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A Beginner’s Guide to Surfing Betting

Surfing may be a sport that is most famous in Australia, but people participate right across the world, wherever there is a sea with appropriate waves. As such, there are plenty of surfing competitions and opportunities to place bets. Betting on surfing is becoming increasingly popular as fans realise that they have a great chance of winning. Don’t worry if you are a complete newcomer to surfing betting, in this guide you will find all that you need to know. We will introduce you to the basics of the sports, explain the various types of bets that you can place, and explain how you should research your bets to give yourself the best chance of success.

Surfing Basics

Surfing has a long and fascinating history and there have been professional competitions taking place for more than sixty years. Each competition is slightly different, but they all have some things in common.

To begin with, there are some rules that you have to be aware of. One of the most important rules relates to the surfers’ right of way. A surfer that is closer to the break of water has the right of way over another. The break is an obstruction, such as a rock, that causes a wave to break, forming a barrelling wave that can be surfed.

If a surfer has possession of a wave, then they will remain in possession of that wave until their ride ends. If another surfer joins them on the side, then that surfer is referred to as a snake, and if the judges decide that they have interfered with the wave owner, then it will likely impact on their score. Very often, surfers will have a maximum number of waves that they are allowed to catch within a head and they will be guilty of interference if they catch more than that amount.

A competition will typically have a panel of five judges and they will score each wave on a scale of one to ten with two decimal places. For each wave, the highest and lowest scores are discarded and the surfer receives the average of the three scores remaining. Then, the surfer’s two highest scoring waves are combined for an overall total.

As mentioned, the number of waves a rider can catch will often have a limit, but not always. A heat will normally last between 20 and 35 minutes depending on the conditions. A perfect ride is 10 points, meaning that the largest possible score is 20 points. The scoring system is based upon five criteria that represent the core elements of surfing:

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

In other words, it is not about how many waves a surfer catches; rather, it is about the way in which they do so. It is vital to understand this when betting on the sport.

In regards to betting opportunities, there are many. Surfing is now an Olympic sport, and this will of course be one of the betting highlights. There is also the World Qualifying Series, it organised by the World Surf League and there are events taking place throughout the year. Those that earn enough points may progress to the World Championship Tour, which is a competition containing 34 men and 15 women. Finally, there is the World Surfing Games, which is organised by the International Surfing Association. The Games take place in a different country each year and each participating country can send a team of 3 men and 3 women.

Betting on Surfing

One of the advantages of betting on surfing is that there are not many different betting markets to understand. Furthermore, all of the betting markets are relatively straightforward. Here is a brief guide to the most common ones to help you get started.


This is always the easiest bet to get started with, no matter what sport you are betting on. You are simply betting on the outright winner of a competition or the leg of a competition. If your chosen surfer wins, then you will win your bet.

Head to Head Betting

This is a great way to back a surfer who you are not sure will win a competition. The markets will pair up the surfers and then you simply need to bet on which of the two you think will do better in that stage of the competition. It offers more flexibility than just picking a winner and is often a great way to place some money on an underdog.

Spread or Handicap Betting

Spread or handicap betting is a technique that used to boost the odds on the underdogs. The idea is that the favourite is given a handicap that they must overcome in order to be declared the winner and at the same time, the underdog is given a boost.

In the case of surfing, this could be applied to a head to head bet. One surfer may be given a handicap of -3 point while the other would be given +3 points. If you were to back the favourite to win, then you would win the bet if the favourite were still the winner after 3 points have been subtracted from their score. If you were to bet on the underdog to win, then you would win the bet if they were the winners once 3 points were added to their score.


This is another form of betting markets that is designed to give punters more options and flexibility. It allows you to bet on something being bigger or smaller than the given value. In the case of surfing, it may apply to the points awarded to a specific surfer. You could bet on them being over or under the given amount. For example, the market Over/Under 15.5 means that you would bet over if you think the surfer will be awarded at least 16 points and bet under if you think they will receive 15 or less.

Accumulator Bets

Accumulator bets allow you to bet on the outcome of numerous heats within a tournament. For instance, you could bet on who you think will win each heat. It requires you to predict many things, which is difficult, so the odds are very generous.


This allows you to place a bet long before it will be resolved. For instance, at the start of a season you could bet on which surfer will be awarded the most points across all events. In the case of a tournament, you could bet on who will reach the finals or who the winner will be.

Live Betting

Live betting, also known as in-play betting, is an excellent way to make watching surfing even more exciting. It will allow you to place bets as the event is taking place. Many of the same markets as described above will be offered and the odds will be updated in real time. You may also see some Next To bets, such as the next surfer to catch a wave. If you follow the markets carefully, then you may spot some excellent opportunities.

What to Consider When Betting on Surfing

As with any sport, your best chance of placing successful bets is by doing careful research. The more informed you are, the more likely it is that you will win.

A great place to start with surfing is with statistics. You can find a huge amount of information about each surfer online, which will give you an idea of how they have performed in the past and in different conditions. You should also try to follow news about the surfers to make sure that you are aware if they have suffered from any injuries or illnesses that may affect their performances.

When it comes to the competition itself, be sure to watch from the very beginning so that you can get an idea of the surfers’ forms. As a general rule, those who score well in the early rounds carry the momentum with them and make it through to the competition’s later stages. Of course, this will not always be the case, but it is certainly worth being aware of.

Surfing is sport where the weather has a massive effect. When planning your bets, look at all the forecasts that you can find and try to get into the small details, such as the swell direction, winds, and so on. You can then look at the results of past events to see how the surfers have performed in similar conditions.

There are other factors that you can take into account, such as if a surfer has travelled a long way for an event and if they may be tired. In other words, the more details you are able to factor in to your planning, the better chances you have of winning. Of course, the best way to do this is to follow the sport closely, which should also be a lot of fun, and with a bit of luck, you will soon be enjoying many successful bets.


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