The study compared scores obtained by the 10 highest and lowest ranked athletes on the men’s 2013 World Championship Tour (WCT) of surfing. Significant differences (p<.001) were identified between the two groups’ average wave scores, average total scores and total heats competed. In addition, the average standard deviation (SD) of each surfer’s wave score was significantly different (p = .020) between the two groups. Significant moderate correlations were identified between athletes’ average placing and the SD of their wave scores (r = .596, p = .006), and total heat scores (r=.474, p=.035). Repeated measures ANOVA also revealed significant differences between heat scores obtained during the final and all previous rounds (p < .001-.041).
In conclusion, higher ranked surfers achieved higher wave scores and heat totals, and were more consistent in scoring. On average, a 1.04 point increase per wave score would allow a bottom 10 ranked surfer to reach the top 10, a small but impactful gain.