UNITED STATES SURFING CHAMPIONSHIPS
The United States Surfing Championships (USSC), formerly the United States Amateur Surfing Championships (USASC) is a surfing contest held once a year, hosted by the United States Surfing Federation. Any US Citizen is eligible to compete. Questions concerning USSF amateur eligibility are referred to the USSF Competition Director and/or the USSF Competition Committee.
I. EVENTS (Regional, and District Events)
A. Age division events (PROOF OF AGE REQUIRED) and the regional quotas for the USSC will include:
8 Menehunes (boys & girls under 12 years of age)
16 Boys (12-14 years of age)
16 Junior Men (15-17 years of age)
16 Men (18-24 years of age)
8 Masters (25-34 years of age)
8 Senior Men (35-44 years of age)
4 Grandmasters (45-54 years of age)
4 Legends (55 and older)
4 Girls (17 years and younger)
8 Junior Women (18-29 years of age)
4 Women (30 years and older)
4 Menehune Longboard (14 years and under M/F)
4 Junior Longboard (15-17 years of age)
8 Mens Longboard (18-29 years of age)
8 Masters Longboard (20-39 years of age)
4 Senior Longboard (40 years and older)
4 Junior Women Long board (17 and under)
4 Women Longboard (18 years of age and older)
8 Menehune Bodyboard (14 years and under M/F)
16 Junior Bodyboard (15-17 years of age)
8 Mens Bodyboard (18-29 years of age)
8 Senior Bodyboard (30 years and older)
4 Women Bodyboard (all ages)
4 Kneeboard (all ages)
8 Open Shortboard (all ages)
8 Open Longboard (all ages)
B. Specialty events and regional quotas shall include:
4 Kneeboard (open to all ages)
4 Drop Knee (open to all ages)
4 Launch (open to all ages)
4 Air (open to all ages)
1 Team Paddling (open to all ages)
Individual Paddling (open to all ages)
Optional Tag Team
Open Pro Men (any age)
Open Pro Junior (19 & under)
Open Pro Longboard (any age)
Open Pro Women (any age)
*Additional events may be proposed by the competition committee or competition director
C. All ages are determined as of January 1st of the year of the USSC
D. The number of competitors will be limited to the division quotas per region (see USSC Rule II. A/B for regional quotas). Any contestant arriving late for their heat may compete in the remainder of their heat, if there is an opening. If a contestant misses their 1st round heat, their name will be placed at the bottom of the alternate list. There will be no refunds of entry fees for missed heats. An alternate list will be kept by the USSC Contest Director and shall include the competitor’s name, division and rating. Alternates are individuals who are available, but did not receive a slot in their division at the slot meeting or prior to the start of the competition. Their refundable entry fee must be paid in full for their name to be placed on the alternate list. Beach entries are discouraged. Alternates should be ranked largest region to smallest, as well as, regional ranking on an individual basis.
E. USSF Competition Rules will be made available to all competitors by request.
III. EQUIPMENT (All boards are measured from end to end, using a straight edge)
A. In age division events, surfboards will not exceed 2 ft. longer than the competitor’s
height, except LEGENDS, which has no limit as to equipment used.
B. Longboards must be a minimum of 9 ft. in length, in Junior, Men, Master, Women,
and Senior divisions. Menehune division will be 3 ft. overhead.
C. Bodyboards shall not exceed 5 ft. in length.
D. Paddle boards are limited to surfboards only with a maximum length of 10 ft.
E. Additional equipment, such as leashes and helmets may be used.
F. Kneeboards are a maximum of 6 ft. in length and must be consistent with standard
acceptable equipment normally used.
IV. JUDGING AND SCORING
A. The subjective judging system will be used (0-10 points using .1 integrals) and there will
be an active judging panel of one head judge and five scoring judges. Each region is
entitled to provide personnel for the panel. Active judging panels should attempt to represent all four USSF regions, whenever possible, or a wide variety of districts or sponsors, etc. However, it is up to the Contest Director to approve all Judges. Judges shall have the opportunity for a break every five heats and it will be up to each region to provide personnel for these changes. Judges may judge as much as they like (subject to the contest directors approval) as long as they are consistent. Judges may not judge their own division, members of their family or close personal friends. See judges handbook and judges rotation.
