There are two main rules at this contest.  Violating either rule could get your top wave thrown out, you could be DQ’d, or you could be asked to never come back to the contest.  They are:

Don’t do things that are going to cause harm to yourself or others.

Don’t be a jerk.

There are several things that go into this.  First, be prepared, know your skills and limits.   Davenport is an awesome wave, but it’s a pretty harsh spot.   If you are in a kayak, you must have an extremely reliable roll.   Swimming at Davenport is risky, we’ve had close class at previous contests.  And when others are put in a position where they are trying to rescue you, it’s increases their risk of getting hurt.  Don’t swim.  If you do swim, be dressed appropriately for COLD water  and physically fit enough to swim aggressively for an extended period in big surf. The judges and organizers have the right to pull anyone from the contest if they demonstrate that they do not have the skills needed to be out there safely.

If you show up, and the surf looks too big or scary, for you, don’t go out.   I promise, our meager prizes are not worth getting hurt over.   All competitors must wear helmets.  All kayakers must wear PFD’s. SUPs must use a sturdy leash.   Waveskis must use either a leash, or wear a PFD.   The idea is that even in a severe wipeout, you are attached to something that floats.  All equipment should be in good repair, and kayaks are required to have securely fastened float bags.


  • All competitors must wear a helmet
  • All competitors must be firmly attached to a floating object. 
  • Don’t surf in the contest site during heats, unless you are in the heat.
  • If a fellow competitor is in danger, consider the heat on hold until they are in a safe place.  Waves will not be scored, so you might as well help out if you can.
  • Interference calls ruin your scores.  Don’t get one.
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct will not be tolerated.
  • Have a super cool time.

Interference Explanation

To determine interference, the judges first decide which surfer has the right of way as a situation arises. The judges then determine whether the surfer with the Right of Way has been possibly hindered in his scoring potential. The key word in these criteria is “possibly.” If the judge has to consider whether or not they have hindered the other surfer, then they have possibly hindered the scoring potential of the Right of Way surfer, so the interference must be called.

What Judges Consider

A. Which surfer has the Right of Way? At the take off point, the inside surfer always has unconditional Right of Way.
B. Was there interference or not? Did the surfer with unconditional Right of Way have his scoring potential possibly hindered?
C. What rule in the book reflects to the infringement? Drop-in, snaking, paddling, breaking down a section, or excessive hassling?

The Interference Rule is:

The surfer deemed to have the inside position for a wave, has unconditional right of way for the entire duration of that ride. Interference will be called if during that ride, a majority of judges feel that a fellow competitor has possibly hindered the scoring potential of that surfer deemed to have the Right of Way for the wave.

Anyone who surfs in front of a surfer with the Right of Way has the chance to kick out of the wave without being called for interference, unless he/she hinders the scoring potential of the surfer with the Right of Way by any means including excessive hassling, hindering progress, or breaking down a section.

A. Point Break (Single Direction Wave) – The inside surfer has unconditional Right of Way for the duration of that wave.

B. Single Peak (Left & Right Breaking Wave) – The surfer considered to have the inside position at the initial point of take off has unconditional Right of Way in the direction he chooses by making an obvious turn. A second surfer may surf in the opposite direction.

C. Beach Break (Multiple Random Peaks) – Two separate peaks that eventually meet then both surfers are required to kick out of the wave or straighten out to avoid collision.
o If they both give way by cutting back or kicking out, so that neither is hindered, there will be no penalty.
o If they cross paths, collide or hinder one another, the judges may penalize the surfer who has been the aggressor at the point of contact, or may penalize both surfers.
o If neither surfer gives way, by cutting back or kicking out, and both share responsibility for the confrontation, then a double interference will be called.

Paddling Interference

Paddling interference may be called if:

A. The offending surfer makes contact with, or forces the inside surfer to change his line while paddling to catch the wave causing possible loss of scoring potential.

B. The offending surfer obviously causes a section to break down in front of the inside surfer, which would not normally have happened causing loss of scoring potential.

C. When a surfer is put in a position while paddling out that he cannot get out of the way and a collision happens due to this, it is up to a majority of judges to call interference based on whether it is felt to be accidental or not.

Note: If two or more paddlers collide there must have been either dangerous surfing or poor judgment from at least one of the paddlers involved. If one of the paddlers is not at fault for the collision, then both/all the paddlers must have an interference called against them. This is to enforce safety as a prime directive of the sport.


The surfer who is farthest inside at the initial take off point is entitled to that wave for the duration of his ride. However, if a surfer takes off on the white water behind the first surfer, he will be penalized if the surfer taking off at the peak is forced to pull out and loses the wave. (Note, this does not prevent behind-the-peak takeoffs started in green water).
The Right of Way rule says that the surfer who is farthest inside at the initial take off point is entitled to that wave for the duration of his ride. Judges expect that there will be jockeying for position on some waves. However, paddling in front of, around, or behind a competitor who has inside position and is about to take off on a wave, in order to impede the competitor and take possession of a wave, is considered to be snaking, and will result in an interference call.

Judging Criteria

A surfer must execute the most radical controlled maneuvers in the critical section of a wave with speed and power throughout. The surfer who executes such maneuvers on the biggest and/or best waves shall be deemed the winner.A. Radical Controlled Maneuvers
Judges expect to see changes of direction of the boat on the wave. Such maneuvers would include bottom turns, re-entries, cutbacks, floaters, aerials, tube rides, top turns, late take-offs, trimming and stalling, etc. How radical they are, followed by the amount of control and commitment put into each of them, will determine how high they will score. In particular, judges are looking for the bigger, more radical, maneuvers, with ‘rail to rail’ surfing, rather than single rail surfing.
It is important to note, a surfer has to complete a maneuver for it to be scored. It will not score well if they lose control or are not able to continue on the wave.B. Most Critical Section
Higher scores occur if the surfer stays in the critical section of the wave, the “pocket” closest to the curl. The degree of commitment and the risk involved in performing close to the curl is the reason that it scores higher.

C. The Biggest and/or Best Waves
Wave selection is a critical factor for a surfer in their heat. The waves selected will dictate the maneuvers they are able to perform. There is less emphasis put on wave size in small to medium conditions due to the fact that the best waves may not necessarily be the biggest. However, in a contest with big wave conditions, a large part of the criteria would be the size. A surfer should be prepared to demonstrate the greatest commitment to the critical part of the wave. A surfer does not automatically score high because of wave size or quality. What the surfer does with the wave is a more important criteria.