Guide to Professional Surfing
What You Need to Know
- Professional surfing is a multi-billion pound business, with major events held between March and December
- The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) is the world's main body and is home to big stars such as Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning
- Highlights of the ASP calendar include the Quicksilver Pro and the Rip Curl Pro, both of which kick the season off in March in Australia
- The season ends with the prestigious Billabong Pipe Masters in Hawaii, arguably the biggest surfing event on the planet
- Surfers are given scores of between 0.1 and 10.0 depending on how well they ride a wave and how complicated the tricks they perform are
- All ASP competitors are required to follow strict rules in the water, including not interfering in their rivals' rides
- Surfing is excellent for sports betting, especially around major events when online bookmakers in particular offer a great variety of betting markets and odds
History of Surfing
Surfing dates back hundreds of years, with the sport's origins in the Pacific Islands where the native people would ride waves on simple boards for recreation.
At the start of the 20th century, the sport was embraced by young men in California and then Hawaii, with the boards used redesigned to resemble those used today and regular exhibitions held for curious tourists. Over the decades the sport became increasingly popular. True 'surf culture' was born in the 50s and 60 and surfing soon became a professional sport, enjoyed by millions round around the world, but with a particularly strong following in Australia, South Africa, North America and certain parts of Europe.
Professional Surfing Today
These days, surfing is a multi-billion pound industry, and the sport is overseen by the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP). The governing body was set up as a means of bringing together the world's best surfers. Since 1984, it has sanctioned numerous events right around the world and organises several major competitions, including the ASP World Tour, the ASP Women's World Tour and the ASP World Longboard Tour.
Much of the action from the biggest events on the surfing calendar is broadcast around the world and a massive sports betting industry has grown out of professional surfing. What's more, ASP events attract huge crowds to some of the best surfing spots on the planet.
The professional surfing season runs from March through to the end of August and features 11 events held in various locations right around the world. Some of the events that make up the ASP World Tour have achieved legendary status, especially among the global surfing community. Highlights of the ASP season include:
- The Quicksilver Pro: This is held in Queensland, Australia each March. Over recent years, Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning and Taj Burrow have dominated the competition.
- Rip Curl Pro: Also held in Australia at the end of March, here leading surfers compete for the prestigious Bell Trophy. Australian and American surfers have a long history of winning the event.
- Billabong Pro Teahuppo: A true highlight of the surfers' year, this event is head in Tahiti and is famous for its dangerous big waves. Since 1999, a handful of surfers have died while competing for the trophy.
- Billabong Pipe Masters: Capping off the season, the Pipeline Masters is held in Oahu, Hawaii each December, with only the top 45 ASP surfers and 16 qualifiers invited to take part. As well as the big waves, the event is also famous for the size of the cash prize on offer to the winner.
Scoring Professional Events
In professional surfing, competitors are given a score of between 0.1 and 10.0 for individual heats. As a rule, any score under 3.9 is given for a performance that is judged to have been 'poor'. Anything between 4.0 and 5.9 is given for an 'average' performance. Scores between 6.0 and 7.9 are for performances ranked as 'good' and anything over that is for an 'excellent' performance out on the waves.
Scores are given based on a number of criteria. In ASP events, surfers are judged on the following elements:
- The degree of difficulty of their ride
- The innovativeness and progressiveness of the manoeuvres shown riding a wave
- The variety of the moves used on the waves
- The speed, power and flow of the wave ridden
Of course, conditions may vary not just from day to day but during individual days. This should be taken into account when the judges grade individual surfers and all ASP events are required to have a head judge who can overrule any inconsistencies or correct any scoring errors.
Rules and Regulations
There are a number of rules surfers need to obey when they are in the water for a professional competition. Breaking these rules can caused a surfer to be docked points or even disqualified from a heat. Some of the main rules to be followed include:
- The surfer who is closest to the exact point where a wave is breaking has right of way. Any other competitor who tries to take off in front of this surfer is guilty of interference and can be penalised.
- No surfer is allowed to catch more than their maximum amount of waves in a single competition. This limit will vary between events, though the competitors will always be made aware of it. Failing to stick to the limit can lead to big penalties.
- If two or more competitors are on the same multi-peaked wave, then the one who stood up first has right of way in the water and the others must not interfere in their ride.
- If a surfer interferes with their rivals' rides more than twice in a single heat, they are disqualified from that heat and must leave the water.
Betting on Surfing
Professional surfing is big business and betting on ASP events is massively popular right around the world. To get the best odds, you should go online and sign up to one or more sports betting sites. You will then be able to enjoy the best range of betting markets during major events.
- Find out more about the world of professional surfing and follow the latest news on the ASP website
- To get involved yourself, check out the website of Surfing Great Britain