shred fest

Make friends with your judges rather than enemies.

I think that judging is one of the hardest things to do, especially in a sport where the

competitive circuit is still small and everybody knows everybody. Wakesurfing has

not been competitive long enough to have a large number of judges who are very

knowledgeable of the sport. Often the judges will have some form of a relationship

with at least one rider e.g. they ride together, have trained a competitor or own a

company that sponsors a competitor. Which makes it very easy to say that judges

have favorites, or criticize how a division was judged, but they are there because

they love the sport just as much as you and I. They spend hours sitting on the boats,

often in the hot sun while we get to surf, laugh, talk and relax on shore, able cool off

in the water when ever we like. Then when the event is over the judges still have to

work away to organize and review the scores.

We are lucky to have judges that take it seriously and are willing to spend hours on

the boat to help our sport progress. I think it is important to remember that they

are there to help the sport not hinter. They are always willing to talk to you and

help you progress. This is something I try to do at every competition. I like to talk

to them about my run and ask what they think I could do to improve it and the tricks

they would like to see in a women’s pro surf run. Not only does it help me become

a better rider by knowing what to go home and work, on it also builds a positive

relationship with the judges and helps me feel more comfortable while competing.

This weekend I was at Wake The Desert in Texas. While talking to one of the judges

after the event he expressed how much he likes that I take the time to talk to judges

at every competition. He said that he feels this something that is lacking within the

judging system and informed me that I was the only rider that has taken the time to

ask for constructive feedback from him.

So, at your next competition, try to talk to some of the judges. Keep it positive and

ask them what they feel you could do to help improve your run. You may learn a

little, or you may learn a lot but at the very least you will help build a relationship

and gain respect –EG

Photos: Mark Payne

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