Judging Guidelines


The renewed popularity of Malibu or long board riding has brought with it a need to develop a judging philosophy, especially now that the judges who were not surfing during that period on the equipment will be requested to adjudicate.
The essence of the matter is to recreate the typical riding approach on relatively standardised equipment. 9 feet long with a minimum of 47 inches in aggregate width.

     Longboard Judging Criteria:

Judges will analyse the following major elements when scoring rides.

*    Commitment and degree of difficulty,
*   Combination of traditional and modern manoeuvres,
*    Combination and variety of major manoeuvres
*    Innovative and progressive manoeuvres
*    Speed, power, flow and style
*    Use of footwork on the longboard

A surfer does not automatically score high because of wave size or quality; they must comply with the major elements of the criteria to capitalise on their full scoring potential, on any wave.
The criteria can be broken into main sections and the key words are highlighted and emphasised when scoring.

The degree of difficulty and commitment and the risk involved in performing close to the curl (critical section) and in the first and better sections of the wave is the reason that it scores higher. Recognizing the different types of manoeuvres and their degree of difficulty is of the highest importance.

The words “Combination of traditional and modern manoeuvres and Combination and variety of repertoire of Major Manouevres” have a direct bearing to quality longboard surfing. Variety of repertoire means that the surfer is required to mix up their performance with traditional and modern elements.

Critical section describes the positions on the wave where the manoeuvres should be performed to score maximum points.

*    The critical section is the pocket or closest to the curl.
*    The most important critical section of the wave is the first section or “out the back”

The word flow directly relates to how the surfer reads the wave and performing manoeuvres that “fit” to the wave. Stylish and flowing traditional elements will become obvious if the surfer is committing to the entire criteria.
The dual criteria is quite appropriate, provided attention is made to the following:

1.    Judges should consider the difference in accomplishment in nose rides, e.g. stretch or cheater fives as compared to real hang fives and hang ten’s. 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.
2.    Walking cleanly and precisely foot over foot to the nose is obviously superior to shuffling forward and back.
3.    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 long board surfing.

4.    4. Manoeuvres can be classified as major and minor, traditional or modern. The ability of the surfer to do a variety of manoeuvres in the repertoire is extremely important to the overall bearing on the scores.
5.    Long board 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.
6.    It is important to note that even if a surfer has completed 90% of a manoeuvre, it will not score if he loses control and falls off.
7.    A Judge must judge the manoeuvres not the wave or length of ride.
8.    This area in long board judging is the most over scored area by in-experienced judges; they cannot distinguish the performance of the surfers, but they can the length of ride.

Key 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 surfers’ 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 are they traditional or Modern manoeuvres.

*    Compare take off areas and how deep the surfer was at the initial point of take-off.

*    Consider how the surfer utilised/flowed with the wave.

*    Consider the ability of the surfer to make sections and whether the manoeuvres were functional in doing so.

*    Did the surfer actually complete the manoeuvre and with control?

*    What did the surfer complete before falling?

*    Don’t be fooled by tricks or arched backs. Judge the real manoeuvres.

*    If a surfer is only surfing to half of the criteria and does not have a variety of repertoire that surfer should not be given excellent scores (8 points or over.) A surfer must comply with all areas of the criteria to receive excellent scores.


For the 2020 Single Fin events we aim to introduce some of the specifications and criteria developed and refined by Surfing Queensland in Australia. We will continue to use the judging criteria (stated below) we have used since we launched the single fin division, but we will introduce a 9 feet 6 inches minimum board length to allow the division to best showcase and celebrate the flowing and classic approach to long boarding that bigger boards help provide.


a.    The board length is minimum 9 feet 6 inches measured from the nose to the tail on the deck of the surfboard. Junior competitors can use boards measuring a minimum of 9 feet.
b.    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.


“The surfer must execute traditional manouevre’s with continual motion, style and grace in the most critical sections of the wave. The surfer must display uninterrupted flow with control of the surfboard with emphasis on creativity, form with smoothness and the linking of manouevre’s over the entire ride. The degree of commitment to the key aspects of these criteria will determine the scoring outcome.”

The following are possible manoeuvers to be considered:

•    Nose rides – touch 5 and 10’s and extended 5’s and 10’s
•    Cheater 5 nose rides
•    Cross Stepping and Reverse Walks
•    Bottom turns
•    Lay back cutbacks
•    Fade take offs
•    Late take offs
•    Roundhouse cutbacks
•    Cutbacks
•    Drop Knee Cutbacks
•    Stall and Trim
•    Barrels
•    Cover Ups
•    Hawaiian Pullout
•    On Deck 360’s, Head Stands, Coffins, Beach Step Offs, Back Arches