B. When judging standup surfing, a ride will begin to be scored when a surfer’s hands leave the rails of their surfboard. When judging kneeboarding, judges will take into account that both knees must be on the board for the ride to qualify. When judging bodyboarding, there is no limitation as to body position on the board and the ride will be scored after the head judge designates bodyboarder has caught the wave and executed a maneuver.
B.1 When scoring air competition, competitors will be scored on completed AIRS only - (must land and ride out for 3 seconds). If an AIR is 90% completed (landing and fumbling recovery), the head judge may rule a score, but with a major deduction. The head judge will make a final ruling on judgment calls. Competitors will be scored on their top one or two AIRS depending on conditions, competitors best AIR will be scored double the points. The competition director or contest director will determine the number of AIR maneuvers to be scored before each event and this will be posted at the marshal area. If conditions change during the event the contest director in consultation with the head judge may change the number of maneuvers to score, however, no change is to occur in the middle of a round.
C. The judging criteria shall be:
THE CONTESTANT WHO EXECUTES THE MOST RADICAL
MANEUVERS GENERATING POWER AND SPEED THROUGH OUT IN A
FUNCTIONAL MANNER IN THE MOST CRITICAL SECTIONS OF THE BIGGEST AND/OR BEST WAVE FOR THE LONGEST FUNCTIONAL DISTANCE WILL RECEIVE THE HIGHEST SCORE.
Incomplete maneuvers will not be scored. The surfer must surf out of the maneuver for it to be deemed complete. The individual judge’s scores should be consistent with one another. If a judge is repeatedly inconsistent, he/she may be replaced.
Please refer to USSF Judges Handbook for detailed policy, instructions and guidelines for judging.
C.1 The judging criteria for AIR Division shall be:
THE SUFER WHO PERFORMS THE MOST COMMITTED RADICAL AIR IN THE MOST CRITICAL SECION OF A WAVE WITH HEIGHT, TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY AND CONTROL WILL MAXIMIZE THEIR SCORING POTENTIAL.
NOTE: CRITERIA RATING (SHALL BE BASED ON 2’ TO 3’ ABOVE THE LIP), ALL AIRS DEPEND ON HEIGHT, BIGGER THE AIR THE HIGHER THE SCORE, POINT RATING BELOW MAY VARY DEPENDING ON HEIGHT, COMMITTMEN AND CONTROL AS DETERMINED BY WAVE CONDITIONS.
C.2 FRONTSIDE AIRS
Type of Air Description Rating
Standard Air Ollie 2-5
Double Grab Both hands 2-5
Slob Air Back hand grabbing toe-side Rail 5-7
Alley Oop Off the lip of the wave 5-7
Lean Air Front hand grabbing heel-side rail 6-8
Stale Fish Back hand grabbing heel-side rail 7-9
Air 360 Full rotation in the air 7-9
Inverted Air 8-10
Type of Air Description Rating
Chop Hop Below the lip 1-2
Chop Hop Above the lip 2-4
Standard Air Ollie 2-5
Double Grab Both hands 2-5
Method Front hand grab toe-side rail 4-6
Indy Air Back hand grab toe-side rail 4-6
Mute Air Front hand grab toe-side rail 5-7
Various grabs Front/Back hand on toe-side rail 6-8
Air 360 Full rotation in the Air 7-9
Inverted Air/Rodeo 8-10
Note: All Air variations will be a judged depending on degree of difficulty
D. The HEAD JUDGE shall be responsible for:
•. Determining which riders and rides are to be scored
•. Determining wave possession
•. Maintaining an accurate wave count
•. Notifying judges of missed rides
•. Assisting judges in making accurate scores for the
All missed rides should be indicated by the letter “M” in the appropriate box to be determined by the head judge according to the individual’s scoring scale (interpolation). This should be done immediately or before the end of the heat, as time allows. Judges, who are consistently missing rides, may be replaced. In the absence of the Competition Director, one of the following will act in their place:
1st Designated Representative approved by the USSF
Competition Committee - Contest Director
2nd A Regional Competition Director
3rd A District Competition Director
4th Any Regional Official
Wave counts to be used for tabulation of results are 2,3, or 4 highest waves per heat. The Contest Director after consulation
with the head judge shall determine the number of high waves per heat to be tabulated. This information is to
be posted prior to the first heat and will remain in effect for the duration of the event unlessl otherwise posted.
