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Judging criteria

Judging criteria


Bodysurfing is the purest form of wave riding. It is done without the aid of surf craft, and with or without flippers/swim fins. Webbed gloves, hand-boards and other handheld craft are prohibited in freestyle competition but permitted in specialized events.

The bodysurfer should, as far as possible, propel him/herself along the ‘unbroken’ section of the wave.  

For the purpose of judging, any manoeuvres will be taken into account when scoring a bodysurfer’s action while riding a wave.


The criteria of judgement are as follows:

The bodysurfer must:

  • Choose the biggest and/or best waves;

  • Ride for the longest functional distance in the most critical section of the wave;

  • Ride with the maximum speed, glide and flow;

  • Perform manoeuvres with control and power.


The bodysurfer who performs this to the highest degree of difficulty with the most style, flow and grace will receive the highest score for a ride.

Further to the above, the following are key elements for judges to consider :

  • Length of the ride in the critical section of wave

  • Variety

  • Speed and power

  • Commitment

  • Control


NOTE : It is important to note that the emphasis of certain elements is contingent upon the location and the conditions on the day, as well as changes in conditions during the day.


The following scale will be used to describe a ride that is scored:

0–1.9 = Poor

2.0–3.9 = Fair

4.0–5.9 = Average

6.0–7.9 = Good

8.0–10.0 = Excellent



1. The judgment criteria can be divided into 4 main areas:

a – Wave Selection

Generally, bigger waves will achieve a higher score, but judges must consider whether the biggest waves are not necessarily the best (e.g. waves that close out).

b – Longest ride of a functional distance in the ‘critical’ (unbroken) section of the wave.

The longest functional distance is only of interest if the competitor remains in the clear part of the wave in the most critical section.

The distance travelled/covered in the foam is not considered – unless it is linking with a section of which becomes critical (unbroken) and the bodysurfer can continue riding the wave and thus achieving more point scoring opportunities.

c – Maximum speed, glide and fluidity

Speed and glide should be maximum and the momentum of the bodysurfer should not be slowed.
The use of the arms should be functional.

d – Powerful and controlled manoeuvres

Manoeuvres include, for example:

  • Dolphin take-off: the bodysurfer begins the wave underwater and streamlines behind the critical section.

  • Tube-ride

  • Spinner and Belly 360°

The manoeuvres should be controlled and functional.

A non-controlled manoeuvre, even when performed in its entirety, may not be scored.

2. The bodysurfer should consider the following criteria:

2.1 – All interpretations of riding the wave – whether “conventional” (basic stationary riding style with maximum speed, glide and flow) or “modern” (radical manoeuvres) –  will be considered fairly, with the latter gaining more points as long as adhering to the criteria.

To meet the judging criteria, the rider (bodysurfer) must attempt to combine the two main objectives (conventional and modern) while riding each wave.

The bodysurfer should attempt at all times:

  • The optimum tempo between the slide over the length of the wave and manoeuvres.

  • Variety and originality of manoeuvres

The degree of difficulty and quality of execution will be appreciated with respect to criteria including:

  • Speed, gliding style and fluidity: Judges should consider the relevance of trajectory and riding position on each wave

  • Powerful and controlled manoeuvres: the number of manoeuvres performed is not a criterion for getting a higher score. The judges will appreciate the degree of difficulty of all manoeuvres, the quality of their implementation, whether they are functional or not at that point on the wave, and execution speed

To differentiate between (1) a bodysurfer that meets the judging criteria by combining the two main objectives (conventional and modern), and (2) a bodysurfer that does not do this: (1) will more likely be scored as good/excellent, whereas (2) will more likely be scored as fair/average.

2.2 – Positioning within the critical section (curl)

The distance and manoeuvres will be considered functional if and only if the bodysurfer is positioned in the part of the wave closest to the curl.

Any manoeuvres in the foam will not be taken into account by the judges.

2.3 – Control

The fluidity of sequences and the control displayed in the execution of manoeuvres will be considered by the judges, taking into account the capacity of the bodysurfer to always remain in the critical section (curl), and thus ensuring that the entire ride – from take-off to pull out (end) – is functional for scoring, as per these criteria.



Manoeuvres are classified in two categories: simple and complex:

Simple manoeuvres: In order of increasing difficulty:

  • ​ Conventional bodysurfing or wave gliding – with the inside arm extended and outside arm either tucked away or raised as a balance guide.

  • Backsliding or back riding– riding the wave completely on the rider’s back.

  • Spinner – a 360° pirouette with the grain of the wave – (if going right with the right hand leading, the Spinner is performed ‘anticlockwise’) –ensuring the arms are controlled and the fluidity of the glide is not disrupted.

  • Reverse spin – the reverse of the above – where the bodysurfer pirouettes against the grain e.g – if going right the Spinner is performed clockwise’).

  • Tube Riding – using skills to maintain position within the wave’s tubing section.

 Complex manoeuvres: In order of increasing difficulty:

  • Change of direction (from one section going right to another section going left, or vice versa) – generally whilst linking a section from ‘outside’ – across a channel to the ‘inside ’shore break’ section.

  • Somersault or forward roll – as suggested, where the bodysurfer can maintain position and land flat and continue.

  • Dolphin – using skills to either remain underwater during the take-off and/or any time during the ride of the wave.

  • El Rollo – where the bodysurfer can maintain position and land flat and continue after a spin at the crest of the curling lip section.

  • The loop or 270º – where the bodysurfer first rotates 90º towards the lip of the wave, and then continues rotating 180º in the same direction, ending up riding towards the beach

  • Belly or Reverse belly spin or 360° – where the bodysurfer can control their prone raised position enough to mimic this bodyboard manoeuvre to raise upper and lower body and fins to spin ‘flat’ on the wave face and continue riding.

Further description of manoeuvres:

Spin: This manoeuvre consists of a rotation of the bodysurfer along a horizontal axis, the rotation is carrying down the wave. Best-rated if it is broken.

The classic twists: the hand inner arm upward wave.

The tendrils reversed: the inner arm to the bottom of the wave.


Back / half twist: This manoeuvre is a half twist followed by a back riding.

Reverse Spin: This manoeuvre consists of a rotation of bodysurfer along a horizontal axis in the opposite direction of the spin, the rotation being driven up the wave.

El Rollo: This manoeuvre consists of an inverted spin, high amplitude performed in a tube along the lip of the wave, the bodysurfer realizing a spin in space describing spiral.

Re-entry / Loop twisted: This manoeuvre consists of a rotation of 90 ° bodysurfer on a flat vertical axis toward the lip of the wave, the body of bodysurfer back toward the lip of the wave, followed by a half spin up the wave at the lip, allowing a resumption of the wave.

