ASP Judges Defend Controversial Call

| posted on May 23, 2011

**Originally published on**

Adriano de Souza, floating to an 8.23. Photo: ASP

BARRA DA TIJUCA, Rio de Janeiro/Brasil (Sunday, May 22, 2011) – Adriano de Souza (BRA), 24, is our current ASP World No. 1. The young Brazilian stormed past Michel Bourez (PYF), 25, Owen Wright (AUS), 21, Bede Durbidge (AUS), 28, and Taj Burrow (AUS), 32, en route to his second elite tour victory at the Billabong Rio Pro last Friday. The emotional win vaulted the De Souza into the lead in the hunt for the 2011 ASP World Title heading into the remainder of the season.

The final day was filled with a number of dramatic heats and finishes, perhaps none more so that the Quarterfinal match between De Souza and Wright. This Quarterfinal bout has become the central topic of subsequent discussion between media, fans and surfers, and the ASP International Judging Panel has been gracious enough to look back and provide their expert perspective on the heat:

First off, let’s review the current judging criteria from ASP International, specifically the part that discusses commitment and degree of difficulty:

Surfers must perform to the ASP Judging Key Concepts to maximize their scoring potential.

Judges analyze the following major concepts when scoring waves:
– Commitment and Degree of Difficulty
– Innovative and Progressive Maneuvers
– Combination of Major Maneuvers
– Variety of Maneuvers
– Speed, Power and Flow

It is important to note that the emphasis on certain concepts is contingent upon the location and the conditions on the day, as well as changes of conditions during the day.

Now, Adriano’s final wave was a lot bigger than what was shown online as the camera missed the bottom half of the wave – this makes any subsequent analysis of the heat nearly impossible when utilizing only the Heats on Demand version. When De Souza lands you can see the size of the whitewash behind him and the amount of distance that he covered during the floater, how critical the section was and how difficult it would have been to land would not have been entirely visible on the webcast, and is not representation in the Heats on Demand.

The part of the sandbar that De Souza executed the maneuver was waist-deep, hence the critical section. The waves on the final day were two-to-three-maneuver waves. The surfers could take the smaller ones that would run a bit further, but were a lot softer and easier waves to ride, or they could take the set waves which were a lot shorter but also a lot harder to ride. Owen’s rides in the Quarterfinal heat were on the smaller waves that offered more room but less punch. During the final day, many single-turn waves received scores that would not normally be that high, but as the waves only allowed for two-to-three turns, we had adjusted the scale. It’s important to note that there is nothing in the criteria that says surfers must complete multiple turns. We’re in the business of surfers going big and that’s what we’ve been seeing in the last 18 months.

The vision also fails to truly reflect the speed of the waves. The set waves flew down the bank while the smaller ones ran off a lot slower. The camera angle often failed to truly reflect the surfing being done at the time, as well as the depth of the wave, where the surfer took the wave in relation to the bank and how critical the sections are.

Our job as the judging panel is to score the surfers that are pushing the criteria to the limit. Both of Owen’s airs were good maneuvers (they are also the bread and butter for nearly every surfer on tour these), but executed on the easy sections of the waves. Where as Adriano’s floater was done on such a critical part of the wave. I would probably add that if Owen’s first turns on both scoring waves were bigger or more critical, then both waves would have been scored higher.

I pose the question, would you, as a fan of top-level surfing, prefer the surfers to do a good turn on a small easy wave or a good turn on a wave that is going flat-out with a heaving, unforgiving closeout section?

It was absolutely a close heat, but we have close heats every day as we are dealing with the best surfers in the world.

Full disclosure: the ASP International Media Department is looking into improving the current Heats on Demand (HOD) product that the events currently provide. The current Heats on Demand product consistently mis-tags waves with incorrect scores, fails to show completed rides and to provide an accurate representation of what is actually occurring during the event. We appreciate the feedback from our fans and are looking into remedying the issue as soon as possible.—ASP

  • tillish

    or in other word(s): Bulls§%&t!

  • JD

    Very long explanation however the waves were still head high or less and you do floaters to avoid the crtitical part of a wave. The landing did look difficult however an 8+ score still seems way too high. I wouldn’t focus on this one heat…it seemed like scores were all over the board on Finals day and a lot of them didn’t make sense. I even questioned Jordy’s loss.

  • Paul

    ASP judges made the right call. In the end of the day small waves remain small waves.

    Easy surf should never beat commitment surf.