Specifications (scored waves, max waves, and length of time) for all heats including finals are to be posted at
the contest site.
Upon receipt of the completed judges sheets at the end of each heat, the tabulators will immediately check to see if:
1. All judges sheets have been turned in.
2. The correct number of waves have been scored on
3. Identify interference calls, if any.
If a ride has been missed, an attempt will be made to identify the missing rides by referring to the other judges sheets. If the ride is identified to the satisfaction of the head judge, a score will be given the missed ride by: AVERAGING THE MISSED WAVE ACCORDING TO THE SCORING LEVEL THAT THE JUDGE IN QUESTION USES (INTERPOLATION).
NOTE: The head judge, along with a majority will determine the “official” wave count.
When the contest director is satisfied that the best attempt has been made to establish the correct value of the missed wave, the contest director will ensure that this value be written on the judge’s sheet. Upon completion of these formalities, the judge’s sheets may be totaled. The scoring waves shall be circled, totaled, and interference penalties deducted. The total shall be placed in the total column. The heat places are then calculated and entered on the judge’s sheet. The competitor with the highest score will receive one point, the second highest will receive two points and so on. If a judge ties two or more competitors, the points awarded to each of the tied competitors will be the average of the affected placing points added together. EXAMPLE: If 2nd, 3rd and 4th are Tied, add 2, 3, and 4 together and divide by 3 = 3 points for each tied competitor.
E.1 Air Division
To decide a winner, the top two AIRS on each judges sheet will be totaled (highest score will be doubled).
When no further calculations are required on the judge’s sheets, the results are transcribed on the tally sheet, which is completed in the following manner:
1. The competitor’s names are entered.
2. The judge’s names or identification numbers are entered.
3. Places are copied in a row next to each judge.
4. The high and low scores are crossed out for
5. Total the places that remain and enter.
6. The competitor who receives the lowest point
total in the final point column places 1st and so on.
If, at this point, a tie situation occurs, the tabulator will proceed to break the tie as follows:
1. Compare the relative position of the tied competitor’s
on the tabulator sheet using the plus/minus system.
If not broken, then see #2.
2. Tabulate the one or two (three for finals) highest waves on
the TIED judge’s sheet only.
3. Tabulate the highest wave (two for finals), and so on.
4. Go to the third, fourth, fifth, etc. until all waves are exhausted.
If the tie is not broken by these methods, go back to #2 and repeat for ALL judge’s sheets. Go to #3, #4, etc.
If the tie is still not broken by these methods, there will be a ten minute surf off (top 2 or 3 waves as decided in advance by head judge and competition director/contest director and notifying competitors prior to them entering the water for surf off) if one or more of the competitors could advance.
F. JUDGES MAJORITY OVERRIDE: If a heat’s final point totals would result in the elimination of a competitor favored by the majority of the judges in the heat, that competitor will advance in place of the competitor favored by the minority of the judges, regardless of point totals. The tabulator will indicate this situation by placing a circled M next to the point total column of the advancing competitor. NOTE: The competitor with the “largest” number
of advancing scores from judges will advance over a surfer with “less” of a majority. For
Example: If Surfer A has 3 judges advancing him but surfer B has 4 judges advancing then
Surfer B will advance over Surfer A.
