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What to Expect in a Surf Competition


8am-12:20pm (approx.)

6:30AM Volunteer Parents arrive and help carry gear and help set-up

7:30AM Pre Check-in with designated coach and start warming up

8:00AM Heats Begin!!

10ish BREAK

*Kids with last names A-L to bring fruit or healthy/breakfasty snacks

*Kids with last name M-Z to bring drinks (WATER!!, no gatorade or soda)

12ishPM Awards

*** Due to COVID, our potluck style luau table has to look a little different this season. We need individually packaged items like fruit with skin on it that can be easily washed, protein bars, etc. We must be conscious of avoiding shared surfaces. Please review the COVID Safety page for Surf Academy's safety guidelines***



The heat sheets will be emailed to participants the Fri or Sat prior to the event. Each heat is 15 MINUTES. Please use this as a guideline to when your student will be surfing. This heat schedule will show the exact time your student will be surfing. If all you can see is “final” that means there are only surfers to have one heat, and there are no elimination rounds. Please study the heat sheet prior to arriving to the beach! 


YOU CHECK IN FOR THE HEAT 15 MINUTES PRIOR TO START TIME—7am is one hour before the 8am heats go out.

This will let the beach marshal for the North/South areas know you are ready to surf. You will also go to pick-up your colored competitor rash guard. In general, all competitors are present ALL DAY. There are several reasons to arrive before your heat time. PLEASE NOTE: your time slot may shift throughout the day. There are often changes that are made right on the beach, so it is important you are there to check the “posted” heat sheets. These will be located near to the center tents between the two judging tents on easels. There are two different heat areas—make sure you are familiar with both.


Arrive Early

Make sure you arrive with all of your gear; surfboard, wetsuit, towels, ding repair kits, wax, waterproof watch and anything you may need throughout the day. There are bathrooms and beach cafe nearby should you forget anything. If you have ever watched a professional contest, you have seen that competitors seem to hang around all day, even when it is not a requirement. They aren't wasting time— Instead, they are observing conditions, sizing up the competition, and becoming familiar with the contest venue. It's a good time to stretch, check your heat time, and most importantly see what others are doing to win. Watching other heats can help you surfing! 

Know What the Judges are Looking For 

There is no way to pass a test if you don't know what will be on it. Likewise, you can't do well in a heat if you don't know what the judges are looking for. Here's the deal: the highest scores are given to the surfers who maximize the wave's potential. Therefore, you don't automatically get a better score for catching the biggest wave or having the longest ride. A bigger, better wave only provides the surfer the potential for a higher score. Judges generally score according to the most controlled maneuvers completed with speed in the most critical part of the wave: Speed, Power, Flow, and Commitment (and variety of maneuvers).

Know that YOUR BEST 2 WAVES ARE THE ONES THEY USE.  This is not a pro-competition. We are looking for everyone to surf the best they can surf and HAVE FUN!

Advancing to the Next Heat 

The top three surfers who score the most points will advance to the next heat. After each heat, the volunteer parent "runners" give the score sheets to the tabulators, who tally the scores. They are not keeping tally by your name—They keep track of you in the water based on the color of your competition rash guard. Once the scores are in, they will be posted in the same place as the heat sheets! There are some instances where there is only a “final” meaning one heat and everyone in that heat earns a final place in the awards ceremony. Because we group kids by middle and high school, there are varying numbers of participants in each division/contest across the season. Some contests there may be multiple elimination rounds.



If you have questions while you are at the beach, there will be parent volunteers at the beach to help you settle in and get acclimated to beach events. Marion is the Director and available for any and everyone. Wright is the beach marshal, he will be calling out names for heats. Jamie is the head tabulator—she counts up wave scores and updates the heat advancements.

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