World Surf League (WSL)

 

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The ESA has partnered with the World Surf League (WSL) to create a direct pathway for East Coast surfers to begin their pro surfing career path as they excel in the amateur level.    

ESA competitors in the following divisions may qualify for ESA-sponsored slots into select WSL QS and Jr. Pro events based on final rankings in ESA Regional and Easterns® events, as well as being a strong representative of ESA:

Boys & Girls U16

Junior Men & Junior Women U18

Men and Women (max age 23)

ESA Four-Man Priority

The ESA will be running four-man priority heats in a few select divisions (Boys U16, Girls U16, Junior Men U18, Junior Women U18, Men and Women divisions) at all three of this year’s ESA Regionals events. We are running these “trial” formats in preparation for moving to four-man priority for these divisions at the 2019 Easterns. We plan to use the current WSL four-man priority rules for the 2019 Regional events.

Our rational for introducing this new format for ESA Regionals is to prepare our top young competitors for WSL competition. As you know, the ESA has entered into an agreement with the WSL and has been sending some of our top ESA surfers into their events. As such, we have an immediate need to get our ESA surfers well versed in the four-man priority format.

Please familiarize yourself with the Priority Rules listed below if you are competing in these divisions at the Regionals and Easterns in 2019.

 

2019 WSL Rule Book

 

SUMMARY of PRIORITY RULES 2019 
4-Surfer Heat Priority

4-Surfer Heat Priority works in the following manner.

(a)  The first Surfer to Ride a wave then receives fourth priority (First Surfer). The first Surfer will be allocated fourth priority once they reach the Primary Take-Off zone.

(b)  The remaining three surfers in the heat have priority over the First Surfer and may paddle for waves without losing this priority until the next Surfer catches a wave (Second Surfer).

(c)  The remaining two surfers in the heat have priority over the First and Second Surfer and may paddle for waves without losing this priority until the next Surfer catches a wave (Third Surfer).

(d)  Once the Third Surfer catches a wave, the initial Heat priority order is established:

(i)   The Surfer yet to catch a wave receives first priority; and…

(ii)   the remaining Surfers will receive priority in the order they return to the take-off area.

NOTE:  In cases where Surfers appear to reach the line-up at the same time, priority will go to the Surfer who did not have the last priority.

(iii)  The Surfer with first priority has priority over all other Surfers. The Surfer with second priority only has priority over the Surfers with third and fourth priority. The Surfer with third priority only has priority over the Surfer with fourth priority.

NOTE:  Once Priority has been established, if surfer in first priority makes a committed paddle, they will lose priority even if they did not catch and ride the wave.  Once priority has been established for the heat; all priority rules apply.

(e) If a Surfer is not in the Primary Take-Off Zone when the heat starts and arrives late, the Surfer will be allocated the appropriate priority position as determined by the Priority Judge at the time when the Surfer reaches the Primary Take-Off Zone.

3-Surfer Heat Priority

3-Surfer Heat Priority works in the following manner.

(a)  The first Surfer to Ride a wave then receives third priority (First Surfer). The first Surfer will be allocated third priority once they reach the Primary Take-Off zone.

(b)  The remaining two surfers in the heat have priority over the First Surfer and may paddle for waves without losing this priority until one of them catches a wave (Second Surfer).

(c)  Once the Second Surfer catches a wave, the initial Heat priority order is established:

(i)   The Surfer yet to catch a wave receives first priority; and…

(ii)  the remaining Surfers will receive priority in the order they return to the take-off area.

NOTE:  In cases where Surfers appear to reach the line-up at the same time, priority will go to the Surfer who did not have the last priority.

(iii) The Surfer with first priority has priority over both surfers. The Surfer with second priority only has priority over the Surfer with third priority.

NOTE:  Once Priority has been established, if surfer in first priority makes a committed paddle, they will lose priority even if they did not catch and ride the wave.  Once priority has been established for the heat; all priority rules apply.

(e)  If a Surfer is not in the Primary Take-Off Zone when the heat starts and arrives late, the Surfer will be allocated the appropriate priority position as determined by the Priority Judge at the time when the Surfer reaches the Primary Take-Off Zone.

2-Surfer Heat Priority

2-Surfer Heat Priority works in the following manner.

