibly been hindered in his/her scoring potential. The key word in these criteria is “possibly”. Each judge must decide for himself or herself.

What a judge considers:

1.Which surfer has the ROW? Inside surfer always has unconditional ROW.
2.Was there interference or not? Did the surfer with unconditional ROW have his scoring potential possibly hindered?
3.What rule reflects the infringement? Drop in, snaking, paddling, breaking down a section, excessive hassling.
Interference – Basic Rule

A. “The surfer deemed to have inside position for a wave has unconditional right of way for the entire duration of that ride. Interference will be called if, during that ride, a majority of the judges feel that a fellow competitor has possibly hindered the scoring potential of that surfer deemed to have right of way for that wave”.

B. “Anyone who stands up in front of a surfer with right of way has the chance to ride or kick out of the wave without being called for interference, unless he hinders the scoring potential of the surfer with right of way by any means including excessive hassling, leg rope pulling, or breaking down a section”.

Interference – Specific Rules

Wave possession or right of way will vary slightly under the following categories, as determined by the nature of the contest venue, but basically it is the responsibility of the judge to determine which surfer has the inside position based on whether the wave is a superior right or left. If at the initial point of take off neither the right or the left can be deemed superior, then the right of way will go to the first surfer who makes a definite turn in his chosen direction.

1.Point Break – When there is only one available direction on any given wave, the surfer on the inside shall have unconditional right of way for the entire duration of that wave.
2.One Peak Break – If there is a single, well defined peak, with both a left and a right available at the initial point of take off and neither the right or the left can be deemed superior, then the right of way will go to the first surfer who makes a definite turn in his chosen direction (by making an obvious right or left turn). A second surfer may go in the opposite direction on the same wave without incurring a penalty providing he does not interfere with the first surfer who has established right of way (i.e. he may not cross the path of the first surfer in order to gain the opposite side of the peak unless he does so without possible hindering, in the majority of the judges opinions, the inside surfer).
3.Beach Break – With multiple random peaks. In these conditions, wave possession may vary slightly according to the nature of an individual wave.
With multiple peaks there will be cases where one swell will have two separately defined peaks, far apart, that eventually meet at the same point. Although two surfers may each have inside position on those respective peaks, the surfer who is first to his feet shall be deemed to have wave possession and the second surfer must give way by cutting back or kicking out before hindering the right of way surfer.

If two surfers stand at the same time on separate peaks that eventually meet then:

?If they both give way by cutting back or kicking out so that neither is hindered, there will be no penalty.
?If they cross paths and collide or hinder one another, the judges will penalize the surfer who has been the aggressor at the point of contact.
?If neither surfer gives way by cutting back or kicking out and BOTH share responsibility for the confrontation, then a double interference will be called.

Paddling interference

Another surfer paddling for the same wave should not excessively hinder a surfer who has inside position. Paddling interference may be called if:

A. The offending surfer makes contact with or forces the inside surfer to change his line while paddling to catch the wave causing possible loss of scoring potential.

B. The offending surfer obviously causes a section to break down in front of the inside surfer which would not normally have happened causing loss of scoring potential.

C. When a surfer is put in a position while paddling out that he cannot get out of the way, and a collision happens due to this, it is up to a majority of the judges to call interference based on whether it is felt to be accidental or not.

Paddling interference has occurred when there is:

•PHYSICAL CONTACT
•FORCED CHANGE OF PADDLING LINE
•BREAKING DOWN A SECTION CAUSING LOSS OF SCORING POTENTIAL
•HINDERING A SURFER’S RIDE BY ANY MEANS

Snaking

The surfer who is farthest inside at the initial point of take off and has established wave possession is entitled to that wave for the duration of his ride even though another surfer may subsequently take off in the whitewater behind him. The judges will not penalize the surfer because he has the right of way even though he is in front.

If the second surfer has not hindered the original surfer with right of way then the judges may choose not to penalize him and will score both surfers’ rides.

If in the opinion of the judges, the second surfer has interfered with (snaked) the original surfer with the right of way by causing him to pull out or lose the wave then interference may be called on the second surfer even though he is behind the first surfer when the penalty is called.

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