WWA Judging Criteria – Boat Events


All riders will be judged using the DRIVE system.  Judges will be using an Overall Impression system to evaluate/ analyze the rider’s runs. Judges will be looking for the most versatile rider by breaking it down into difficulty, risk, intensity, variety and execution.  

Three or more judges should be used to judge an event.  Judges may judge from the boat or from the shore, or a combination of both.

Wakesports are subjectively judged sports.  There are no predetermined points for any tricks and each contestant is free to perform whichever tricks in whatever order he or she desires. Riders are encouraged to make the most of the time and course allotted.  Riders are not judged on the number of tricks performed, but rather the quality.  Each trick is scored on its own merits, regardless of technical difficulty and only as part of an entire run.

There will be three judges.  Each judge’s score will be worth 33.3 percent of the overall score.  The judge will give each rider a score from 1 to 10.  The three judges scores will be averaged together to come up with an overall score out of 100.  There will be no predetermined values for placing.  Each judge will analyze the rider’s runs based off of the DRIVE criteria and score them appropriately.  Judges will be able to reward as well as penalize riders according to the performance of their runs.          

D         difficulty

R         risk in the run

I           intensity

V         variety

E          execution

Trick difficulty (Technical Difficulty)– This is simply defined as how difficult each trick is based on a number of variables. Spins, rolls or flips including spins, grabbing your board, handle passes and the way a rider lands all subjectively define how difficult certain tricks are in comparison to others.

  • Number of rotations
  • Combos (combining tricks, adding spins, grabs etc)
  • The direction a rider spins in relation to the trick. Frontside or backside (blind)
  • Switch vs. regular stance
  • Handle pass vs. landing wrapped
  • Grabbed or not


  • Linking difficult tricks
  • Trick difficulty in relation to the course.

·     Risk – A rider opening their run with a technically difficult trick would be considered high risk.  Risk is also demonstrated by how a rider performs their tricks and whether or not they display a sense of “putting it all on the line” in order to better their opponents. 

Here judges look for how big or high the rider is taking each of their tricks.  This is typically noted on the judges sheet by a plus sign, “+”.  If the trick was incredibly high, and the judge will place 2 plus signs next to it on the judges sheet, “+ +”. The same goes for tricks done small may have a minus “-“ sign.

·     Wake to wake vs. out in the flats

·     270 transfer vs. boardslide


  • A variety of tricks performed in a pass is what judges are looking for in order to determine the most versatile rider.  Wakesports have categories of tricks such as: straight airs/glides, spins, inverts/flips and rails/obstacles.  A good pass should have tricks from each of these categories and be well rounded.  This shows a rider is skilled at all types of maneuvers and therefore showing variety in their riding.
  • Were the tricks all based on the same trick? (roll, roll 2 rev, roll 2 blind, kgb = similar)
  • Were the grabs different?
  • Did the rider spin both directions? 
  • Were the rails slid differently? (boardslide v lipslide, heelside v toeside)


  • Completion of the Trick – This is essentially how the trick was performed in the air or on the rail and that the rider is in control. Control and poise during the middle of a trick shows the rider is confident in that trick and thus it is well executed. Control and completion of a trick also means that the rider is performing a trick he/she set out to complete. Example: If a rider attempts to do a 360 and bobbles halfway through the trick and only performs a 180, it shows they are not in control. 
  • The Landing – This is simply how clean the landing was of the trick. If the rider butt checks, falls of the rail, bonks the rail, drags a hand, switches 180 to avoid falling, or looks out of control after they have landed this can negatively affect the execution category. 
  • Perfection – Judges are looking for how “clean” or how perfect EACH trick was performed in the passes.  Judges look at the approach, the body position, rotation of the trick, the axis of the body, head position, handle position, clean grabs not slaps, speed to which the trick was performed. A rider completing their routine without falling also demonstrates perfection. 
  • FLOW: Flow is when a rider can execute their tricks together to make them look like they connect smoothly from one to another.  For instance, when a rider lands a trick switch and then cuts into the wake to do the next trick in the same switch position. A rider that does not flow well would do things like constantly hopping from switch to regular or vice versa in their transition between tricks, starting the pass late, or finishing a pass early.  Dead water is not showing flow or composition.
  • Did the rider customize or adapt tricks…make them their own?


Creativity of course management and time is crucial in achieving a smooth, fluid, flowing run.  Riders that take the time to plan out their run will be rewarded in this area.  Judges will be looking for riders that use up the full time, and length of the course.  Wasted water will reflect negatively towards the rider’s overall score.

Judges will only score tricks successfully landed. Falls will be evaluated into the score based on how you did against the other riders in your heat.  Where a fall happens in a riders run and how many you have can definitely affect the overall look and flow of a riders run which will be considered in a riders score versus the other riders in the heat.  

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