Belly Reverse Spin or 360°: This manoeuvre consists of a rotation of 360 ° bodysurfer on a flat horizontal vertical axis of the body bodysurfer back toward the lip of the wave, using the energy of the lip to complete the rotation, followed by a recovery of the wave.-with the lip: Best rated-by pierced lip: less marked than the first.

Re-entry / Loop or 270°: This manoeuvre consists of a rotation of 90 ° bodysurfer on a flat vertical axis toward the lip of the wave, followed by a rotation of 180 ° bodysurfer a vertical axis for a resumption of the wave in the foam.

Changing direction : This manoeuvre is a change in direction of bodysurfer on a vertical plane through the wave. This figure includes manoeuvres such as the bottom turn, cut back…

Tube: This manoeuvre is to bodysurfer in the tube, normally or back riding. This is the highest-rated manoeuvre if the output is clean.

Dolphin: This manoeuvre is to bodysurfer on the face of the wave, below the surface of water, bodysurfer using the energy of the wave.

With ripples: succession of small dolphins.

With beat: dolphin over a greater length.

Somersault or forward roll or Front flip: This manoeuvre consists of a rotation of 360 ° bodysurfer on a flat horizontal axis.


Rule of interpretation:

​The judges will take into consideration the difficulties inherent in the practice of bodysurfing in the context of assessing the rules of priorities and interference, and penalize only deliberate violations of the rule.

1. basic principle

The basic rule allows only one bodysurfer per wave, unless two bodysurfers can travel in opposite directions from the take-off point of the same wave.

An interference penalty will be given to a bodysurfer if on a given wave, the majority of judges believe that he/she impeded another competitor who had previously acquired the right of priority, by devaluing in any manner whatsoever (a drop-in, the collapse of a section, etc …) the scoring potential of the bodysurfer with priority.

A competitor who takes off on a wave on which another competitor already has priority will escape interference if he/she exits the wave before the majority of judges feel that his/her presence on the wave has devalued the scoring potential of the bodysurfer with priority.

He/She will also escape interference if this occurs after performing a dolphin take-off, during which it was impossible for him/her to see that the other competitor had previously acquired the right of priority.

2. priority according to different types of waves

If the wave runs in only one direction:

The competitor that is positioned closest to the initial point where the wave breaks, at the time of take-off, will have priority for the entire duration of the wave.

If the wave breaks at two initial points, one running right and one running left, and two competitors take-off in different directions, each towards the other:

Priority will be given to the competitor who takes off first.

The competitor that does not have priority can either exit the wave before the majority of judges feel that his/her presence on the wave has devalued the scoring potential of the bodysurfer with priority, or wait until the competitor with priority passes and then take off on the wave, as long as this also does not devalue the scoring potential of the bodysurfer with priority.

If a wave breaks at two initial points, one running right and one running left, and two competitor’s take-off SIMULTANEOUSLY in different directions, each towards the other:

No priority is given, and if the two competitors meet and collide, or simply cross, they will both be punished by the application of a double interference.

If the waves are breaking irregularly, acquiring the right of priority may vary depending on the specific characteristics of each wave surfed.

When there are two separate specific peaks, distant from each other but which converge:

Although each competitor may be positioned closest to the breaking point of their respective peak, the right of priority goes to the competitor who takes off first. The second competitor must give way by exiting the wave or changing direction.

If both competitors take off simultaneously, when they approach the meeting point they must both avoid interference (by making a change of direction or re-entry).

If the competitors meet or collide, the judges should determine who is to blame and penalize that competitor with interference.

If both contestants cross voluntarily, they will both be penalized for interference.

3. Snaking (or ‘jumping the queue’)

The competitor who is closest to the point where the wave breaks at the time of take-off, and therefore has priority, will not forfeit that priority, nor be punished for interference, if a second competitor then catches the wave in a position behind the first surfer (this usually occurs when the second surfer is returning to the peak after having caught a previous wave).

If the author of the snaking (the second surfer in the previous paragraph) does not impede the progress of the competitor with priority, he/she may benefit from the leniency of the judges and even see his performance taken into account and given a score.

But if the judges determine that the author of the snaking hindered the competitor with priority, or compelled him/her to change his/her trajectory or exit the wave, he/she will be sanctioned with interference.

4. Swimming interference

A competitor with priority must not be hindered by another competitor swimming on the same wave. A swimming interference will be given if:

  • A competitor comes into physical contact with the competitor with priority, deliberately places him/herself in front of the competitor with priority, or forces the competitor with priority to change course, lose, or exit a wave that he/she is already riding on.

  • A competitor comes into physical contact with the competitor with priority, deliberately places him/herself in front of the competitor with priority, or forces the competitor with priority to change course, lose, or exit a wave that he/she is trying to catch.

  • A competitor is responsible for the collapse of a section, in front of the bodysurfer with priority, which would not have naturally occurred if he/she had refrained from swimming.

Physical contact will automatically result in an interference penalty, but in other cases the judges may decide not to give an interference penalty if they feel the swimmer’s action was fortuitous rather than deliberate.

Competition rules

Competition rules

I. Equipment specifications


a. Bodysurfing

The bodysurfer can utilize fins. No gloves, boards, handsurf/handboard or devices of any types are allowed.


b. Handboarding

Design: Length is a maximum of 50.8 cm (20 inches) from the tip of the nose, to the end of the tail in a straight horizontal line along its deck. The width dimensions to be a maximum aggregate of 26.75 cm (10.5 inches).



II. Timing & Wavecounts


a. Recommended heat times and wave counts: Heats and Finals will be best 2 waves from a minimum of up to 10 waves or a maximum of up to 15 waves ridden by each bodysurfer and be nominated by the Contest Director after consultation with the Head Judge. Heats and Finals will be a minimum of 15 minutes and a maximum of up to 30 minutes and be nominated by the Contest Director after consultation with the Head Judge.

b. Variations to heat times may be made in cases where there may be insufficient time to finish an Event. IBSA Technical Director, IBSA Contest Director and IBSA Head Judge will decide this at the relevant time.

c. The Contest Director will consult with the Head Judge for a recommendation on heat times and wave counts. Any alteration during an event must be made known to Team Managers before bodysurfers enter the water.

d. Official timing of all heats will be done by the Commentator, or in the absence of a Commentator, by the Head Judge.

e. A 5 minute visual and PA warning will be given when 5 minutes remain in a heat.

f. Siren or horn blasts must be used to start and finish heats. One blast to start and two blasts to finish. The Head Judge will indicate when a heat is to commence.

g. A large disc system at least 1 meter square must also be used. Green to start and yellow for the last 5 minutes.