  • Dude

    If you have to come out explaining your call then you screwed up!

  • Derek

    Agree with the judges.

  • Aaron

    Owen Wright definitely won that heat, there is no doubt about that.

  • dave

    so, the judges are trying to say that even though owen did innovative moves, everyone can do them so he shouldnt get rewarded? floaters were the move of the 80’s. anyone can take off on a closeout and right the top of a wave. people got rewarded all event at the nike 6.0 lowers contest for air reverses. 8-9s all event. so throwing up a huge air isnt commited these days? kelly slater can surf small waves and get 9s. but no one else can? this contest was set up for the BRAZI to win. booooo judges.

  • Dean

    one big move is fine, but this was a floater, a floater should never, ever score over a 6 in itself. this was the worse call I have ever seen. owen got robbed.

  • Marc

    – Commitment and Degree of Difficulty * Owen. Anyone can do a floater.
    – Innovative and Progressive Maneuvers * Owen. 80’s moves are not progressive.
    – Combination of Major Maneuvers * Owen had a combo and the only Major Move.
    – Variety of Maneuvers * Owen. One old floater is not variety.
    – Speed, Power and Flow * Push or maybe egde to Adriano for speed and power.

    • David

      Thanks Marc – you nail this perfectly…judges read up on this critique!

  • shorepound

    Gabe got robbed too. Total bs.

  • Marc

    Rio was a mistake from the begining. I usually watch the webcasts but tuned that one out as I can see better surf at home. The Adriano vs Owen heat was not the only questionable one. There were many. In the judges defense the waves were horrible and if they would of handed out 3’s all day they may have got some heat.
    Where is Dane when we need him. Yank this event or ruin The Tour.

    • Juice Man

      Shut up, you are probably a low life kid with a negative mind. The brazilians are busting down the doors this year. Trstles, Couto big wave, and now Adriano. Ship up and suck

    • Jay

      Dane is probably chilling in Ventura or Mex driking some coronas. Rio was a mistake. Why? Do you think brands rather sponsor a contest in Nias or Rio. They want to have return from sponsoring surfers on boat trips in indo and making movies. That’s where they make money, pro surfers should raise their hands in coming to Rio, not to Score perfect surf but for the return to their sponsors. Rio ia where the money is right now.

  • Glenn

    The problem as I see it is not with the judging, but rather with low quality waves (lack of form, inconsistency and poor conditions) with the notable exception of the Bells. This is supposed to be the elite circuit. If the wave were of quality caliber, then we could see what each surfer is capable of and not how lucky they may or not be.

  • Brazil Charge

    congratulations Mineiro (de Souza) for your incredebal victory…..some people will say that was robbed…. because they can’t see a brazilian winning,,,, but, as i sad first…. the brazilian charge arrived to least for the next years…….i m a ruge Reynolds fan, but we have to be honest to recognize their suf… go Mineiro , Jadson and Alejo………

  • Márcio Arjones

    Ok, ok… Let’s think a little on the hole contest: didn’t Joel (who made an inapropriate comment on twitter) get scores on excelent range by doing floaters? How about the Spartan? Didn’t this maneuver played a major role in some sections of Bell’s contest?

    So, I think the problem is this: none of you guys can cope with the up and comming brazilian surfing. Those athlets aren’t “support actors” anymore. They can beat aussies and americans fair and square too, like Adriano did at Gold Coast event against Taj Burrow. Even the event’s heats on demand tried to hide the fact that Adriano actually won that heat. But, what do you have to say about that? So, the problem is not that heat or the criteria. The problem is to have a aussie been beaten by a “brazzo”. This is lame.

    The difference is you guys can do lots of noise on twitter and facebook and, unfortunatelly, ASP must answer those whips and complains. Sad.

    One more thing: we are a third world country (an up and rising economy – do you know what does BRIC mean? We didn’t suffer with the last 2008 crisis. How about you guys in Australia and USA?) But we never, ever, will do no harm to a judge o athlet for a heat result. Ever. This nonsense you guys are talking (judges afraid, money in the judges pockets, etc.) are disrespectfull. We will be the next Soccer World Cup AND Olimpic Games (2014/2016) and we are ready to rock and roll with pride and joy.

    And last, but not least: Jadson won a contest last year. Owen made more points and finished better on rankings. Wich one was more impressive? Funny question, because I can bet that Owen would give up the title of “rookie of the year” to be able to win a contest in front of his home crowd. So, again, wich result is more impressive? To win a contest in your rookie year or be “consistent”?

