Distributor of Ideas

The Inertia

Judging in surfing is always a contentious issue. In almost every contest, someone somewhere is upset about some kind of call. “Rigged!” they yell. ” You CAN script this!” As you likely know, there are a few things that judges consider when scoring a wave: commitment and degree of difficulty, variety of maneuvers, and speed, power, and flow. You may notice that most of those, save variety of maneuvers and speed, are relatively subjective. Which makes things pretty dang hard for judges, we’d imagine.

While the judging process is generally a quiet affair (except for when a surfer storms the tower, of course), it’s nice to have a look under the rug to see exactly how things are done. Which is why the World Surf League sat down with former Head Judge Richie Porta to add a bit of clarity ahead of the Outerknown Tahiti Pro. He’s got a few decades of experience under his belt, so his insights into what’s happening up there are likely pretty spot on.



Only the best. We promise.


Join our community of contributors.