Maximise Your Scoring Potential


Thanks to Trevor Brady for assisting with these guidelines.           

Comprehensive judging guidelines are provided to assist competitors in understanding and applying the basic judging criteria, differences in disciplines and considerations necessary to apply scores to a competitors performance. In this way, it is hoped that every competitor will be prepared to judge, enjoy the experience and have fun at all Noosa Malibu Club events.

The judging format for all NMC amateur events and monthly competitions is as follows:

Judge A Heat – Miss One Heat – Surf Your Heat


Surfing is an expressive art form and each surfer offers unique elements of speed, style and power. All of these categories must be considered when evaluating a surfer’s performance.

In general, judging should follow the basic principle that:

“The surfer must perform radical CONTROLLED manoeuvres in the most CRITICAL sections of a wave with COMMITMENT, power, speed and flow to maximise scoring potential.”

Innovative and progressive surfing (for the discipline of surfing being judged) as well as a variety of manoeuvres will be taken into consideration when awarding points for a surfer’s performance.

The surfer who executes these criteria with the maximum degree of difficulty, control in the critical area and greatest commitment on the waves shall be rewarded with the higher scores.


Each wave is assigned a score from 0.1 to 10.0. Simply standing up and straightening out usually warrants a 0.5, however, the type of wave and conditions can dictate how manoeuvres are scored. A guide to the judging SCALE that you should employ can be found at the bottom of all judging sheets.

All of the wave scores in a particular heat should be based upon the first complete ride for THAT heat. For example, if the first complete scoring wave consists of three solid manoeuvres (i.e. controlled, committed manoeuvres in the critical area), which you believe warrants a score of 7.5, then all further waves scored in THAT heat should be scored in comparison to and according to the scale set by that ride. A judge must remember that ride and judge later waves in the same heat against that benchmark wave.

It is important to not miss any rides or parts of rides and not be distracted from the task at hand. Remember that you are surfing next and would not expect to have your rides or parts of same missed by distracted or inattentive judging. Score only what you see, do not guess, do not be distracted by other opinions, do not base your scoring on previous heats and refer any queries you may have to the Head Judge.

It is important to concentrate on the initial part of the wave (out the back) as this is the highest scoring potential area of the wave. Manoeuvres in this area are more likely to be critical, committed and require the most control, THE THREE C’s.


The” basic” interference rule is as follows:

  1. POINT BREAK: (Single direction wave) The INSIDE SURFER has unconditional right of way for the duration of that wave.
  2. SINGLE PEAK: (Left and right breaking wave) The surfer considered to have the INSIDE POSITION at the initial point of take off has unconditional right of way in the direction they chose BY MAKING AN OBVIOUS TURN in that direction.
  3. BEACH BREAK: (Multiple random peaks or two separate peaks that eventually meet) THE FIRST SURFER TO THEIR FEET has unconditional right of way.
  4. SNAKING. The surfer who is farthest 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 surfer may subsequently take-off behind them. The judges will not penalize the surfer because they have right of way, even though they are in front. If the second surfer has not hindered the original surfer with right of way, the judges may choose not to penalize them and will score both surfers’ rides.



  1. Do not overcomplicate the exercise, keep it simple and remember “The three C’s, COMMITTMENT/CONTROL/CRITICAL AREA and who used them best and where.
  2. Develop a scanning technique for all waves being surfed, then assess “was that a bad, poor, average, good or excellent effort by that surfer on that wave”, then look at the SCALE on the bottom of the judging sheet and apply the relevant score according to your application of that scale. The SCALE range of two points is designed to allow judges to differ on their personal opinions of how a surfer performed. But ALL judges should be able to assess a performance on a wave within the same SCALE and the judges and the Head Judge should discuss any differences within this SCALE, i.e. NO SCORE NUMBERS should be discussed.
  3. Do not worry about what other judges are scoring, other than the SCALE. Be prepared to ask the Head Judge for assistance at any time as preparedness to do so will only ensure that the event runs professionally, on time and without ties and tallier dissent.
  4. Remember that surfing is FUN, others are going to judge you so” everybody” should try hard to be a better judge and through understanding how to judge, you will improve your own surfing.



  1. How well were the manoeuvres connected together
  2. Did the surfer walk foot over foot along the full length of the board or did they shuffle?
  3. Are the surfer’s toes actually hanging over the nose or are they short of the nose?
  4. Has the surfer utilised the full length of the board or surfed it like a shortboard?
  5. Compare outside manoeuvres, major, minor, modern and traditional manoeuvres.
  6. Compare take off areas, how deep a surfer is surfing, how the surfer utilised the critical area.
  7. Did the surfer complete the manoeuvre or fall prior to completion?
  8. Did the surfer utilise the complete potential of the wave and surf to the complete criteria? For example, surfers who only surf inside smaller waves/sections, regardless of their performance on same, should not be given scores in the excellent range (8 points or better).






The trend in longboarding is now toward two distinctive and specific disciplines. There is an obvious overlap in these two disciplines of longboarding, which needs to be seriously considered by judges.

