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What Is Scoring

I found this crazy cool pic a while back. Looking at the points in the judging criteria in this pic, it really shocked me at the disparity of points for some maneuvers.

What I mean is that in today’s times, the oohs and aahs you get from the general public watching surfing are above the wave aerial antics or the disappearing moves of a surfer riding inside the tube. Aerial surfing was not a concept back then, and while points on this sheet do reflect that tube riding is rewarded to some degree, clearly this “LOOP (360)” was the holy grail of surfing back then.

Back when? I would hazard a guess to the ‘60s when the competitions first started. In today’s times, judging surfers in competition is so subjective and has been cause of bitter debate. I like this sheet spelling out each move and then having an exception of that move being “radical.” Back when I grew up in Australia through the late ‘60s and ‘70s, that was the best surfer, any guy who was whispered about that he was “radical,” which later turned into “rad” and then it died off, losing that mystique.

I have no idea what a “richocet” (their spelling) is, but I’m guessing it’s when you cut back to the white wash and bounce off the foam and ricocheting back to the right direction. I’d probably only gain points for taking off and doing some zigzags, but that’s cool, it’s spelled out on a sheet and no one can dispute that. I think they need to bring something like this scoring criteria back into the future.

And I’ll tell you why. It was at the Jeffery’s Bay competition in South Africa last year where it all broke apart. Usually if a guy is going mach10, gets tubed for three seconds, comes out and boosts a 10 foot air 360 rotation and lands it, the oohs and aahs happen and the general public knows it’s got to be a perfect 10. And it is. Jeez, there’s been times when a surfer boosts just one air and gets a 10. Except a surfer named Filipe Toledo from Brazil broke all concepts of what a 10 really should be. While going mach10 he proceeds to do not one, but two massive 8-10 foot high above the lip 360 twists in the air (known as alley-oops) and then goes on to demolish the wave with another 8-10 critical turns, leaving the spectators and judges knowing it had to be at least a 20 out of 10.

For surfers, the feeling is completely different from what it may look like. While doing some of these moves on this sheet, like cutbacks, the general public doesn’t feel the g-forces we experience. The same with late take-offs, free falling into the flats and then making it. It might not look good and get oohs and aahs, but it feels fantastic, and it’s always fascinated me how surfing is so different to the ones that do to the ones that don’t. I like this sheet because it keeps everyone on the same page.

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