(a)  At the start of a heat once the first wave has been ridden, the second Surfer gets automatic priority for any other wave they choose, unless the Surfer rides the wave before the heat starts, or if the Surfer is not in the Competition Area before the Heat.

(b)  A Surfer cannot lose second priority by paddling for, and missing a wave but if the Surfer catches the wave and their hands leave the rails, as they attempt to stand, they lose second priority.

(c)  Allocation is based on who the Priority Judge believes has reached the Primary Take-Off Zone first.

NOTE:  In cases where Surfers appear to reach the line-up at the same time, priority will go to the Surfer who did not have the last priority.

(d)  If a Surfer is not in the Primary Take-Off Zone when the heat starts and arrives late, priority will be allocated to the other Surfer at the discretion of the Priority Judge.

NOTE:  Once priority has been established, if surfer in first priority makes a committed paddle, they will lose priority even if they did not catch and ride the wave.  Once priority has been established for the heat; all priority rules apply.

How the Priority Judge determines Priority?
  • Allocation is based on who the Priority Judge believes has reached the Primary Take-Off Zone first.
  • In cases where Surfers appear to reach the Primary Take-Off Zone at the same time, priority will go to the Surfer who did not have the last priority.
  • Wave priority is lost as soon as a Surfer Rides a wave.
  • If a Surfer is deemed to make a committed paddle even if missing the wave, they will lose priority and go to last position, unless already in last priority.
  • In 3-Surfer or 4-Surfer heats, the Surfer with lower Priority will not lose their priority position if they are:

(a)  Paddling alongside a Surfer with higher Priority, who then catches the wave.

(b)  They are blocked by a Surfer with higher Priority by paddling or positioning.

Paddling out before your Heat
  • When paddling out, the Surfers in the heat that started first have unconditional priority over the Surfers in the other heat, no matter where they are in relation to the Line-up. Be respectful. You would not want another group of surfers interfering in the middle of your Heat.
  • If a Surfer stands up and rides a wave before the start of their Heat, that surfer will be allocated to last Priority for their Heat.
  • When free-surfing, never surf into the competition area.
Announcements, Hand-signals, Times, Scores and Situations

If any Surfer requires information from the water during a Heat they must use hand signals as described below:

(a)  Scores or Heat situation (Last score, Heat score, score needed to win, etc.) is one arm straight directly above the Surfer’s head.

(b)  Time remaining is one hand touching another above the head.

(c)  Priority is both arms above the head.

               NOTE:  Under priority allocation it is the Surfers’ responsibility to continually check the priority system for verification.

Interferences
  • An interference can only be called if a majority of the judging panel mark an interference on their judging sheet.
  • For priority situations when an interference is called on a Surfer, then the Surfer’s heat score will be calculated using only their best scoring wave.
  • In non-priority situations when an interference is called on a Surfer, the Surfer’s second best scoring wave will be halved.
  • When an interference is called on a Surfer while paddling to catch a wave or while riding a wave, the Ride will be scored zero.
What is Non-Priority?

Non-Priority exists when First Priority Surfer has yet to be established within the Heat. Fourth and Third Priority can exist under Non-Priority. As soon as Second Priority Surfer has ridden a wave, Priority has been established even if First Priority Surfer has not ridden a wave.

  • For Non-Priority situations, the Surfer deemed to have the inside position for a wave has unconditional right of way for the entire duration of that ride.

               NOTE:  Wave possession or right of way in these situations will vary slightly based on whether the wave is a superior right or left, but never on which Surfer is first to their feet (see Exception 2 below).

               EXCEPTION 1:  If at the initial point of take-off, neither the right nor left can be deemed superior, then the right of way will go to the first Surfer who makes a definite turn in their chosen direction.

  • With two peaks, there will be cases where one wave will have two separate, defined peaks far apart that eventually meet at some point.

               EXCEPTION 2:  Although two Surfers may each have inside position on those respective peaks, the Surfer who is first to their feet shall be deemed to have wave possession and the second Surfer must give way by cutting back or kicking out before hindering the right of way Surfer.

                              NOTE:  If two Surfers stand at the same time on two separate peaks that eventually meet, they should both give way by cutting back or kicking out, so that neither is hindered and so that there will be no penalty.

Priority Rules Summary 2019 (pdf file for printing)