Professional surf competitions are scored by a panel of judges who grade individual runs and tricks against the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Judging Key Elements. These guidelines present judges with five distinct pieces of criteria on which to base their scores.
First, the level of commitment and degree of difficulty should be taken into account when scoring a ride. Second, a run’s score can also be adjusted depending on the presence of any innovative maneuvers attempted or, more importantly, successfully executed by the surfer. Third, a surfer should be rewarded for combining multiple major maneuvers into a single ride. A surfer is also judged on the fourth criterion, the diversity of moves attempted. The more varied a rider’s moves are, the higher their score should be. Finally, judges take into account a surfer’s overall speed, power, and flow over the course of a wave.