G. Competitors may check the results for errors for each heat up to thirty minutes after those results are made public. If an error is found, the contest director should be notified in order to have the error corrected. Unless there is an unresolved protest, all results become final after the thirty minute time period. No advancing heat that involves surfers in question shall be surfed until protest period has been concluded. Once Competition Director or Contest Director has made a written response and additional 30 minute review period will be allowed, however, after which a final determination is made by Competition Director or Contest Director the results are final.
V. WAVE POSSESSION AND INTERFERENCE
It is the intent of this rule to encourage all competitors to strive toward situations where there is only one competitor at a time in the wave shoulder. The judges will strictly enforce this rule. Competitors are hereby alerted to the severity of the penalty and the strictness with which it will be enforced.
A. WAVE POSSESSION - A competitor may gain wave possession in one of the
1. By catching a wave and completing a maneuver (turn in chosen
direction) before the face of the wave reaches another competitor.
2. If two or more competitors are paddling in the face of the same
wave, in the same shoulder, the competitor closest to the curl
has possession upon catching the wave and completing a
3. Two competitors may go in opposite directions on the same peak,
providing they don’t cross paths or hinder one another.
4. If two competitors, at opposite ends of the contest area, catch the
same wave and ride toward each other, both gain wave possession.
If they eventually meet, the competitor who gained wave possession
first on their respective peak shall have the right of way.
B. INTERFERENCE - A competitor may be called for interference for any of the following
1. For catching the same wave in the shoulder as the competitor who
gains wave possession in RULE A 1.
2. For occupying any part of the wave that could simultaneously or eventually
be reached by any possible maneuver of the competitor who gains wave possession as per RULE A2. For breaking down the wave on the
competitor with wave possession or infringing on the possible length of
the ride of the competitor with wave possession.
3. In the case of RULES A3 and A4, both competitors may be called for
interference if no right of way has been established in the opinion of the
judges. Interference must be called on one or both competitors for cross
overs if there is a collision. If one competitor is clearly the aggressor in forcing
the cross over or collision, in the opinion of the judges, only he/she will
be penalized. All cross overs are discouraged in competitions. If there is no hindrance of scoring potential for either surfer as determined by majority of judges and there is no contact then interference may not be called.
4. THE HEAD JUDGE, along with the other judges, may rule interference
on any competitor for:
a. Blatantly paddling for a wave in a manner so as to intimidate
or hassle a competitor who is in position to gain wave possession.
b. Grabbing or touching any part of another competitor or their
equipment in a manner that impairs their ability to surf.
c. Paddling out in such a manner as to interfere with the ride of
the competitor with wave possession, whether intentional or not.
d. Board caddying is not allowed. This includes losing your board
and having someone retrieve it for you for the specific reason of
helping you in your heat. Saving boards from damage is allowed
so long as the board isn’t paddled, handed, carried or pushed to
1. If a judge thinks an interference has taken place, the judge shall triangle the
ride of the offending competitor and draw an arrow to the ride of the competitor
who was interfered with. In the case of a paddling interference, the triangle
shall be placed on the line between the appropriate rides for the offending
competitor and filled with P. I. (no ride/no score) and the arrow still drawn.
P.I. will receive at least a 2.5 deduction from their total score.
2. If any four of six judges, including the head judge, or 3 of 5 scoring judges
rule interference, the tabulators shall give the offending competitor a score
of 50% for the ride on each of the judge’s sheets and that score will count as
one of the rides tabulated for the offending competitor. It is the responsibility
of each competitor to keep track of their wave count. Officials, judges, and
other administrators are discouraged from assisting competitors, coaches,
friends, or any others in keeping track of individual’s wave counts.
3. Announce interference calls immediately.
a. All attempts should be made to consistently inform surfer
upon majority decision of interference calls.
b. Head judge informs Competition/Contest Director, then
notifies announcer of decision. Head judge may notify
announcer directly if Competition or Contest Director is
not readily available.
c. Announcer Verbiage: “Blue interference on White.”
