Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Progressive Surfing Needs Analysis

The Surfing World Championship tour is currently in the middle of the second event of the season held at Bell's beach (made famous in the movie Point Break)and by now many surfing fans will know that the judging criteria for 2010 have changed.

If you are a surfer or simply a fan of competitive surfing and the likes of Kelly Slater or Mick Fanning then you will know that the Surfing World Champion is determined by the overall points winner of a 10 event world championship tour.

Each wave in a man on man competition in surfing is scored as the total of points for 2 waves. Each wave is scored out of a maximum of 10 points. Judges now reward progressive and aerial maneuvers with more points. So one extremely progressive, difficult move can potentially score a surfer 10 points if he performs it perfectly, lands it and rides out. Surfing judges use the following criteria to determine the surfer's wave score:
  • Commitment and degree of difficulty
  • Innovative and progressive manoeuvres
  • Combination of major manoeuvres
  • Variety of manoeuvres
  • Speed, power and flow
The new judging system obviously wants to see surfers try different and risky tricks and combinations of tricks and will reward them for landing these tricks. Although from our casual observance it seems surfers get some points for trying progressive maneuvers, they definitely get many more points when they punctuate the trick by landing it and flowing back into another move or back into the wave itself.

The video below has some excellent examples of progressive aerial surfing, at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, by some of the Worlds best surfers.

The importance in the judging criteria of landing moves such as those seen in the video, means that surfers will need to spend time working on their technique.

With the help of video analysis they can assess their aerial maneuver take off positions, the height they attain and other factors during flight such as rotation. Landing positions that will allow the surfer to ride out of the maneuver and into the next one, require excellent balance and technique. All these factors which will lead to progressive moves can and should be analyzed.

The analysis can then help them to add height or variety to their moves, impressing the judges further and blowing the competition away.

Most pro surfers have hours of video footage of themselves to analyze. However many of these are shot for cinematic effect and may not give the best angle for analysis. With the new criteria pro surfers will also want to get video that will give them the best analysis possible.

For the rest of us, watching video of pros and capturing video of ourselves for analysis will allow us to improve our technique and general surfing. Please browse our site for suggestions on cameras and how to get great footage to do just this and contact us to let us know how you are getting on.

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