Surfing returns to the Olympics at the 2024 Paris Games. Read on to learn about how athletes are scored during competition.

How do you score points in Olympic surfing?

Each wave that a surfer rides is evaluated by a panel of five judges on a scale of 0.1 to 10.0. The highest and lowest of the five scores are discarded. The surfer’s score is the average of the three remaining marks. Each surfer’s two best scoring waves are added together to determine their heat total (out of a possible 20 points).

The surfer with the highest score in each heat is the winner of that heat. Scores do not carry over to the next round of competition.

What is the highest score you can get in Olympic surfing?

For an individual wave, the highest score that a surfer could possibly get is 10.0. Within each heat, the highest score that a surfer could get is 20.0 since each heat uses the surfer's two best waves to calculate their total score.

How do judges determine scores in Olympic surfing?

Judges will evaluate each wave using a variety of criteria: degree of difficulty; innovative maneuvers; combination of maneuvers; variety of maneuvers; and speed, power and flow. Certain elements may be emphasized more than others based on the location and conditions that day.

Judges use the following scale as a basis for scoring each wave:

  • 0.1 – 1.9: Poor
  • 2.0 – 3.9: Fair
  • 4.0 – 5.9: Average
  • 6.0 – 7.9: Good
  • 8.0 – 10.0: Excellent

How are ties broken in Olympic surfing?

If two or more surfers are tied at the end of a heat, ties will be broken as follows:

  1. Highest single wave score during the heat
  2. Highest total of three wave scores during the heat (then four waves, five waves, etc.)
  3. The scores will be re-tabulated using all five judges’ scores (instead of just the middle three) 

If a tie cannot be broken using the above criteria, a re-surf involving the tied surfers will be held.