h. The commentator must give a five second countdown at the beginning and end of each heat, and when he reaches zero the heat must start or end immediately.

i. The first of the two sirens must blow immediately when the commentator reaches zero. The official end of the heat is when the siren is first audible to the Head Judge, who will indicate to the judges that no more rides are to be scored for that heat. The siren takes precedence over the disc.

j. The colored disc must be in the neutral position with no color showing when the commentator reaches zero in the countdown. The disc must remain in the neutral position between heats.

k. In the event of siren failure the colored disc will be the indicator for heat timing.

l. During and at the end of any heat the bodysurfer must be clearly in possession of the wave on the wave face, making a movement to stand, his hands having left the rails (rail grabs excluded) for the wave to be scored.

m. If the Contest Director wishes to use the minimum time delay between heats (of 10 seconds) he must provide a marshalling area in the water outside of the lineup.


n. In the case of a water start the maximum time between heats shall be 5 minutes, unless unforeseen circumstances arise.

o. Under no circumstances will there be any time extensions once a heat has entered the water. If a heat is interrupted for any reason it will be stopped by the Head Judge and will be resumed at the time it was stopped, and will run for its original period.

p. The only exception will be if the Head Judge, in consultation with other qualified officials, feels that the entire heat should be rerun because no bodysurfer had a clear advantage at the time of cancellation, or if altered conditions make it impossible for judges to keep to the same scale.

q. Also, if the halfway mark of any heat is reached and no one has caught a wave then the heat may be cancelled and re-run. The Head Judge must decide on this at the time.

r. If the Beach Marshall tells bodysurfers in a heat the wrong heat time then the following shall occur:

s. If actual heat time is shorter then a restart at a later time for the remaining time period as told by the Beach Marshall will occur with all bodysurfers starting from the line-up.

t. If actual heat time is longer than told by the Beach Marshall the heat will run through to the end of the actual set time by the judging panel.

u. It is a competitor’s responsibility to monitor the number of waves he has ridden. An attempt will be made to inform a competitor who has caught the maximum number of waves. bodysurfers must monitor their wave count. Protests will not be accepted. If more than the maximum number of waves is ridden, within the time limit, the bodysurfer shall be penalized for each extra wave caught. In addition the bodysurfer who remains in the water after catching the wave maximum will be penalized with a fine or interference if:

v. He/she rides an extra wave that clearly deprives another competitor of an available ride

w. He/she interferes with any other competitor by paddling, positioning or blocking causing loss of scoring potential.

x. This penalty might be a fine or disqualification (or both) for unsportsmanlike conduct. In this case, the bodysurfers’ team points will be zero.


III. Contestable Surf Conditions

There must be a minimum of 18 inches (0,5 m) of wave height before surf can be deemed contestable. A special allowance may be made on the final scheduled day of an event, if the surf is rideable. This will be determined by the Contest Director and Head Judge.


IV. Start of Heat

a. All heats are started from either a marshalling area in the line-up, or from the beach, under the Contest Director’s direction. The marshalling area in the line-up must be clear of the take-off area, and the Contest Director must demarcate the marshalling area by means of a buoy or other suitable method.

b. Where water starts are being used, competitors will be permitted to paddle out within a time limit set by the contest Director in consultation with the Head Judge, and will congregate in the marshalling area, well clear of competitors in the heat in progress. bodysurfers may only swim towards the line-up only when the previous heat has ended. Any bodysurfer entering the take-off area during the preceding heat may be penalized. In extreme conditions the Contest Director may allow extra paddle time. If a bodysurfer enters the water and paddles out before the designated paddle out time, the bodysurfer will be subject to a listed fine. In addition, if the bodysurfer reaches the takeoff position before the other competitors and is considered to have advantage, this bodysurfer is banned from taking a wave until after the first wave of the heat has been caught by any other competitor. If the bodysurfer paddles out before the designated time and proceeds to ride the first heat wave(s), before any other bodysurfer in the heat, then this wave(s) will be scored as zero(s).

V. Unauthorised bodysurfer in Contest Area

a. While the contest is in progress any unauthorized bodysurfer in the competition area may be penalized. This ruling also applies to clearing the water before the start of the day’s events.

b. If a bodysurfer in the heat rides a wave out of the competition area, the judges may score that ride. If the judges do not score the wave, or score only score part of it, the bodysurfer does not have the right of protest.

c. Any bodysurfer riding and riding during the preceding heat may be penalized. Waves caught during the dead time between heats will not be scored. No penalty or fine is applicable during “dead time”

d. Any bodysurfer riding a wave after his heat and riding during the next heat may be fined, disqualified (or both) depending on the severity of the interference.


VI. Buffer Zone[s]

a. Buffer Zone: An area of "non-competition" space to separate two podiums. Judges decisions regarding admissible waves in and around the buffer zone are final and not subject to appeal.

b. Recommended minimum 100 metres wide and limited by “lines of sight” between a beach IBSA flag and a contest buoy set adjacent in the water.

c. Rules of the Buffer Zone [BZ]

I. A ride deemed to be caught in the buffer zone may not be scored

II. A bodysurfer may only catch a wave in the direction of his/her podium from the vicinity of the BZ line or in the edge of the BZ.

III. No row applies in the BZ

IV. Any competitor crossing the BZ into the other podium will not be scored as it is deemed to be outside the contest area and likewise, if a wave is caught in the wrong podium it will not be scored. Any surfing activity in the wrong podium risks an interference penalty and / or a fine for surfing in the contest area. The HJ on the infringed podium will notify the bodysurfer by Announcement and by communication to the affected HJ on the other podium.

V. A bodysurfer may ride into the BZ but risks that portion of the ride not being scored.

VII. Caddies for Competitors

a. In extreme conditions water caddies may be allowed to assist bodysurfers at the discretion of the Contest Director in consultation with the Head Judge.

b. Water caddies must check in with their bodysurfer to the Beach Marshall prior to the start of the heat.

c. Water caddies may only enter the water in a defined marshalling area determined by the Contest Director and the Head Judge.

d. bodysurfers may only use equipment carried by their own caddy once the heat has started.


e. If the caddy rides a wave the bodysurfer he/she is caddying for may be penalized.

f. If the caddy interferes with any of the other bodysurfers in any way, interference will be imposed on the bodysurfer for whom he/she is caddying.

g. No communication is allowed between a competitor and his/her caddy other than a hand signal to change equipment. If a communication other than a hand signal occurs the bodysurfer will be subject to a fine by the CD and/or the caddy required to move to another location in the lineup or leave the water.

h. bodysurfers must make their own way back to the line-up under their own power and without assistance in any way.

i. Item “h” covers running up the point or beach as an alternative to swim back after a wave. bodysurfers must carry their own fins.

j. bodysurfers may use another fins placed on the beach at any paddle out location.

k. Third persons, such as coaches and team members, may:

I. Recover a loose fins from the edge without entering the water and place it at a point on the beach at water’s edge for the bodysurfer to collect it at the place where he/she will leave the water.

