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The Rules of the Game

November 01, 1987|SUSAN HEEGER

THE ASSN. OF Surfing Professionals is the world governing body of international professional surfing. It provides a uniform system of scoring and judging and sets the rules for surfers and corporate sponsors who want to participate in its events.

In each world-tour contest, competitors with ASP ratings of ninth or lower must surf in four-woman trial heats to qualify for the main event, which consists of four rounds. In the first, the top eight finishers from the trial heats surf one-on-one against the top eight ranked competitors. Each pair rides a maximum of 10 waves, and a five-judge panel scores each surfer's best four rides on a scale of 1 to 10. In Round 2, the eight winners face one another in another four one-on-one heats, from which four quarter-finalists proceed to two semifinal heats. The two finalists then meet to determine the winner.

The ASP Rulebook states that "the surfer who executes the most radical controlled maneuvers in the most critical section of the biggest and / or best waves, for the longest functional distance, shall be deemed the winner." (Radical maneuvers are actions that extend a ride, make it more interesting to watch or add danger.)

Depending on the amount of money provided by sponsors, an event has either an A or AA rating, AAs offering the highest minimum prize. Of the four contests so far on the 1987-88 women's tour, two have been A events and two AA events.

This year, the top competitor in a women's A-rated event earns $2,000 and 1,500 contest points. Second prize is $1,250 and 1,290 points, with earnings declining to $250 and 525 points for ninth place. A women's AA-rated event is worth about 1 1/2 times the money and points of an A event. (Men's A winners earn $5,000; men's AA-event winners earn $10,000.) At the end of the season, which should include five A-rated and three AA-rated women's events, the association will adjust surfers' scores by eliminating 25% of their poorest placings. The competitor with the highest adjusted point total will win the women's title. Frieda Zamba, who took a first in the October Marui Pro in Chiba, Japan, and now has 5,120 points, leads the women's tour by 120 points over Wendy Botha. Botha, a South African, was unable to obtain a visa to compete in Japan.

The next event on the tour, in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, will be Nov. 17-22

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