For its 2019 events Relik is introducing a first-of-its-kind competitive criteria that, rather than simply assigning points to an inventory of separate maneuvers, establishes a standard of performance based on a unified aesthetic that we feel distinguishes longboarding from all other forms of surfing. The surfer whose performance best reflects the criteria will understandably receive the highest scores. The criteria can be broken down into clearly defined categories:
Timing: The ability to ride the entire wave without running ahead nor falling behind the curl, but with the proper application of turns, stalls and cutbacks moving smoothly in and out of the pocket.
Tempo: Matching the speed of the board to the speed of the wave and carrying that speed throughout a series of integrated maneuvers.
Trim: Maintaining optimum speed throughout the ride, through all sections of the wave, without the hopping or pumping associated with short board surfing.
Cross-stepping best facilitates weight shifts up and down the board and when compared to the dreaded shuffle is much more aesthetically pleasing. Our judges will also be looking for how effectively that footwork is applied throughout turns, trimming and especially when the surfer is moving to the nose.
Points will be scored for powerful turns—off the bottom, off the top, cutting back—so long as these maneuvers are informed by every other category on this list. This goes for surfers riding any type of nine-plus surfboard, regardless of the number of its fins.
Nose rides should always be done in the most critical part of the wave. Meaning in the curl, not out on the shoulder. And Relik events are not nose riding contests: simply accumulating tip time for tip time’s sake doesn’t rate high on our judge’s sheets. A high-scoring nose ride is always integrated into the surfer’s repertoire, just one of a variety of moves that reflect total utilization of the wave.
A surfer who appears to be fighting for balance, with arms rigid or flailing, is generally not in the flow of things. On-edge turns are good. High-risk nose rides are good. Rollercoasters over the foam are good. Speed trim from behind sections is good. Figure-eight cutbacks are good. Looking like doing any of these things is hard is bad.
The mark of a master surfer is the ability to dynamically express their expertise from takeoff to kick-out. This is why Relik judges will always score a ride in its entirety, with excellent scores being earned by those surfers who most effectively apply all the performance elements detailed in this criteria, not with one particular maneuver or peak moment, but with a display of exceptional surfing throughout the entire length of the ride.
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