II. Hold equipment, such as a fins or water, on the beach for the competitor to changeover/use during the heat.

III. Not take any action that provides an advantage or potential advantage over another bodysurfer in the heat.

l. Penalties:

I. If any person gives the fins to a bodysurfer, but it is clear the bodysurfer had received NO advantage due to this action, a $100 fine will be applied.

II. If any person gives the fins to a bodysurfer, and the HJ decides the bodysurfer had some advantage over another bodysurfer in the heat, a $100 fine will be issued and a nonpriority interference will be called.


VIII. Protests

a. At times errors of a special nature may occur with respect to the running of the contest. This includes but is not limited to: heat timing, interference directly attributable to an officiating error, tabulating errors, missed wave, etc. Any competitor, manager or team coach has the right to protest the result of a heat due to any of the above. Protests must be in writing and must be submitted to the Contest Director by the Team Manager or Team Coach within 15 minutes of the heat results being posted.

b. The merits of each protest will be considered by the Contest Director after consultation with the Head Judge. Qualified observers (off-duty judges, spotter, and senior officials) may be asked for their advice. The Contest Director will rule on the incident and inform the bodysurfer’s manager of the decision in writing.


No protest can be lodged against a judging (scoring) decision. Wave scores of the judges are irrevocable. No Head Judge or panel judge is to be approached over a call/results or a penalty may be imposed on the individual concerned by the Contest Director.


Post event, official written documentation on behalf of Team Management may be submitted to the IBSA Technical Committee, explaining disagreement with particular scoring decisions. This will be reviewed for use in future judging training and a reply made to the Team Management within 21 days.


IX. Water Photographers

a. Water photographers will only be allowed into the contest area after checking in with the Contest Director and signing a waiver. Only two photographers will be allowed in the line-up at a time and the minimum lens allowed is 135 mm. They may not use hard fins for floatation and must wear helmets if available. The Contest Director and Head Judge may remove the photographers from the water if they deem fit.

b. Only sanctioned water photographers will be allowed in the water at IBSA events. This access is to be approved and controlled by the Head Judge and the Contest Director.


X. Announcements

a. The Contest Director is the only person who can give an exact schedule of events. There will be no protest against incorrect information received from any other employee at the contest. If however the Contest Director gives incorrect information and a bodysurfer subsequently misses a heat then a re-surf of that heat may take place.

b. The Contest Director must have an official notice board where the daily schedule and contest conditions are posted for all the competitors to see. This schedule must be posted by midday, at the latest, of each day and once posted it cannot be extended.


XI. Competition Facilities

a. All events must have a well-secured sizeable competitor’s area that is clearly designated as a “Non-smoking” area.

b. The area will be available for competitors and team officials only.

c. It is recommended that the event supply a training area for competing bodysurfers one hour before, during and after the day of competition for competitors only.

d. Where applicable, parking passes should be made available to Team Management.

e. Written information on accommodation and transport services relevant to the tournament should be provided.

f. Adequate supplies of drinking water must be available at the contest site.

g. Where possible, a masseur/chiropractor should be made available each day of the event.

h. A secured bodysurfer’s storage and preparation area should be provided. Only competitors are permitted in this area. No guests, media, etc.



XII. Event Formats

a. Heats will be made up of a maximum of 4 bodysurfers except in the first round and repechage rounds of any contest where heats of 5 may be surfed if circumstances so dictate. A minimum of 50% of the bodysurfers in a round will advance to the following round.

b. The composition of the heats will be decided by the Contest Director after entries have closed. Composition of heats will be based on the seedings of entries, but if no seedings are available then known ratings or a random draw may be used. (If a random draw is used, it is recommended that a repechage round is held after the first round).


c. Double Elimination In a double elimination contest, if the original schedule is not possible to complete, the rules are as follows:

I. If an interruption is not definite but makes it impossible to follow the original schedule, even if the heat times are reduced to the minimum as stipulated in the Rules, the repechage will run until all competitors in this situation are in the same round. After that the winners will be brought back to the principal bracket, which will continue without repechage

II. If it is impossible to continue with the competition, the points still to be decided will be divided among the competitors who are still in the competition. The bodysurfers who are in the repechage will be allocated half points.

III. Postponement of the competition beyond its original schedule will only be possible with the approval of the organizers, sponsors, and a 75% majority of the teams, which still have at least one athlete competing.

XIII. Tabulation, Interferences and Ties

a. The judges score sheets and the tabulator sheet may be scrutinized by competitors in the presence of their manager or coach after the conclusion of their heat and once the heat result has been published by the Contest Director. Interference Penalty.

b. Riding Interference if a majority of judges call a riding interference, that wave will count in the bodysurfers’ score as a zero, and then the lowest scoring wave will count in the final tally as a 50% score for the offending bodysurfer, (bodysurfer will achieve half the wave score). Three of the five judges must call interference to be considered a majority. Interference will be shown on each judge’s scoreboard, as a triangle placed around the score with an arrow drawn to the rider’s score who was interfered on. In the case of a second interference from the same bodysurfer, his better wave will be 50% and the bodysurfer must leave the water immediately.

c. Paddling Interference if a majority of judges call a paddling interference, then that bodysurfer will lose 50% of the score for the lowest of his/her scoring waves (i.e. bodysurfer will achieve half the wave score). If a bodysurfer has less than the required minimum scoring rides and receives an interference then they will be scored on 50% of the wave, i.e. if they have caught only one wave and the best two count then only 50% of the wave will be scored. Three of the five judges must call interference to be considered a majority. Interference will be shown on each judge’s scoreboard as a triangle placed above their score if they ride a wave but cause interference while paddling for that wave ridden, or between scores if caused by paddling but not riding, with an arrow drawn to the rider’s score who was interfered on.

d. Additional wave interference Any bodysurfer who has caught their wave maximum, and remains in the contest area, and in any way prevents a competitor still competing from catching a wave, or hinders the scoring potential of a competitor riding a wave may be fined or disqualified or both depending on the severity of the interference, (team points will be lost).

e. A Head Judge or Contest Director may be included, and in this case, an interference would be determined on three of six judging sheets.

f. Any interfering bodysurfer must be penalized and an interference decision once made is irrevocable, with the judges not entering into any discussion over the interference call. All discussions must be directly with the Head Judge. The bodysurfer, who is interfered with, will be allowed an additional wave, beyond their original wave maximum, set within the prescribed time limit. Exception to this is a double interference where neither bodysurfer gets an extra wave. An extra wave or heat delay as decided by the Head Judge at the time will also apply to interference from water photographers, water security personnel or other outside interferences.


g. Where any bodysurfer incurs two or more interference penalties they must immediately leave the competition area. Failure to do so may result in a fine and/or disqualification. In the case of a disqualification, team points will be affected.

h. An interference call will be announced only once approval has been received from the Head Judge or Contest Director.

i. The Contest Director will also notify Team Officials of the interference over the PA at the end of the heat.


