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


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 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 (…). 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.


iii. Contestable Surf Conditions

There must be a minimum of 18 inches (0,5m) 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. (…)

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 five (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).

xiii. Tabulation, Interferences and Ties


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.


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.


xix. BodySurfing Contest Judging


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.


b. Judging Criteria


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.


d. 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.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:


− 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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