There is no doubt, live scoring is a big, important tool for events. It’s a system, which allows all participating people to see results quicker and give more transparency to the judging process. The PWA has been using a live scoring system in the wave discipline for a few years and it works better and better. Julien Mas (F-07), 26 year-old French freestyler, tow-in expert and creator of the Windmeet freestyle tour in France developed a live scoring system for the freestyle discipline, in cooperation with his dad, a few riders and his friend Danny Kater, freestyler and programmer. We hooked up with Julien to speak about his ideas and his scoring system.
Continentseven: You have been working on a live scoring system for the freestyle discipline. Tell us more.
Julien Mas: Yeah, actually the project is almost finished. Most of the difficult work is done. Now we are doing some test events to see if there are bugs or mistakes, but at the moment it looks very well! We’ve already tested it 3 times, 2 times in tow-in and 1 time in a real windsurfing event. I have to say that I ‘am really proud on what we made. Here you can check an example from one heat of the last WindMeet event.
Continentseven: What are the difficulties creating such a system?
Julien Mas: You know, in Freestyle there is so much variety of moves and you can see so many different styles and then there’s always the opportunity that the riders perform or invent a new move. I think the biggest difficulties were to get the current way of judging wrapped up in a system that takes a big part out of the hands of the judges. The system calculates the technical difficulty and chooses a diversity of moves that count. The judge decides how the move is performed (execution/style).
Continentseven: When did you start this project and what is your main goal and motivation behind it?
Julien Mas: I actually started to think about this project after my second season on the PWA. We were often complaining about the results and did not understand it. Sometimes you came out of the water and everyone on the beach said you had won, but in the end you lost. When you went to check the results it was always the same “you lost”, for example by half a point. I think most of the riders don’t have the budget, some still have to work to do the PWA event or an EFPT event and even some riders still have to pay for their gear. What I mean is when you start to compete you don’t want to be bummed right away after a competition with an unclear result. You know, I’m a bit surprised that PWA didn’t make it yet. We were already talking about it 3 years ago during the annual meeting with the riders, but nothing happened.
Editors note: At the 2015 Fuerteventura Worldcup we caught up with the PWA head judge Duncan Coombs for a statement about the status quo of the PWA Live Scoring System in the freestyle discipline. This is what Duncan told us: „The live score system, which Kurosh Kiani has been developing and we have been testing at Fuerteventura 2015 during some of the ladies heats where we had spare judges is going well, but there is still a lot to do with it. So I would say it might be tricky to use it in Sylt. Especially, when I think back to the last two freestyle events we’ve had on Sylt we were out on a boat. It makes it a little bit more difficult with the technology out on the boat. We are working on it and we hope to have it soon. A few years before, the first rounds were a bit more relaxed and you could predict the winners, whereas now it’s way more open. The live scoring would certainly take any grey areas out of it. The format we use now with the diversity, the judges have to take pretty much the full 3 minutes in between the heats to choose the moves and to think about their scores and then, they go straight into the next heat. It’s pretty exhausting for the judges and a high concentration level is required. But, you know, we are positive the i-score system with the live freestyle scoring will happen, it’s just that we need to work on it a little bit more.“
Julien Mas: I started this project last year behind my laptop. I was making a list of the moves and put a note from 1 to 10. That was such a long list! Actually too long with more than 150 different moves. The idea was to make an average list from the top world tour riders to have a precise move list in order of the technical difficulty. Something easy to make it understandable for the public. I think my motivation on this project was to make our discipline more interesting to watch and to motivate the rider to increase their score! I would like to see freestylewindsurfing on TV like you see snowboarding or surfing competitions and I think it’s possible, because our discipline is young, spectacular and should be interesting to watch. I think the next step will be the combination of live stream and live score. Then we have something really cool!
Continentseven: Who are the people behind that project?
Julien Mas: I started the project alone, but I spoke to many riders to know what they think about Live scoring. Then I have a really good friend, who is good on excel. I showed him my project and my idea and he was motivated to help me to program a model on excel. In October 2014 at the PWA event on Sylt we met each other to talk about freestyle. Live scoring was the main topic of the meeting. “Where is the live scoring? “ Afterwards I met Danny Kater – a Dutch freestyler and PWA judge and a friend of mine and a programmer. He was really interested in working with me. After a few months I finally found the budget to start the project. My dad also gave us a bit of his help by creating some formulas.
Continentseven: Live scoring is an advantage for spectators at the event or if you watch online, But is it an advantage for the riders, too?
