New Member Orientation

For anyone who has just recently signed up as a Southender or for you anxious parents not quite sure how the competition day works, we’re hoping that the following brief overview will help. If you want the full details check out the rulebook

The general Comp timeline

Obviously every comp day is different based on the conditions, the number of people surfing and the amount of light we have, but below is a basic overview of a typical comp day

6am-6:30am > Choosing the bank

The committee and a few of the club faithful meet (usually up on the grass at South Maroubra surf club) to assess what sort of swell and winds Huey has dished up for us.The day before and at this stage, we’ll consult with the lifeguards about the best bank to choose for the day and if there is enough swell then the comp is on.

6:30am > There’s no waves – so is the comp on or off??

If there aren’t enough waves to hold the comp for ANY of the divisions (i.e. Maroubra is more or less like a lake), then the comp is cancelled and we all go back to bed. It may sometimes be the case that there are a few very small waves which are fine for the Micro and possibly Cadet divisions, so in that case the comp is still on for those divisions but not the others. If the surf is massive and the beach is closed then we definitely can’t surf the young kids. How the heck do I find out what the call is??

  • If you are keen and are already down there to help us unpack the trailer and set up the tents – then you’ll be there when the call is made; if however you’re running a little late…
  • the call will be posted on Instagram (follow southendboardriders)
  • the call will be posted on Facebook (

6:30am > Help un-pack the trailer and set up the tents and tables

We have made sure to purchase tents and tables that do not bite, so don’t be scared to jump in and help the guys get them set up.

When am I surfing?

On the Friday night before the comp, keep an eye on to see the heat draw and when you will be surfing. Once at the beach on comp day, find the tents somewhere on the beach – could be anywhere on the sand right down in the bowl at southend or up near stormy at northend or on the grass near the skate-park or at Maroubra SLSC.

7:30am > First heat is in the water and the comp starts

At this stage of the morning you will see a bunch of us all running around like mad trying to get stuff sorted and trying to look like we know what’s going on. The good news is that you’re more than welcome to help! There are heats that need to be judged, coffee to be purchased, bacon and eggs that need cooking, tents to tie down and frothing grommets that need subduing.

9am – 11am > usually when Micro Grommets gather and surf with Let’s Go Surfing coaches

We have this slightly later time to try to accommodate surfing parents, the younger girls who do netball on Saturdays and all of the parents who have trouble getting the kids out of bed and away from Tik Tok. Often the Micros will be timed to surf close to the low tide on the day so it’s a little more manageable for the coaches.

Anytime from 4pm through to 6pm > comp finish

Division winners announced, Maroubra Surf N Sk8 vouchers are handed out to the deserving competitors, tents packed up, BBQ cleaned, rubbish picked up and dance music cranked.

How long is my heat?

They are almost always 15 minutes long. On occasion depending on the surf conditions and the number of surfers present, the contest directors may opt to have some 20 min heats, particularly for finals and for older divisions who don’t seem to catch the 12 waves in 10 minutes that many of the grommets seem to be able to do.

Heat Draw

All surfers in a division and who are signed-in are added to the heat draw for the day. The heat draws use seeding information based on previous competition results to make sure that the top seeded surfers don’t surf against each other until later in the day. On the first comp of the year it is up to the contest directors to determine the seeding.

When do I surf?

You need to keep checking liveheats throughout the day to keep an eye on your heat times – things can change slightly if there are any ‘walk-through’ heats. While you are there you can see what colour rash vest you are wearing and who you are surfing against.

Updates will be announced over the PA system throughout the day.

It’s almost time for my heat – what do I do now?

Keep an eye on the flags before and during your heat. There are 3 coloured flags near the judges tent, Red, Green and Yellow. When the green flag is up, as Glenn Frey says ‘the heat is on’. When the yellow flag is up it means there are 5 minutes or less to go in the current heat (this is the time to paddle out so that you are in the line-up and ready to surf as soon as your heat starts). When the red flag is up, the heat has finished and the next heat hasn’t started yet.

How are the waves judged?

There are 3 judges who all score every surfed wave in the heat. The 3 scores they enter for any particular wave are averaged to give the official wave score. It is your best 2 wave scores that combine to make your final score for the heat.

In the context of the conditions on the day, surfers are judged per WSL criteria. The elements considered by judges are:

  • Commitment and degree of difficulty
  • Innovative and progressive manoeuvres
  • Combination of major manoeuvres
  • Variety of manoeuvres
  • Speed, power and flow

The scale utlised by the judges to score a ride is:

  • 0–1.9 = Poor;
  • 2.0–3.9 = Fair;
  • 4.0–5.9 = Average;
  • 6.0–7.9 = Good;
  • 8.0–10.0 = Excellent

So did I make it through?

The scores of the judges are entered as the heat progresses and accordingly the placing of surfers in the heat is updated live, so when the hooter at the end of the heat sounds, everyone knows the heat placings immediately.

In the standard ‘knock-out’ format which is the most common surfing competition format, it depends on the number of surfers in the heat as to how many progress through to the next round. The general rule is that at least 50% of the surfers in the heat will progress, so:

  • If there was 4 surfers in your heat, then the top 2 will progress
  • If there was 5 or 6 surfers in your heat, then the top 3 will progress