VI. HEAT PREPARATION AND STRUCTURE
A. All contestants must report to the ready area 15 minutes prior to the start of their
heat to be checked in and receive their instructions. When possible, the competition
area will be defined by the use of flags, barriers, points, piers, jetty’s and/or buoys.
If, in the event a competitor does not check in by the 5 minute warning, they will be
replaced by the next highest ranked alternate. The “late” surfer goes to the bottom
of the alternate list in preliminary rounds.
B. All heats, except finals, will run 15 minutes. Finals will run 20 minutes except in 10
heat, man on man “monster maze” configuration where all 10 heats are finals and
all are to be 15 minutes each. Administration’s time clock will be deemed the “official
C. WATER STARTS - All heats will begin with the blast of the horn and/or the raising
of the green flag. The raising of the yellow flag will indicate the five minute warning.
At the five minute warning, the next heat of competitors may start paddling to the
designated standby area, being careful not to interfere with the heat in progress.
When the horn sounds ending the heat in progress, the standby heat may paddle into
the take off zone, but not catch any waves until the horn sounds starting their heat.
Surfers up before or after may be penalized (see RULE VI.D).
BEACH STARTS - All competitors in the “on deck” heat will gather at the waters
edge anytime between the five minute warning for the “heat in progress” (raising of the
yellow flag) and the start of their heat. The “heat in progress” will end with one horn
blast and/or the raising of the red flag or neutral (no flag shown). The “on deck” heat will begin with one horn blast and/or the raising of the green flag,
BUOY START - In the instance of exceptionally large surf or an extremely long or
difficult paddle to the line up, a buoy technique may be employed with the competitors
“on deck” using a marker buoy, located some distance from the line up, instead of the
water’s edge for a starting point for their heat. The flag, horn and timing system are
the same used in other types of starts.
All heats require competitors to paddle, ride prone, or on their knees, (WITH NO
MANEUVERS), to the beach when the signal is given that their heat has ended. All heats end with one horn blast and/or the raising of the red flag or neutral (no flag). In the event of danger or a problem, three or more horn blasts will sound and/or the red flag or neutral (no flag) will be raised. All competitors must leave the water immediately under this condition. If a competitor starts a scoreable ride after their heat ends, they must return to the non-scoreable position before the start of the next heat or risk being penalized. All jerseys are to be worn into the beach as they were used going out, and returned in a sportsmanlike manner by all competitors. All competitors must wear competition jersey to the beach marshall area. Any other action is to be considered an unsportsmanlike infraction and may cost competitor 2.5 points from his/her total score.
The Member Association will not be allowed to substitute no shows on the beach. They will revert back to contest to be allocated based on “ranked” alternate list.
Judging schedule will be posted each morning with heat schedule. Judges are responsible for filling their seats when they are assigned. If they are paid or designated judges, they shall be in the judging seat at the times they are scheduled for except that they will be excused for biological necessities and heats where their relatives are surfing or in heats where the outcome effects their competition. They should not judge divisions that they are or will be surfing later. Specifically, this means that if they are still competing or are going to the regional competitions or the USSC they should not judge the division they will be competing in. They will be responsible for putting a qualified judge in their seat for these heats. The judge may be selected from the list of qualified alternates and they can make their own arrangements to compensate these individuals. The judging coordinator, head judge and the competition director must be notified in advance, and in writing, or any and all changes or deviations from the original designated judging panel. Failure of any judge to fulfill his/her obligation will lead to immediate dismissal and forfeiture of any payment due. This would include, but not be limited to: tardiness, excessive low percentages, inability to score accurately, failure to consistently call interference calls, discussion outside panel of competitor’s scores, interference calls, quality of administration and performance of the event. If a district or organization has supplied the judge in question then they will lose their opportunity to be represented on the judging panel. Equal representation should always be done when possible. This means at a district contest you represent the members equally as to age and equipment, on a Regional or Championship level then you represent the members based on geographical and total membership percentages. Each judge will be required to submit a reference sheet, a letter of recommendation, and sign a contract with the competition director and/or judging coordinator (head judge). At a national championship level, the qualification of the judge panel is deemed more important than the member organization, or geographical location of a particular judge. Every effort must be made by the contest director to secure the best qualified judges. A judge shall be evaluated based on experience, consistency, geographic location, in this order.
