Country Energy Australian Surf Festival

australia's surfing coast

from eden to bondi, to byron bay & beyond

Guide to surf events

Guide to surf events - // Australia's surfing coast //

All of the world's best surfers have started out at grass roots events.

Here's a beginners guide to what happens at a surf event, how surfers are scored and tips to spot the best on show.


How are surf events organised?


Surf events are a platform for surfers of all ages, gender and levels of ability to compete against each other. Events are organised at local boardrider club level through to regional, state, national and international levels.

How to spot a competition surfer?


Competing surfers can be identified by the competition vest they will be wearing. The vests are usually red, white, yellow or blue in colour.

How are surfers scored?


Judges score the competitors on a number of factors including degree of difficulty, variety of manoeuvres, speed and power. A surfer must perform a number of radical, controlled manoeuvres to score highly.

What is the highest score possible?


The highest possible score per heat is 10. The total for the competition is determined by adding the two highest scoring heats together to arrive at a total out of 20.

How long is a heat?


Each heat is between 20-35 minutes in duration. Surfers are permitted to catch a maximum of 15 waves per heat.

Surfers progress through each heat by a process of elimination where half the field is knocked out of the competition, in each heat, until the final where there are only two surfers (or four) remaining.


How to spot the best surfers?


Listen out for the announcements giving updates on who is surfing and how well they have performed. Waves are judged out of a possible 10 points, with 20 being the highest possible heat score.

What do the surfers win?


It depends on what level of competition the event is but the prize ranges from a trophy at local boardriders club level to cash prizes worth thousands of dollars for national and international events.