XIV. Beach Announcer Protocol

a. During the heat, the announcer should not announce the score needed by a particular bodysurfer once that competitor has begun paddling to takeoff on a wave. Situations [wave scores to progress and heat ranking, etc] can only be announced when bodysurfers concerned are NOT riding waves. This approach must be a priority of the Beach Announcer.

b. All announcements of interference must be conveyed to the announcer by the Head Judge or Contest Director before they can be announced publicly.

c. In all heats and finals computer scores must be given throughout the whole heat.

d. If the commentator gives a score and it is wrong due to judges putting in the incorrect scores, the commentator giving the wrong score, or for any other reason, then the bodysurfers will have no form of protest.

e. The announcer may not make any announcement or call on any wave conditions (i.e. approaching outside sets, etc) that may benefit one contestant over another.

f. If any bodysurfer requires information from the water during a heat they must use hand signals as described below:

I. Time remaining is one hand touching another above the head.

II. Wave count is one arm outwards horizontal to the water.

III. Scores, last scores, total, needed to win, etc is both arms out horizontal to the water.

IV. If contestants hear and understand the above they must acknowledge by waving one arm.

V. All results/scores provided by Announcers/Officials at the end of each heat are “provisional/unofficial” until all transcription of the scores from judges’ hard copy to computer input have been checked to identify possible typing input errors. If computer input errors are detected and corrected and this process causes a change in the “unofficial” result of the heat, there is no form of protest by affected competitors. Competitors are advised to stay on site to witness the posting of the “official” result of the heat.

XV. Contest Vests & Trunks

a. Competitors must wear the competition singlet/vest provided by the sponsors from time of issue until returned to the beach marshal at the completion of the heat, and if appropriate, during the awards presentation or a penalty may be imposed.

b. Competitors are responsible for ensuring they wear the correct colored contest singlet for all heats. A bodysurfer in an incorrect color singlet/contest vest shall have no right to protest if the judges were unable to distinguish his/her rides from the other bodysurfers in the heat.

c. Under no circumstances may an event sponsor force contestants to wear any particular brand of trunks or wetsuits as a condition of their entry into any IBSA sanctioned event.



XVI. Leash

The rules regarding leash for fins or handboard are still under discussion.



XVII. Mechanical / Electronic Communication Devices

The IBSA prohibits any mechanical/electronic communication device, (including megaphones) that links a competitor in the action of competing with another party during IBSA competitive events. Various other team officials [including the coach] may use this communication in the contest area.

XVIII. Motorized Watercraft

Unless the event is of such nature that motorized craft may be used to assist bodysurfers to reach the backline and this has been approved by the Executive Committee and Contest Director prior to the start of an event, any use of outside craft (jet ski, rubber-duck, water patrol board, photographer’s boards, etc) will be deemed an interference if a bodysurfer, after using one of them, re-enters the competition zone and rides a wave or interferes with any other competitor in any way. The only exception to this will be if the water patrol feels that the bodysurfer is in a life-threatening situation, and in this case the bodysurfer may be removed from the danger zone and placed in a safe area, no closer to the line-up, from which the bodysurfer may continue the heat.


XIX. Surfing Contest Judging

a. Introduction: Judging panel protocols and Rosters

I. Where practicable not more than one judge from any given country is to be on any judging panel at the same time. This does not include the Head Judge of each podium or the IBSA appointed judges. The Head Judge will manage this situation.

II. Where two podiums operate during the event, the judging panel must be rotated between podiums and also its makeup must periodically be varied, but still balanced with experience. No panels or locations are to be constant during IBSA events. This is the responsibility of the Head Judge and Contest Director.

III. The podium/event Head Judge[s] responsibility is to manage the judging panel selected by the IBSA and maximize its performance. To this end recommendations can be made over performance matters involving judges, but the final decision on the makeup of the panel at any particular time stands with the IBSA Technical Committee, Contest Director and the event Technical Director. The Head Judge will individually mentor judges in areas of identified weaknesses, will work with the panel to set heat standard waves at the beginning of heats, will describe waves if required in terms of general groupings [poor, fair, good, excellent], will complete missed waves, will manage the general conduct of the judging process on their podium. All actions in this area by the Head Judge will be monitored by the IBSA Contest Director.

IV. Contest Director and Head Judges are responsible for selecting the appropriate judging panel for finals events.

V. Video and Replay:
A video service with replay will be provided for IBSA major events. This service will include a cameraman with experience and software able to nominate, find and replay any wave at any time. An LCD or Plasma Screen will be available in a position that all the judges and HJ can see for reference as required. This set up will operated in both podiums.


VI. Daily Judges Meetings post contest:

Every day, after the last heat, the HJ will conduct a small meeting replaying and commenting on the waves and situations that occurred during the day. Open discussion of the daily judging performance at this time will highlight comparisons, standards, criteria and process to be followed for the next day’s heats. Attendance at such meetings is mandatory for all Head Judges, Judges, Technical Director and Contest Director.

b. Management of the Panel by the Head Judge

The Head Judge will set up a meeting of the Judges on the day before the event begins. This should be done in consultation with the Contest Director and Host Country. Such meeting will be for the purpose of instruction, standardization of procedures and methods as well as the setting up a series of Judging Trials during which the Judges’ ability will be tested and evaluated. The Head Judge is empowered to convene a meeting of all Judges at any time of the contest. The purpose of these meetings will be to update Judges on any changes, and to point out any recurring errors so as to improve performance. It is normal to hold a meeting at the day’s start for the judging panel on each respective podium, and then conclude the day with a review meeting immediately after the final heat. These meetings are chaired by the podium head judge and are aimed specifically at performance and critical onsite coping processes for the judges. Judges whose ability is found to be sub-standard in the opinion of the Head Judge and Contest Director will be removed from the Judging panel and will not be permitted to judge during the event.

The Head Judge will organize the remaining Judges into Judging Panels so that Judges will only judge a maximum of three consecutive heats.

The Head Judge will frequently scrutinize the Judges’ sheets and will identify those Judges who do not maintain an acceptable judging standard including of the evaluation of interference’s. He will report these Judges to the Contest Director and a decision will be taken whether to drop the Judge or not.