Julien Mas: I guess, it gives you the opportunity to know how many points you can get, if you make a perfect run. It’s nice to know that the moves you will do will be scored and can make the difference at the final score. Today we all make more or less the same moves and it’s not so easy for the judge to decide after a 7 minutes long heat – he has to remember all the moves – who the winner is. I believe it’s a big advantage for the judge. I mean the system is here to make judging more easy and give the judge the opportunity to really focus on the move’s execution/style. It also saves time for the judge. There’s no need to “write down” the move anymore and unfortunately no moves will be missed during the heats.
Continentseven: We saw, what happened during PWA wave events, where live scoring was used. Teammates gave their friends advise from the beach, how the points are. What’s your opinion about that?
Julien Mas: I dream to have this in freestyle, too ! Such good vibes on the beach. I think it’s nice to see your team mate pushing you to go and this will for sure give you more energy to push yourself!
Continentseven: Live scoring makes a quick result, but is there a chance to change results, if there was a massive fault in judging?
Julien Mas: Yes sure, at the moment the judges can change till the heat is finished. So if there is a mistake they can change during the heat, but if there is a big mistake, it’s also possible to change after the heat. The head judge is always the last to decide.
Continentseven: What are the main criteria your Live Scoring is based on? Difficulty, style, diversity…? Did you watch a lot of heats to create a valid system?
Julien Mas: It’s a bit similar on what we had before, with a different aspect, but we simplify it for the judges. The technical difficulty and diversity are now automatically gone. The judge only has to care how the moves are executed (style, height, power…) and put a note between 1 and 5+. I continued to watch a lot of videos from heats that you or Kuma Movie have released. Last year I also organized a seminar for judges, where we spoke a lot about what is good, what could be easier or faster. Then we tried some stuff back in Bonaire with some real heats.
Continentseven: Do you have lists of moves according to their difficulties?
Julien Mas: Yes we have. I made a list of moves that I gave to all riders during the last meeting in Sylt in 2014. At the end we got 12 riders, who responded to the technical list. But we will probably adjust this list year by year and we are also thinking to make a different list for different conditions, too, but that’s planned for the future.
As you can see we have five groups of moves: slided moves, slided move combos, power moves, power slide moves, double power moves & crazy combos. These groups are only to register and attribute a category for the move. But let’s talk about the diversity. This was the harder part for the programmer to get realized. The system has to automatically choose for example the best 3 out of 6 or 4 out of 7 moves on each tack. So we had to create different families of moves, like Spocks (Spock, double Spock, Spock Culo) or Flakas (Flaka, Flaka one hand, double Flaka). The system chooses the best move from the best families and fines a rider, when he didn’t perform enough moves or only performed moves from one family. It’s difficult, but so far it’s working!
Continentseven: What are the freestyle moves counting the most in your live scoring system?
Julien Mas: As you see on the list, the power moves and double power moves can go up till 10 points.
Continentseven: Imagine someone lands a Shifty 720° during an event?
Julien Mas: With this kind of move we go straight for new power move or new crazy move, so it scores 10 points for technical difficulty. The judge will decide how the move was performed. The judges score will make the final score go up or down.
Continentseven: Will the judges use devices like iPads or computers to judge live?
Julien Mas: Yes, they can use all. Even smart phones are working!
Continentseven: Will you have a maximum amount of points for a freestyle heat or can you give extra points for extraordinary well executed moves?
Julien Mas: At the moment the moves are going from 1 up to 9. If there is a new power move or crazy new move it goes to 10. Then we have some variety on the moves that we call “The option” (Diablo, Canabrava, one hand, nohand, Pippa, 180 pop, 360 upwind…), which will higher up in the technical score. Then the judges have 7 choices to judge ( 1, 2, 3, 4, 4+,5 and 5+). So for an amazing move we’ll have 12 points as well.
Continentseven: Who is going to use your system except the WindMeet Freestyle Tour?
Julien Mas: I think it’s an opportunity for event organizers to make our freestyle discipline more interesting to watch it online or live at the event site, but also to understand better how difficult freestyle windsurfing is and what we’re training hard for all year! So everyone should feel free to contact me, if they want the system for an event!
Continentseven: Will we see it on EFPT, PWA and IFCA events?
Julien Mas: I hope to see this live Scoring on EFPT, PWA or IFCA events one day, but at the moment you can see or join us on WindMeet Freestyle Tour : The next event will be the WindMeet Freestyle Tour in Le Brusc.
Continentseven: You want to add something?
Julien Mas: At last I want to ask all readers to send us your opinions and ideas on freestyle Live Scoring, together we will work to make the best Live Scoring system! Let freestyle rule(s)!