    So many questions…

    Peace and have fun surfing.

  • Marcel Ferreira

    You guys are feeling like your boys are roddeed!? Well all I can said is, wellcome to the club. Brazilians know it since the begning of competitive surf. We don’t need go far on the past: what was the lose of Alejo to Jordy Smith on the gold coast? That was a robery. We have to acept that surf is not like basketball or soccer, wich who score more win, here we depend of the judges thinking. You won some and you lose some.

  • David

    Forget all the arguing over Adriano’s 8.23

    His 6. ride was over scored…weak turns, just like his weak turns in the final against Taj.

    Adriano – still over hyped claimer who is unproven…doesn’t take a professional surfer to see this…

  • WS

    What a load of horseshit. Having to explain your call proves how bad you f-cked it in the first place. Shame, shame, shame on you ASP…..I sincerely hope The Rebel Tour becomes a reality and the sponsors shift their funds to where it’s deserved.

    • Juice Man

      wins robbed, this is master card, priceless to see so many kooks complaining

  • adam

    Can we all agree that Brazil sucks? (But we’ll take your women).

    • Ricardo

      Mr.Adam, I’m sure you never left your backyard …

  • Roger

    $$$$$$$$$$$$. put the money, choose the winner. That’s what we brazilians have seen for years. Welcome to the other side. I believe australians are still the best surfers by far. But on those waves!!! What difference does it make? Life is short. Let’s go surfing. Too much racism in these comments.

  • Juice Man

    ASP rocks, just a few kooks from oz are trying show up as nobody give them attention anywhere else.

  • Sir

    Alejo was ripped off in gold coast against jordy, so what? it happens… subjective stuff…

  • jefferson

    yo adam, bet you ‘re a redneck. am I right? long live USA, war, and you respectfull international politics. Ozzies, you guys can surf, but u don’t have 1/10 of brazilian will and commitment. Powersurf should be equal brazilian surf. Big riders have all started at the same time. I do respect Dorian a lot, but sorry, Danilo Couto, Eraldo Gueiros, man, brazil rocks. Yeah our waves are not thaaaat good, we do need to travel a lot more to get sick waves, but as we can see our rookies are improving and we’re always on the top 10 list. It is hard to accept change. But time brings change, and as the surf wolrd can see, brazzos are here to stay.

    should I even mention girls??

  • Pete

    Definitely agree with the judges on this one. They made the right call. Judges: just keep doing what you are doing and don’t worry about the whiners. You are doing a good job.

  • professor biggums

    Most people hurt themselves landing a floater like that. Owen played it safe….

  • Dewey

    The ASP has no comprehensive training program for their judges, nor any ongoing training once a judge is selected. All other professional sports that use officials do.

  • jethro

    I’m a redneck southern boy and I gol dang gotta say that there stumpy lil brazillion boy opened a can a whoop ass on that whiney kangaroo ridin ozzy boy and the rest of dem wussy surfer whippersnappers. reckon he’ll be flossin with quite few a dem strings them gals wear up thar cracks. atta boy stumpy, smak one fer me will ya!

  • wills

    get barreled

  • HB ripper

    I’m like so upset dude like I am going to sit on the tracks until the Surfliner smashes me if the judges don’t change their mind. I’m really really mad, and I am going to post all over my Facekook page too. So Cal rules bro.

  • HB ripper

    I just pulled off the hugest floater!!!
    I’m not even going to flush it!!

  • Jacob

    Adriano, Alejo, Medina, there are heaps of good Brazilian surfers in the mix. But this contest was a joke. Both in terms of wave quality and judging.

    Whats the point of bringing in new judges to revolutionize surfing if they somehow get stuck in a timewarp and go back to the eighties when floaters were considered progressive? Owen won that heat without question. The ASP should be ashamed of this contest.

  • PV

    So exactly BS! …..Shouldnt have made it even close to making it through that heat… another reason brazilians are crooked…

  • sam Larson

    Owen went for the waves that allowed him to display flow, variety, innovation and combination. Owen can do massive and critical floaters i.e.
    Adriano beat him in ONE out of FIVE pieces of criteria. How does he get the nod then? The scores were all over the place all event and highly influenced by the location. The judging format should be double blind, meaning that they should not know who the specific surfer is that they are scoring, that way prejudices would be minimized.