While heats are in progress the Head Judge will scrutinize Judges’ score sheets to ensure the maintenance of uniform standards between one heat and the next and the use by the Judges of the full range of scoring options. In addition, although the Head Judge will ensure that the interference rule is fairly and consistently applied, the Head Judge will not interfere with any judges’ independent decision in this regard. If the need should arise to inform a Judge that his standards are not compatible with the other of Judges, such action would only be taken by the Head Judge between the end of one heat and the commencement of the next heat or at the end of the day.

The Head Judge may not give guidelines on what points or scores judges should allocate to waves ridden by any bodysurfer and may not influence any judge on the panel to alter a score or change a decision. There will be instances during a heat where a judge or judges will not see all or any of a bodysurfers ride. In this case an M must be inserted and the Head judge will nominate an average score for that ride based on previous scoring rides and correct scores from other judges. The Head Judge’s role is not to influence the scoring by judges, but rather to coach, mentor, supervise, control and coordinate. The Head Judge is there to ensure the smooth running of each heat.

The Head Judge will be responsible for maintaining a wave count record for each heat and ensuring that colors are adequately identified for the judges.

The wave count may be done by the spotter. - It is the Head Judges’ responsibility to attempt to notify any bodysurfer who has been interfered with, that he/she has an extra wave. Notification will be made on the public address (PA) system. The onus is on the bodysurfer to monitor his/her own wave count.

Judges will all receive certificates of participation but will not be ranked (i.e. first to fourth) nor will they receive Trophies.


c. Judging Criteria

(cf. IBSA Judging Criteria)

d. Interference Situations and Rulings

I. Basic Interference Rule
The bodysurfer deemed to have the inside position for a wave has unconditional right of way for the entire duration of that ride. Interference will be called if during a ride a majority of judges feel that a fellow competitor has hindered the scoring potential of that bodysurfer deemed to have right of way on the wave.


Anyone who stands up in front of a bodysurfer with right of way has the chance to ride or kick out of the wave without being called interference, unless they hinder the scoring potential of the bodysurfer with right of way by any means. This includes excessive hassling, leash pulling or breaking down a wave section.

When an interference has been called, the hindered bodysurfer has the right to take the option to keep the score of the hindered ride or be eligible for an additional wave within the heat time limit. The announcer will say the score and the bodysurfer will signal if he wants to keep the ride [by raising both arms vertically] or not [by raising and crossing arms].


The Right of Way [ROW] Criteria The choice of right of way criteria for each of the above possible situations is the responsibility of the Head Judge or the available Senior Judge in that order.

II. Row Priority

Wave possession or right of way will vary slightly under the following categories as determined by the nature of the contest venue. It is the responsibility of the judge to determine which bodysurfer has the inside position based on whether the wave is a superior right or left.

(Exception): If at the initial point of take-off neither the right nor left can be deemed superior, then the right of way will go to the first bodysurfer who makes a definite turn in their chosen direction (by making an obvious right or left turn).


III. Point Break

Point Break: When there is only one available direction on any given wave, the bodysurfer on the inside shall have unconditional right of way for the entire duration of that wave. − One Peak Break (Reef or Beach)

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 nor left can be deemed superior then the right of way will go to the first bodysurfer who makes a definite turn in their chosen direction (by making an obvious right or left turn). A second bodysurfer may go in the opposite direction on the same wave without incurring a penalty, providing they do not interfere with the first bodysurfer who has established right of way (i.e. they may not cross the path of the first bodysurfer in order to gain the opposite side of the peak unless they do so without hindering, in the majority of judges opinion, the inside bodysurfer).


IV. Multiple Peak

Multiple Peak Situation With multiple random peaks. In these conditions, wave possession may vary slightly according to the nature of an individual wave:

With two Peaks, there will be cases where one swell will have two separate, defined peaks far apart that eventually meet at some point. Although two bodysurfers may each have inside position on those respective peaks, the bodysurfer who is first riding the wave shall be deemed to have wave possession and the second bodysurfer must give way by cutting back or kicking out before hindering the right of way bodysurfer.

If two bodysurfers stand at the same time on two 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 bodysurfer who has been the aggressor at the point of contact.

If neither bodysurfer gives way, by cutting back or kicking out and both share responsibility for the confrontation, then a double interference will be called.


V. Snaking

The bodysurfer who is furthest inside at the initial point of take-off and has established wave possession is entitled to that wave for the duration of their ride, even though another bodysurfer may subsequently take off behind them. The judges will not penalize the bodysurfer because they have right of way, even though they are in front.

If the second bodysurfer has not hindered the original bodysurfer with right of way, then the judges may choose not to penalize them and will score both bodysurfers’ rides.

A bodysurfer may not take off on the opposite side of a broken wave peak to gain possession of the opposite wave face, when a bodysurfer has already established possession on the inside of the peak. An interference will be called if the majority of the judges feel that the bodysurfer surfing/riding from behind the broken peak has hindered the scoring potential of the bodysurfer who has established possession of the inside of the broken peak.

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


VI. Paddling Interference

In four person heats, positioning at the correct point of takeoff for a wave is an integral part of surfing skill and each competitor must be allowed to reach this chosen point unhindered.

Paddling interference tactics in the general contest area can be, but will not be restricted to:

− blocking the direct pathway of an opponent to the takeoff position by paddling across his/her line, other than by taking and holding the natural inside paddling position.

− blocking/hindering a direct/natural pathway of an opponent into the lineup from the beach paddle out position.


In four person heats, another bodysurfer who has inside position should not be excessively hindered by another bodysurfer paddling for the same wave.
Paddling interference may be called if:

− The offending bodysurfer makes contact with or forces the inside bodysurfer to change their line while paddling to catch the wave causing loss of scoring potential.


− The offending bodysurfer obviously causes a section to break down in front of the inside bodysurfer which would not normally have done so and thereby causing loss of scoring potential.

When a bodysurfer is put in a position while paddling out that they cannot get out of the way and a collision happens due to this, it is up to a majority of the judges to call an interference unless it is felt that the rider contributed to the collision by selecting an unreasonable and aggressive line across the wave.


VII. Tactical Paddling Interference

Unsporting Paddling Tactics must be penalized.

A heat placing is decided as a result of waves ridden. Tactics directed at reducing waves ridden are negatives to the performance in the heat. ROW is available to a bodysurfer so he/she is not hindered in actually catching the selected wave, not as a tactic to prevent opponents catching the wave.

"Unsporting paddling tactics" [TPI] can be, but will not be restricted to:

“taking inside position and right of way with respect to a particular opponent, then intentionally aborting takeoff” once deferred to by the opponent at takeoff point.

