What is priority?
Priority is essentially who has the right-of-way in the water. If a set of waves comes, the surfer with priority will have their pick of the waves. The surfer without priority cannot interfere with what wave the surfer with priority chooses.
The surfer with priority also has the ability to stand up and surf on a wave that the other surfer has already taken, therefore forcing the surfer without priority to exit the wave.
In order to establish priority, one surfer must make it to the lineup before the other surfer. Once the surfer with priority takes a wave, the surfer left in the lineup will then have priority.
What is an interference?
An interference is when a surfer without priority gets in the way of a surfer with priority. In most situations this is when a surfer without priority drops in on a surfer with priority, causing him to lose points, fall off the wave or be unable to complete the wave.
The surfer who causes the interference will be given a penalty, which means that their heat score will be calculated using only their best scoring wave.
Rip Curl Team Rider and WSL Commentator Rosy Hodge
How does the judging work?
On the Championship Tour, a panel of five judges work on a 10-point scale when scoring waves.
For every scoring ride, the highest and lowest scores (of the five judges) are discounted and the surfer receives the average of the remaining three scores. There is no limit on the number of waves that will be scored, but the two best scoring waves (each out of a possible 10) are added together to become a surfer's heat total (out of a possible 20). The surfer with the highest combined two-wave heat total at the end of the heat will win that heat.
Judges analyse the following elements when scoring waves:
- Commitment and degree of difficulty
- Innovative and progressive manoeuvres
- Combination of major manoeuvres
- Variety of manoeuvres
- Speed, power and flow
The judging scale is as follows:
[0.0 — 1.9: Poor]
[2.0 — 3.9: Fair]
[4.0 — 5.9: Average]
[6.0 — 7.9: Good]
[8.0 — 10.0: Excellent]
How is a World Surfing Champion decided?
At the end of each event, surfers are awarded points based on where they placed in the event. The better they perform, the more points they get. For example, first place gets 10,000 points, second place gets 8,000 points, and down from there.
These points are added together to create the Championship Tour Rankings. At the end of the year, the male and female surfers with the highest ranking with become the World Surfing Champion.