Competitive surfers should rely on their own skills, but it's also important to know what surf judges will be looking for when scoring waves. Have you heard of judging criteria?
Surf contests are a dice game. The best surfer doesn't always comes out with the trophy because there are too many variables at stake. Judges are a key variable, alongside with heat tactics.
What exactly are they looking for? First of all, it's important to know how many officials are making the decisions.
In 1-to-3 Star surf contests you'll have a six-judge panel with four judges on per heat. In 6-Star and Prime events, as well as World Junior competitions there are seven judges in the booth, with five judges on per heat, including finals and the ASP Head Judge.
The ASP Rule Books also tells us that judges are visually separated and it is the responsibility of the Head Judge to see that the judges do not discuss scores or interference calls.
If a judge misses a wave, or part of a wave, they should place an "M" in the square of the manual judges sheet, contact the Head Judge immediately.
The ASP judges video replay system can only be used in instant situations and once the scores are entered into the computer no changes can be made. The footage once a decision has been made cannot be used to change a result at a later stage.
High and low judges' scores are eliminated for each wave with the remaining three judges scores totaled then divided by 3 to give an average score out of 10, to two decimal places.
A judging scoring decision once made is irrevocable no matter what proof is available to show otherwise unless the Head judge feels that the majority of the judging panel did not see the situation or wave completely.
But then again, what do surf judges want from competitive surfers? Surfers must perform to the ASP Judging Key Elements to maximize their scoring potential. Judges analyze the following major elements when scoring waves:
1. Commitment and degree of difficulty
2. Innovative and progressive manoeuvres
3. Combination of major manoeuvres
4. Variety of manoeuvres
5. Speed, power and flow
The wave scoring will be done having in mind five quality levels: 0-1.9 (Poor), 2-3.9 (Fair), 4-5.9 (Average), 6-7.9 (Good), 8–10 (Excellent).