  • johnyy

    seems that this is NO DREAM TOUR. Hopefully they will get some GOOD waves this year? Surfing is all subjective anyway hard to really judge on small CRAPPY waves.

  • andy burke

    thw whole tour is gonna fuckin die on its arse,boring shit if ya ask me,taj,the coolie boys,knox ,slater,wright,jordy,and a few others should abandon ship now.good on ya de souza but lawn bowls with a beer in hand is as exciting as watching billabongs overhyped shit.

  • Yama

    I love surf, for me humanity are not perfect, god is only perfect. and this is not a first time to happen in history of the WT. thak you God, valeu Adriano, vc foi o melhor sim brother, se concentra pois é possivel sim!!! boa sorte galera, raça…. avante Brasil

  • http://website dee jay

    I am from Brazil and I think Adriano lost that heat!!! The ct sucked big time!! They should take it back to Santa Catarina !!! better waves!!

  • Roy

    I dont understand why so much talking about quarters.

    In the end the best surfer (Adriano) made the heat.

  • eastcoaster

    yes. new brazzers are blowing up. no. adriano did not win that contest. more money if the title stays in brazil….more money for brazilian surfing culture. more money for brazilian surfing brands. more money for asp surfing when they return. im pissed so they win cuz i’ll watch again next year. think about it…jadson same move over and over and over and over and over and over last year. slater shoulda won that one. their keeping the title brazzer if the waves suck. however..if it pumps…..seppos or aussies will win for sure because there wont be any brazzzzzzers anywhere close to the final. been to rio. waves are crap. i just hope i dont have any kids down there…..

  • to eastcoaster

    Don’t worry mate.
    Brazilian chicks(the real ones, not the trannys and sluts you pick of the favelas) dont like “gringos”, period. Thats a fact.

    They don’t like men without what they call “Pegada” and you guys simple dont have this.
    Im not saying you are lame, just stating that this is a typical cultural thing. You got have latin blood to understand. You know that Latin Lover shit? It turns out to be real.
    That why we are so safe around woman, including your country females.

    *By latin blood I mean descendents of the Latin Culture(France, Italy, Portugal, Spain).


    So just chill, you probably fucked a tranny and they dont get pregnant.

  • Kate Krantz

    Owen Wright did a lot more difficult maneuvers.

  • nicc p

    so basically we were all correct in the assumption that they threw out the entire set of criteria and singled out the ‘commitment’ element (1/2 of one criteria out of 5) to result in an 8.23…maybe instead of staunchly defending a ruling that absolutely nobody agrees with the judges should learn from their mistakes and not reward surfers for floaters on closeouts. plus the judging all event was whack for the same reasons as this heat and we saw pros taking big closeouts instead of medium ones with room to operate.

  • tubeguru23


  • boo hoo

    sad to see the tour run in slop again, forget all the comments and winging it feels like the 90’s and we back to where ever the money is. Surf companies make enough money and profit from there indonesian and chinese made products that they can afford to branch out and go to waves where we know the best surfer on the day will win. Adriano lost that heat, im an aussie and from the goldy and sick of barzilains, but adriano rips tough he lost that heat, a floater is a floater big, small get over it. taj was the man on fire ……..

  • Glenn

    andy bruke has it right. That was some boring shit to watch.

  • Bruno

    Cry Aussies cry !!! What’s done is done and get use to it! Brazillll!

  • alexandre

    don’t cry like children. Learn to lose. Yours will lose others to Brazilians. No to racism.

  • Roger

    After Medina this discussion is over

  • Diogo

    I am a brazilian. I think Owen won that heat… but that was a close one. Also think that ASP should never bring this comp back to Rio due to rare quality waves here.In my opinion people shold stop exchanging offenses and keep on appreciating what we like most, surfing. Adriano should claim less since it seems to upset so many people including judges, the guy is probably the most focused and passionate surfer on tour ( save very few, Fanning, Jadson..) and really fights for his victorys…, he was born in a very poor enviroment and it is so important fo his life, people just dont see it.
    I truly believe that the Judges didnt rob no one all event, but, historically, mistakes happens in surfing scores…and historically brazzos have been ripped off consistently, its just funny now hearing aussies and americans complaning…I clearly remember the time when a brazzo had not just to win a heat but win for a mile otherwise the victory would be given to the otherside.
    Ps. Parko seems to be a real moron after his comment on twitter, so innapropriate on his position…