The process:

Judges will view the TPI situation, taking the first instance as an indication by the competitor that he/she is enacting this tactic. When the second TPI for that bodysurfer occurs, the announced warning will be given and the appropriate disc shown. When the third TPI for that bodysurfer occurs, he/she will be asked to leave the water under the two interference rule.

Note: Recorded TPI's may involve infringement against different opponents each time

VIII. Special Priority Rules

The Contest Director/Head Judge have the option to conduct the event using a 3 or 4 bodysurfer priority rule as described below [ix] or to only use the TPI Rule [VII] above.

The 3-4 bodysurfer priority rule will negate the need for the TPI.


IX. 3 & 4 bodysurfer Heat Priority

A priority system can be used in 4 or 3 person heats, whereby riders establish priority by being the first to reach, or go beyond, or to the side of, the main takeoff zone under direction of the Head Judge.


Where bodysurfers reach the line-up at the same time, priority will go to the bodysurfer who did not have the last priority.


The Head Judge (or Priority Judge) will determine who has priority in heats and may consult with the judging panel for close calls. This priority will be indicated by changing the colours of the priority discs, lights or flags to coincide with the colours of the competition vest worn by the riders who have priority.


The priority discs, lights, or flags must be situated at one end of the judging area where it is clearly visible by the competitors in the heat in progress. It must be easily accessible so that it may be changed immediately as priority changes, either by or under direction of the Head Judge (Priority Judge).


Normally there will be no priority once a heat commences until one rider catches a wave (with all non-priority interference rules applying until this point), at which time the remaining riders will be deemed to share automatic first priority.


The rider with first priority has ultimate wave possession.


Once a ride has been caught then all remaining riders will share equal first priority and the first rider will move to fourth priority.


A competitor loses wave priority as soon as they catch a wave, or paddle for and miss a wave. This loss of priority is determined by the head judge and is based on watching similar paddling situations thousands of times. The loss of priority can be defined as gaining momentum on a wave by either catching or paddling for and missing, but still travelling to-wards the shoreline. In this case, priority reverts to another competitor only if they had al-ready established second priority. Then the riders in third and fourth priority all move up one place and the rider that lost first priority automatically gets fourth priority.


If no competitors have priority, no priority discs are indicated and the normal non-priority interference rules will determine right of way. These rules will apply until priority is re-established as per [b].


A rider will lose second priority by paddling for and missing a wave. If the competitor catches and rides in any way, they will be scored for that wave and loose second priority and automatically go to fourth priority.


When a rider with first priority paddles for and misses a wave, the other riders will get automatic first, second and third priority if they held priority at the time. If this second priority rider then paddles for and also misses the same wave, both (in this situation) will be deemed to have lost priority, regardless of there having been insufficient time to change the priority disc. The rider in first priority will go to third and the rider that was holding second will go to fourth pushing the original third and fourth into the new first and second priority.


The rider with first priority must not position themselves in front of the other riders to deliberately block them from catching a wave or they will lose priority. Prior to loosing priority a verbal warning will be issued to notify the rider with priority that they are close to turning over the priority.


Similarly where in the opinion of the Head Judge a rider with first priority places himself or herself in the take off zone to “sit on” the other riders and prevent them from catching a wave, that rider will also lose priority. Prior to loosing priority a verbal warning will be issued to notify the rider with priority that they are close to turning over the priority.


The Head Judge may call priority interference individually, only if the majority of the judging panel does not see the incident.


In all cases where a dispute results from a malfunction of the priority system, the IBSA Head Judge and Technical Director will arbitrate. It is always the bodysurfers responsibility to continually check the priority system at all times for verification about allocation.


If a bodysurfer is not in the Competition Area when the heat starts and arrives late, the bodysurfer will be allocated the appropriate priority position as determined by the Priority Judge at the time when the bodysurfer reaches the Primary Take Off Zone.


X. 3 & 4 bodysurfer Heat Interference Penalty

For priority situations when an interference is called on a bodysurfer, then the bodysurfer’s heat score will be calculated using only their best scoring wave.


In non-priority situations when an interference is called on a bodysurfer, the bodysurfer’s second best scoring wave will be halved.


When an interference is called on a bodysurfer while paddling to catch a wave or while riding a wave, the Ride will be scored zero.


Interference will be denoted by a triangle on the Judges sheet.


Any interfering bodysurfer must be penalized and once an interference decision is made, it is irrevocable. The Judges are directed not to enter into any discussion over the interference call. Any discussion must be directly with the IBSA Head Judge, who has the option of discussing the situation or not.


The bodysurfer who is interfered with will be allowed an additional wave beyond their wave maximum, within the prescribed time limit.



Where a double interference is called, neither bodysurfer gets an extra wave. An extra wave or heat delay as decided by the IBSA Head Judge at the time will also apply to interference from water photographers, water security personnel or other outside interference.

Where any bodysurfer incurs two interferences they must immediately leave the Competition Area (Failure to do so will result in a penalty), furthermore:

1. If both interferences are in a non-priority situation, both scoring rides will be halved.

2. If one interference is in a non-priority situation and the other in a priority situation, one scoring ride will be halved and the other scored a zero according to the order of the interferences.

3. If both interferences are in a priority situation the bodysurfer will be disqualified from the heat.


If neither bodysurfer in an interference situation has established priority over the other bodysurfer involved, the penalty will be a non-priority interference (see b above) regardless of other bodysurfers in the heat (not involved in the interference situation) who hold priority or not, the bodysurfer’s second best scoring wave will be halved.

e. Judging Evaluation and Hints


I. General

Judging panels for each heat will consist of five judges who will rotate from a larger judging panel. A panel of seven judges is the minimum necessary to conduct an event on a full-time basis. The judging panel roster should not require any judge to judge for more than 3 heats without a break. Each judging panel will officiate under the control and discretion of a Head Judge whose duties are more fully described in Section 6. Judges must check in with the Head Judge at least 15 minutes prior to the heat starting times. This allows time to get a realistic view of the waves, and the surfing standard. The number of the Judge and heat number must be clearly entered on the judging sheet.


If a score is not clear or is incorrect and is authorized be changed, it must be lined through and the correct score inserted in the next block. All alterations must be initialized by the Judge concerned.


Judges must not tally the sheet and must hand in the sheet promptly at the end of the heat.


Each judge must give 100% effort. Maximum concentration is essential to ensure personal bias is eliminated and that top efficiency is reached.


Judges must score every wave ridden by every competitor.


Wave scoring will be done from 0.1 to ten (10) broken into one-tenth increments.


Judges are responsible for ruling on interference situations as described in Section 4.


Judges should be visually separated and it is the responsibility of the Head Judge to ensure that judges do not discuss wave scores or interference calls.