Basically, the normal criteria specifics of judging who is demonstrating “best CONTROL, with COMMITMENT in the CRITICAL AREA of the wave with the greatest degree of difficulty”, still applies, primarily.

The obvious additional considerations with “LOGGING” are the variety of manoeuvres, i.e. the traditional and transitional manoeuvres and the degree of style, flow and connectivity applied by the surfer in demonstrating his ability to surf a surfboard manufactured to modern standards, but shaped to traditional dimensions and requirements.

In addition to the considerations of application of style, flow, smoothness, connectivity and traditional manoeuvres demonstrated in “logging”, judges must be more aware of, and carefully consider the following manoeuvres:

  1. Nose rides (touch 5’s and 10’s as trimming manoeuvres)
  2. Cheater nose rides
  3. Cross-stepping and reverse walks
  4. Smooth, controlled bottom turns
  5. Lay back cutbacks, roundhouse cutbacks and drop knee cutbacks
  6. Deliberate stall and trim manoeuvres.
  7. Barrels, cover-ups and head dips.
  8. Standing and crouching island pullouts
  9. Forward and reverse flick-outs and controlled riding pullouts to complete the ride.
  10. Side slides, on deck 360’s, headstands, coffin rides, soul arches, beach step-offs, etc when used to embellish ones performance on the wave and when performed with style, flow and connectivity.


  1. The board length is minimum 9 feet measured from the nose to the tail on the deck of the surfboard. The width dimensions are to be a total minimum 51 inches in aggregate. This is the total of the widest point, plus the width 12 inches up from the tail and 12 inches back from the nose
  2. The board will have a single central fin that may be permanently fixed or attached via a fin box. There must be no provision for any other fin configuration
  3. The rails of the surfboard will be 50/50 or 60/40 from nose to tail.
  4. The board will have no resin edge from rail to tail.
  5. The fin will be at least 8 inches from its mounted base to the highest point
  6. The board will weigh a minimum of six (6) kilograms
  7. A provision for attaching a leg rope should be attached / inserted into the surf board. The use of leg ropes will determined by the conditions and at contest director’s discretion



We are aiming to get back to the “core” of our sport in the Old Mal Discipline and to link it into the “style of the times”, the original judging criteria applicable for 1965 is as follows:

“A surfer will be judged and given the maximum points for sliding at the greatest speed, the longest distance possible, in the most dangerous part of the wave with the greatest functional manoeuvrability”

Style and flow, choice of traditional manoeuvres and the way they are presented and linked, combined with the requirements of the basic criteria) is what judges should now be looking for in judging “OLD MAL” heats.



A SUP Division has been included in The Wrecks and Relics since 2010. Specialist judges can be invited to assess the surfing in these heats. The Judging Criteria is detailed below for the understanding and application of the competitors.

SUP surfing is unique so it is important identify criteria’s that set it apart from long boarding.  The paddle is a tool and a big part of the sport therefore it is not just used to help catch a wave, but is necessary as an aid for riding the waves.

Judging Criteria:  The primary judging criteria of ‘controlled and committed manoeuvres, in the most critical part of the wave, demonstrated with the greatest degree of difficulty’ equally applies to SUP surfing.  In addition a surfer must demonstrate board-handling skills in the transition phase (end of one wave to paddle-in to next one) and the surfing phase of their performance, for it to be considered complete.

Innovative/progressive surfing as well as variety of manoeuvrers, wave negotiation and use of the paddle to increase the intensity of the manoeuvrers, will all be taken into account when awarding points for SUP surfing.  The SUP surfer who executes these criteria with the maximum degree of difficulty and commitment on the waves will be rewarded with the higher scores.

Transition phase  (end of one wave to paddle-in to next one) should be spent standing and paddling with good technique and stable wave negotiation.  Kneeling, lying or sitting whilst paddling, unless necessary for safety is regarded as bad SUP form.  Note the critical element:  To the best of a rider’s ability he/she is expected to stand up on the board at all times throughout the heat, unless the situation of safety dictates otherwise.

Surfing phase:  Entry into the wave should be by paddling in the standing position to enable the maximum score.  Average scores for all manoeuvrers will be allocated unless the paddle is used as a pivot or tool in manoeuvres, then power, radical moves, critical sections and degree of difficulty are the deciding factors.

Using the paddle:  The paddle is correctly used in SUP surfing to do three main things:  it is used in turns as a brace, a pivot and a force multiplier.  A surfer will be scored higher when he uses the paddle in some or all of these three ways to achieve sharper or more powerful turns.

Comparison of traditional long board surfing and SUP surfing techniques:  Because the paddle allows large SUP boards to be turned with high rates of speed an power, stand-up paddle surfing is deemed to be, at the competition level, a performance-centred branch of surfing, much like conventional short boarding.  Footwork, nose riding and style points will be scored, but this will be done in their relationship to the criteria of degree of difficulty and critical nature of wave positioning.

If a rider cannot sustain the standing position throughout the heat (in transition and surfing), this will be regarded in the same manner as improper use of the paddle, and judges should only allocate average scores to his/her performances at best.

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