||Judging surfing competitions (or alias 'the job
Interviewed by Xochitl Quintanar
Firstly how did you get your name?
My parents were living in the 70's and doing the
hippy trip, when they gave me the name. You can imagine the rest
Where are you from?
I am Byron Bay raised. Born in North Queensland
and with my family traveled around the east coast of NSW until I was
7 years old.
How did you get the job?
In 1999 I was judging amateur events on and off
for a year, and ended up working with the head judge. Then the position
became available and I fitted the requirements.
So what are the special requirements Pritarmo?
Well you need to be able to judge, have a good
memory recall, knowledge of surfing and be able to fit into the surfing
As a professional judge you seem quite young?
Well I am actually the youngest judge on the circuit
by 6 years, being only 23 years.
And what did you do before this?
I actually was on the dole and travelling around
doing the amateur Australian circuit.
The biggest challenge you face with your job?
I watch surf all day but cannot surf whilst I
judge, and I see all the good waves roll by (big sigh).
What places do you prefer to judge? Why?
I like Tahiti, Fiji, and Hawaii because of the
quality of the surf, whilst France and Brazil are great for the crowd
interest, party scene and girls.
What do you look for in a surfer?
I look for speed, power, style, commitment, degree
of difficulty, progressive and innovative surfing.
As a judge what level do you judge?
Mostly 4, 5, 6 star WQS (World Qualifying Series)
events as well as WCT (World Champion Tour). Ranking well in WQS allows
you to make it into the WCT series.
Why is there so much rivalry in surfing?
There is a lot riding on competitions for surfers.
Each surfing contract depends on ratings and this is where the stress
Will female surfing ever get as much prominence?
It's increasing rapidly, but media interest is
still weighted on males.
Can you tell me about the party scene?
As a responsible judge I try not to indulge, but
fully recommend Brazil and Europe as the places where most professional
surfers have the most fun!!!
Any changes to the tour in the last couple
The biggest change is in the criteria of judging.
The focus has shifted from safe surfing to rewarding more radical and
The most amazing thing you have ever seen
In early 2000 Teahuoo, Tahiti, I saw some unbelievable
surf. The surf was in fact life-threatening. Corey Lopez took off on
possibly the heaviest waves ever paddled into. The waves were approx.
5m high and 5m thick. The judging had to even be done from a boat because
the tower was knocked down by the immense waves. At times it was so
scary judging from the boat because we were in the impact zone.
And is there much risk from shark attack?
NO! There are so many other ways of dying. Though
I did see some fascinating shark action in Western Australia at their
finals in 1999. A shark frenzy occurred. All these little sharks came
out of the water it was quite strange.
Are you aware of UV rays?
I notice the sun in Australia is the strongest
I have ever come across. So I 'slip slop and slap' on a regular basis.
How do you find the environmental situation
on the surfing circuit?
Well the most polluted beach I have come across
is Huntington Beach in California other than that it's pretty good.
What did you learn last year?
I have learnt about dealing with other nationalities
and their different views of life.