Improved format for judging to kick off at Quiksilver Pro, March 1st.

Surfers will have a lot more room to maneuver on this year's Foster's Men's World Tour and ASP Women's World Championship Tour with a new judging criteria to be showcased in the perfect point waves of Australia's Gold Coast. With the unveiling of the new judging assessments at next week's Quiksilver Pro presented by Boost Mobile and the Roxy Pro presented by Boost Mobile, the world's best surfers will be rewarded for being even more explosive and creative than ever before.

Former six-times world champion Kelly Slater (USA) had season-long discussions with Head Judge Perry Hatchett last year, and pointed out that a lot of the maneuvers that some of the WCT surfers have in their repertoires are being done by an increasing cross-section of surfers at the beach these days. The new criteria draws the entire Top 45 lineup to risk more to gain more.

"It sounds really good" said reigning and three-times world champion Andy Irons, who arrived on the Gold Coast on Wednesday night. The Hawaiian is charged to capture his fourth title and go one better on his runner-up finish to Australia's Michael Lowe in last year's Quiksilver Pro.

"We haven't had a change in the judging criteria for five years, and that was the first modification in many years, but the way that the guys have been pushing performance standards over and over, it was time for a {{{review}}} to keep up with those advancements" declared ASP Head Judge Perry Hatchett.

"I'm looking forward to seeing everyone cutting loose with big moves, instead of milking it to the beach'" continued Irons. "Every year I love coming to the Gold Coast for the Quiksilver Pro. It's one of my favorite places and favorite events. This is such a good place! What better place to bring in a new judging system. The waves at Snapper are great."

Reading from the 2005 edition of the ASP rulebook, the judges will draw their assessment of surfers' rides from the following definition:

“A surfer must perform radical controlled maneuvers in the critical section of a wave with Speed, Power and Flow to maximize scoring potential. Innovative / Progressive surfing as well as Variety of Repertoire (maneuvers), will be taken into consideration when rewarding points for waves ridden. The surfer who executes this criteria with the maximum Degree of Difficulty and Commitment on the waves shall be rewarded with the higher scores.” The relevant changes for 2005 are the placement of the word 'Flow', which replaces the former inclusion of 'Style', and the addition of the evaluation of 'Variety of Repertoire'.

It became obvious over recent years that people were misinterpreting the word 'Style'. Some individual competitors would be losing to certain surfers and the first thing they would exclaim in protest to the Head Judge over their result was "I've beaten this guy before he leaves the beach because his style is so horrible...the way he approaches a wave and stands."

"My first comeback was that that was not the way 'style' was interpreted by the judges," said Perry Hatchett. "

"The judges were defining style as how the surfer reads the wave, utilizes sections, and the whole wave overall" continued Perry, adding that whenever he discussed the matter with Kelly Slater, the six-time world champ always used the word 'flow', as in being synchronized with the wave.

A prime case in consideration of the former misinterpretation of the word 'style' is Brazilian Peterson Rosa who finished 10th in the Foster's Men's Tour ratings for 2004.

Rosa is restricted in his style after snapping the ligaments in his hamstring muscle as a grommet. The liability of his injury is being unable to excessively bend his front leg, and yet the brazen natural footer has incredible flow, well known for linking sections with radical floaters, and regularly taking on critical sections with complete commitment.

"There are so many different styles amongst the Top 45 surfers. Some have very beautiful styles, while others are not that beautiful but very radical doing lots of sick turns. It is definitely better to be judging flow," said Rosa, who was the first foreigner to arrive on the Gold Coast for this year's Quiksilver Pro.

The inclusion of variance in repertoire into the judging criteria will be regarded as a solid step forward, especially by the top ranked surfers, who are well accomplished and applauded in all departments.

"I don't think it will change a lot with the judging of the top guys," said Mick Fanning (Australia). "The Top 16 are doing that stuff anyway - no two turns are the same. I think it might be a little different for the guys who come through the WQS doing the same turn to get through heats. It should improve things though and generally make it more exciting."

There are however a challenging mix of young rookies coming into this year's Top 45 who will be out to take on the established rulers next week. Young bloods like Chris Ward (USA), Fred Patacchia (Hawaii), Bede Durbidge (Australia), Kirk Flintoff (Australia) and Travis Logie (South Africa) are anything but predictable performers. Formulated surfing and trusted moves will not be enough in 2005.

"Everyone can do big turns these days, but the new criteria means that three different big turns are going to get the big scores," said Jake Paterson.

"Some surfers have been remaining on safe ground while other guys like Slater, Andy Irons, Occy, Taj Burrow, Joel Parkinson and even Sunny Garcia use a full variety of maneuvers in their repertoire" observed Perry Hatchett.

Taking Joel Parkinson (Australia) and Taj Burrow (Australia) as examples, neither has yet won a world title and yet they do everything possible to any wave the ocean deals them. From re-entries and full roundhouse cutbacks, to floaters, tube riding and through to aerial type maneuvers, they do it all - but they've had a hard time getting a grasp of what they should be doing.

Taj Burrow won the second last WCT event of last season in Brazil blowing everyone away with a repertoire of moves on almost every wave that were as diverse as they were critical. The West Australian's performance was a talking point on tour for weeks. Taj and Joel were raised looking up to Kelly Slater's seemingly boundless repertoire, and the top shelf he established in the {{{90}}}'s is becoming both more crowded and limitless.

"The boys are being encouraged to mix it up more. It'll be good to watch and get rid of those heats where you see surfers tempted to use the same reliable turns to get through," said Darren O'Rafferty (Australia).

"There's a lot of guys who do a lot of back-foot half maneuvers or monotonous turns," continued Perry Hatchett. "With the new criteria, the degree of commitment and difficulty put into their variety is the part that is going to going to earn them their major scoring."

"We're looking to break away from easy maneuvers and put the risk factor up there. We need to get away from the safe side of surfing and see the levels that we see in exciting free-surfing sessions brought into the WCT arena. It has to be more explosive to the public."

With flow, variety of repertoire, commitment, speed and power, as well as radical application all now sections of the judging criteria, the ASP tours will be establishing more definitive grounds for both assessment and entertainment this year. The 2005 Quiksilver Pro is destined to bust all frontiers.