Judges may not change their scores or interference calls either on the computer terminal or on manual sheets. In the event that a mistake has been made, the judge must inform the Head Judge who will authorize the amendment. The Judge must initial any changes/alterations. In the case of the computer judging system only the HJ can change a score in the system.


If a judge misses a wave or part of a wave he must place an “M” in the block on the sheet, and inform the Head Judge, who will give a score based on a comparison of previous rides and other judge’s sheets. The score must be initialled by the Head judge.


The judges used in the finals will be those who have shown the highest degree of consistency over the contest.


Judges who have finished their duty roster are to remain on hand in the contest area until their last heat has been tallied and until protests can no longer be lodged.


Judges must wait for the completion of the tabulators work before checking the completed Tally Sheets.


No judge may pass comment on a bodysurfer’s chances in any event, to the public, media, or contestants, or that judge may be dismissed from the panel and other action may be taken by the Head Judge in consultation with the Contest Director.


Judging statistics will be compiled daily. (Detailed in Section 7). Any judge who proves to be inconsistent will be dropped from the judging panel and assigned to other contest duties (i.e.: spotter). This can take place at any time and be enforced by the Contest Director on the recommendation of the Head Judge.


At times, errors of a special nature occur with respect to judging. This includes timing and judges scores. At his discretion the Contest Director may consult with those qualified observers (defined as head judge, judges, off-duty judges, spotters, or other officials) who may have witnessed the incident in question, and who will rule on these special circumstances case by case.


The standard of the judging panel is based solely on the individuals’ qualifications. Politics, country of origin and personal likes or dislikes should become irrelevant if the Judge does his/her job properly.


Before Judging: Judges must make sure to take part in the pre-event meeting to establish the criteria and rules that will be used. Judges must be at the Judges’ tower punctually. This means 30 minutes before the first heat, so that conditions can be checked. All judges must be available at all times, be prepared for all conditions and if necessary bring sweaters, towels, pants and a coat in case of rain. The judges must know the rules and be able to implement them in any situation. Judges should study the Judging criteria and make sure they understand and can interpret the criteria accurately.


Judging in Bad Conditions:

Many events are held in marginal conditions. All events can suffer from poor conditions or surf, so judges must be able to adjust. In poor surf they should concentrate on bodysurfers who are utilizing the power on the wave. Judges should observe how each maneuvers is being linked directly to another (rail to rail turns through the flat sections should be distinguished from hopping all the way to the next section). Establish if the bodysurfer is generating/creating enough speed out of turns.


NOTE: In poor conditions there are normally fewer waves. Low scores may be counted in the final tabulation.


Judging Heavy Heats:

Difficult heats should be accepted by a judge as a challenge. This means judging methodically, being extremely critical, watching details and mentally picturing the whole wave. In every contest there will always be some heats that are more difficult than others either because they are the first heat of the day, due to deteriorating conditions or a close heat. This is when the top Judges come to the fore front.


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

1. Where was the first maneuver executed?

2. How well was it executed?

3. How well were the maneuvers connected together?

4. Did the bodysurfer ride the wave with flow, style and control ?

5. How did the outside maneuvers compare to the inside maneuvers?

6. How deep was the bodysurfer at the initial point of take-off?

7. How did the bodysurfer utilize flow on the wave?

8. Did the bodysurfer make sections and were the maneuvers functional?

9. Was the maneuver completed with control?

10. Did the bodysurfer utilized his arms appropriately and functionally?

11. How did the bodysurfer divide their time between gliding and maneuvers ?


A comparison between the first scoring wave and the last scoring wave in a heat is extremely important. Inexperienced judges tend to over score last waves as they forget or ignore what has taken place during a heat and this can affect the result. This is an area where less experienced judges can learn from more experienced judges.


Concentration/Multiple Riders

1. 100% Concentration is the key. It is not good enough to put each score down correctly but judges should also assist the Head Judge with wave and interference calls. In such heats, the ability to score the wave instinctively and to allocate the score automatically at the end of the ride is of utmost importance.

2. When several competitors are riding at the same time, it is important to watch everyone. However, it is essential that focus be on more critical areas such as the take-off point, the first maneuvers and other outside maneuvers. This is where the bodysurfer’s greatest scoring potential will occur. The beginning of a wave is far more important therefore when at least two bodysurfers are riding concentration should be allocated according to each bodysurfer’s scoring potential. The bodysurfer’s scoring potential at the end of the wave is obviously much lower. It is important to put scores down as quickly as possible and recall the rides in order. Place the best score down first and then worst score and deliberate on the middle scores.

3. Continuous wave counts should be called and if unsure about a score only the Head Judge should be asked for assistance not a fellow panel judge.

II. Judging Tower/Area:

The Contest Director and Head Judge will be responsible for the application of this rule.


The Judges, spotter, announcer and Head Judge must have unrestricted view of the full width of the wave being surfed by the competitor at all times.


Side on view or a view that does not give the judges an accurate or appropriate perspective of the wave is not acceptable.


If a fixed structure (podium) is in place, this podium (or podiums) must be erected in consultation with the Contest Director and Head Judge.


If a contest is moved the judges must be positioned at the vantage point that allows them best viewing of the wave being surfed even if this requires temporary structures to be positioned on the beach.

The judges must be provided with a suitable weatherproof protective shelter and reasonably sound proofed from outside noise such as PA sound systems and background noise.


If possible, judges must be visually separated from each other.


III. Judging Scale and Categories:

The zero to ten point scoring system used by the IBSA is broken up into the following categories:

0.1 – 1.9 Poor

2.0 – 3.9 Fair

4 – 5.9 Average

6.0 – 7.9 Good

8.0 – 10 Excellent


Judges should refer to this to establish accurate scores for the first wave exchanges.


Wave scoring is broken into one tenth increments i.e.: 0.1 – 10 (ten) Judges should try to remember all scoring waves so as to avoid judging higher as the heat continues.


The last wave exchanges should be judged based on the same criteria as the first wave exchanges


The first wave scored, sets the scale for the heat and should remain in the judge’s mind as the benchmark for that level of performance and wave comparisons.


Individual wave scores are what the judge should concentrate on and the final outcome of the heat should be based on scoring waves.


As no bodysurfer rides any wave in the same way, judges should try hard to differentiate between all scoring waves.


Judges should not deliberate but should put a score down after the ride is completed.


During the heat, wave counts should be called as frequently as possible while the contestants are not riding. Repeat wave counts regularly.


Judges must avoid being influenced by the spectators, commentators or by friendships and other outside influences and should have the confidence to stand by their decisions.


During the heat, opinions should not be shared with other judges.

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