The perfect heats that marked the history of pro surfing

Kelly Slater: he has three Perfect 20 heats under his belt | Photo: Cestari/WSL

They're rare and precious. Watch the perfect heats that marked the history of competitive surfing.

Pro surfing has five different eras:

  • ISF World Surfing Championships (1964-1972);
  • Smirnoff World Pro-Am Surfing Championships (1969-1977);
  • IPS World Circuit (1976-1982);
  • ASP World Tour (1983-2014);
  • World Surf League (2015-);

For a pro surfer, the perfect heat - a two-wave total score of 20 points - is the ultimate goal. But judges are traditionally conservative, and you've got to earn it.

In the past, until 2002, a surfer's performance was judged based on his best three waves, which meant that a perfect heat had to be a Perfect 30.

As a result, Shane Beschen was the first and the only surfer ever to score three Perfect 10-point rides in a single heat.

However, the criteria changed and, today, only the two best waves count for the result.

Kelly Slater is the only surfer to lock in three Perfect 20 heats. He did it for the first time in 2005 and then repeated the feat in 2013 and 2016.

The Perfect Heat List | Year, Surfer, and Event

2017: Jordy Smith | Corona Open J-Bay (Round 3)

Surfing in home waters, Jordy Smith finds two flawless waves and earns a Perfect 20 from the judging panel. The victim was Leonardo Fioravanti.


2016: Kelly Slater | Billabong Pro Tahiti (Round 5)

Kelly Slater seals the deal with two deep tube rides in one of his favorite waves. The victim was Keanu Asing.


2015: Owen Wright | Fiji Pro (Final)

In a wind-affected lineup, Owen Wright found his magical waves and got what he deserved. The victim was Julian Wilson.


2015: Owen Wright | Fiji Pro (Round 5)

Owen Wright stands tall in the barrels that gave him the first Perfect 20 of his career. The victim was Adam Melling.


2013: Joel Parkinson | Oakley Pro Bali (Round 5)

Two clean left-hand barrels give Joel Parkinson his second Perfect 20 heat. The victim was John John Florence.


2013: Kelly Slater | Volcom Fiji Pro (Quarterfinal)

Despite the big, wobbly, and powerful waves, Kelly Slater locks in the second Perfect 20 of his life. The victim was Sebastian Zietz.


2011: Jeremy Flores | Billabong Pro Tahiti (Round 5)

Jeremy Flores takes off deep and finds his dream Teahupoo cylinders. The victim was Michel Bourez.


2008: Joel Parkinson | Billabong Pipe Masters (Round 3)

A Perfect 20 heat at Pipeline helped Joel Parkinson win the 2008 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. The victim was Dusty Payne.

Joel Parkinson: winner of the 2008 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing with a Perfect 20 heat


2005: Kelly Slater | Billabong Pro Tahiti (Final)

Kelly Slater became the first surfer ever to score a Perfect 20 in the new judging system. The victim was Damien Hobgood.

Kelly Slater: having a beer during his Perfect 20 heat at Teahupoo | Photo: ASP


1996: Shane Beschen | Billabong Kirra Pro (Round 3)

Kirra was pumping, and Shane Beschen found three gems that put him in the history of surfing. The victim was Fábio Gouveia.