D. Any competitor who starts surfing after the flag is presented starting the following heat,
the surfer will be penalized 2.5 points on all judge’s sheets if a majority of the judges or
the head judge individually calls it. Each wave surfed in a heat beyond the wave limit
will be penalized 2.5 points per infraction on all judge’s sheets.
E. Any competitors practicing in the competition area or demonstrating unsportsmanlike
conduct will be disqualified from the event. Unsportsmanlike conduct must be determined by any two officials; Competition Director, Contest Director, Judges, beach marshall, announcer, Regional Director or their District Competition Directors.
VII. OTHER EVENTS AND INSTRUCTIONS
A. PADDLE RACE - The contest director shall determine the distance and direction for the
individual and team paddle races. To start, all contestants must place their boards on
the beach with the nose of the board behind the line. To finish, all contestants must bring the tail of their boards across the line. Team paddle races shall consist of four people per team and each team shall exchange boards with each other, in relay fashion, behind the line.
B. IRON SURFER - To be eligible for the iron surfer award and individual must enter and
compete in a minimum of three individual events. Tag Team and Team Paddling do not
count toward the Iron Surfer award. All results will count toward total points. Surfers will accumulate points based on number of competitors in that division’s preliminary rounds. For Example: If a surfer places first in a division consisting of 48 surfers, then they will receive 48 points. If a sufer places second in a division with 16 surfers then they will be awarded 15 points, and so forth.
C. Regional points will be awarded to all finalists in each division, including
Paddle races. Point values will be equal to the number of entries in the division. (i.e.
first place in field of 36 would receive 36 points, second place 35 points, and so on).
Trophies will be awarded to first through fourth places in all divisions. Other awards
shall be Men and Women Iron Surfer. The most consistent amateur judge. In addition, a Junior and Senior sportsman trophy should be added to all competitions. It is encouraged to use four man heats when possible, allowing for better competitive conditions in the water, better judging, and better training for other higher level competitions.
VIII. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
A. Complaints and protests by competitors shall be in writing and handed to the USSF
Competition Director or contest director before action can be taken. All written protests will be handled by the USSF Competition Director and one of the following:
1st The HEAD JUDGE
2nd The USSC CONTEST DIRECTOR (who will also serve in
place of the USSF Competition Director, if necessary)
3rd ANY USSF OFFICIAL AND THEIR DECISION WILL BE FINAL
No heat that involves a competitor whose advancement is under
protest will take place prior to the resolution of the protest.
B. USSC ENTRY PROCEDURES
1. All individuals who are members in good standing of the United States Surfing Federation.
2. Slots in the USSC qualifier(s) will be offered: 1st - to the highest rated
member and so on until all slots in the event are exhausted or there is no
longer a member with a rating interested in entering the event.
4. Slots in the USSC main event are offered from the highest rated regional qualifier down, on a first come first serve basis until all slots are filled or there is no longer a qualified member interested in competing or the deadline has occurred.
5. All entries received from qualified competitors by the entry deadline will be
allowed entry into the USSC qualifier(s) or main event, so long as there are
open slots as to their competition rating.
6. Wild card or guaranteed slots will be offered to the returning Champions and the current US Team provided their are a member in good standing of their member association and surfed in at least 50% of their contest season.
C. Under exceptional conditions, a majority vote by the USSF competition committee or
their designated representative may make changes to any USSC competition rule. If
this occurs, public notification of these changes must be given to all affected members.
Updated June 2005