The point scoring system is 0 – 10, broken into one-tenth increments, with control being the major factor.

Use the following five scoring categories:

Category Description Points Range
Bad wave No manoeuvres or minor manoeuvre with little or no control 0.2 – 2.0
Poor wave Minor manoeuvres or basic manoeuvre with control 2.1 – 4.0
Average wave Basic manoeuvres, one major and minors with control 4.1 – 6.0
Good wave Radical major manoeuvres, speed control and power 6.1 – 8.0
Excellent wave Radical major manoeuvres with speed, control, power with elements of progressive surfing 8.1 – 10.0

Start the heat using whole and half points as much as possible. There may be the need to use other increments as the heat progresses.

The score given for the first ride or rides will set the scale for the remainder of the heat. Compare every individual wave score from start to finish of the heat and keep in mind important wave scores to compare against, such as the first wave of the heat, the current highest wave score of the heat and the current highest wave score of the day. If any part of the ride is not seen, contact the Head Judge immediately. Do not copy off the judge next to you, as that score may also be incorrect. Ignore the progressive outcome of the heat and concentrate on comparing the individual waves.

Points will be awarded for classic surfing manoeuvres, such as:

  • Nose riding, trimming and stalling;
  • Walking the board;
  • Standard and crouching island pullouts;
  • Bottom turns – full rail or from tail;
  • Cut backs – drop knee or wide stance / sit down style;
  • Top turn or re-entry.

The surfer may embellish their performance with soul arches, quasimotoes, head dips, grace and style although these are not considered manoeuvres, as such. Judges should consider the difference in accomplishment in nose rides, e.g. stretch or cheater fives as compared to real hang fives and hang tens. Classic nose rides are usually best when the walk to the nose is set up by a tail stall or directly in from the arc of a turn. Walking back to the tail to continue or finish the ride; a clean conclusion, e.g. an island pull-out as opposed to wipe outs to finish the ride. Walking cleanly and precisely, foot over foot, to the nose is obviously superior to shuffling forward and back. Re-entries, ricochets and rebounds were all developed on boards over 9’ in length and refined on short 8’ boards and will therefore be regarded as classic surfing and judged accordingly.

Trick surfing should not be taken into account while scoring the surfers’ rides. While tricks require a high level of skill, they have never been considered of functional value in hard core Australian Malibu surfing. The longboard criteria can be broken into main sections. The first section is by far the most important and should be where the major emphasis is placed when scoring modern longboard surfing and this concern the manoeuvres, how radical and controlled they are and the section of the way that they are performed on.

Modern day manoeuvres basically constitute the change of direction of the board, not the surfer on the board. Recognising the different types of manoeuvres and their degree of difficulty is of high importance. Manoeuvres can be classified as major or minor or trick. How difficult the manoeuvres are, followed by the amount of control and commitment put into them will determine how high they will score. Longboard surfing also has an array of tricks or manoeuvres that are classified as easy to perform and should have no real bearing on the overall wave score. These tricks can be performed along with real manoeuvres and should be viewed as the surfer being in control and embellishing the ride with an entertaining element. Even if a surfer has completed 90% of a manoeuvre, it will not score if the surfer loses control and falls off.

Major Manoeuvres Minor Manoeuvres Trick Manoeuvres
Hang Ten Cheater or stretch fives Fin-first take-offs
Hang Five Shuffling along the board Coffin rides
Walking foot over foot Top turns Quasimotoes
Re-entries Fades Soul arches
Cutback (drop knee or round house) Head dips Head dips
Floaters Rebounds Head stands
Tubes and cover-ups Spinners / 360’s Island pullouts  

PowerCommitmentControlCritical SectionRadical

Critical section describes the positions on the wave where the manoeuvre should be performed to score maximum points. The critical section of the wave is the ‘POCKET’, or closest to the curl. The degree of commitment and the risk involved in performing close to the curl is the reason that it scores higher. The most important critical section of the wave is the first section.

Wave selection is the single most important factor for a surfer in a heat. The wave the surfer selects will dictate the manoeuvres the surfer will be able to perform. Today there is less emphasis put on wave size in small to medium conditions due to the fact that the best waves may not necessarily be the biggest. A surfer does not automatically score high because of wave size or quality. They must comply with the first part of the criteria to capitalise on their full scoring potential, on any wave. A judge must judge the manoeuvres, not the wave or length of ride.

It is important to note that the functional length of ride means the longest possible distance that can be ridden across the judges’ field of vision, whilst performing manoeuvres. Therefore, it is important to judge the manoeuvres, not the distance travelled. The word ‘style’ has been written into the criteria, but it is not up to the judge to decide whether they like a particular style of a surfer or not, rather the word style reflects back to the word ‘control’. If a surfer executes manoeuvres with control then their style works. It is of the utmost importance for every member of the judging panel to adhere to the same point of reference; ‘the criteria’, so that each competitor knows how to maximise their point scoring potential.

Points to consider when judging longboard heats:

  • How well were the manoeuvres connected together?
  • Did the surfer walk foot over foot along the board or did they shuffle?
  • Are the surfer’s toes really hanging over or are they back from the nose?
  • Has the surfer used the whole length of their surfboard?
  • Compare outside manoeuvres to inside manoeuvres. Are they major or minor manoeuvres?
  • How deep was the surfer at the initial point of take off?
  • How did the surfer utilise the wave?
  • Did the surfer make sections and were the manoeuvres functional in doing so?
  • Did the surfer complete the manoeuvre and with control?
  • What did the surfer complete before falling?
  • What real manoeuvres did the surfer complete or were they only trick manoeuvres?

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