Thursday, September 15, 2011

Behind the Comp - Head Judge

This is the first in a series SurfWatch is presenting to highlight the different official positions at an SL surfing competition. SurfWatch hopes this information will show other surfers what's involved and picque their interest in becoming an official and also highlight the complexities of the functions. Special guest contributor, Lissa Pinion, writes on the position of Head Judge.

I'd had a taste of judging with Surf Jams but SLSA comps are way more structured than our Surf Jams were so I was a bit nervous when Sally LaSalle asked me to judge an SLSA comp. Up to that point, I had helped with Security and Marshalling. Sally assured me it was easy and fun and I would indeed survive. I got a crash course from Sally before the comp and since back then we still kept score on notecards, the only thing I had to focus on was what to look and score for. I followed Sally's advice and scoured the SLSA site for judging criteria and poured over the rule section.

First SLSA comp, I was with Sally and Valent1ne Apogee and nervous but excited! We stayed in group chat the whole time, and I learned so much from that first comp. I was hooked. After that I let them know to call me up and I'd be there. The rest of the comps of that season saw me working with Sally (did she even surf? hehe),Val, Ashleigh Dickens, and VW Sands. I learned so much from each person and loved that I had a front seat ticket and could see each ride clearly. Sally brought out the surf computer and HUD the next season, and I can say it was so nice not keeping track of all the notecards.

VW and I took the judging criteria from SLSA and applied it strongly to the Surf Jams as many riders were starting with SJ's and then going on to compete in SLSA comps, and I began training judges for SJ's using the same technique and experience I had had with Sally, Val, Ash and others.

I can't tell you the first comp I acted as Head Judge. I'm old, okay? But I can tell you I was surprised at the amount of work that went into getting the heats set and getting judges together, the amount of work period that goes into putting on a surf comp. I again used Sally's knowledge as well as the SLSA job description to guide me. For the Job Description of an Head Judge see:

Basically, Head Judge is the final say in comp day rulings, keeping track of the surf computer, hunting down judges, drawing heats, posting scores, and keeping contact with the Event Coordinators and other staff. It is a lot of responsibility but very rewarding as well. Judging has a bit of a reputation it seems of being very intimidating. Been there, done that. But once you do it, you get to see how much fun it can be as well. And thanks to the Surf computer HUDs, it's so easy. You get the best seat in the house, you get to work with the best folks and, although you are glued to your computer for the entire comp, you get that knowledge that comes with being a part of the behind the scenes action.  You appreciate more, I think, what goes into making a surf comp what it is. A great place for us to gather, surf, and support each other.


Kantbe Thursday said...

Lissa forgot to mention the 2nd most important part of the Judge's toolkit during a long comp:


Lissa Pinion said...

hahhahahaha omg yes!!

Anonymous said...

Is THAT what that is?!?! I been drinkin beer outta that! Dammit Liss!


Ashleigh Dickins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ashleigh Dickins said...

Personally I use this one:

With a plain ol' jug.