How Jams vs Runs Format Skateboarding Contest Judging Works Blog Post at The Boardr

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How Jams vs Runs Format Skateboarding Contest Judging Works

Published 1/30/2015 by Rob Meronek

There are two main formats that we and most other skateboarding contests use. We refer to them as Jams format and Runs format. Both have some key differences shown below. If you have any questions, email me at

Jams Format

In a Jams Format event, you're skating for a set period of time with a group of other skaters. Usually three skaters in a three minute Jam as we do with The Boardr Am Qualifiers format. The main benefit in a Jams format contest is that you have more freedom to try harder tricks because bails don't matter. The tricks you make are what gets scored. You still need to find the balance between trying tricks too hard vs tricks you're more consistent at, but in Jams, you can push it up to harder tricks because you have room for bails.

One common problem we see in Jams is someone getting stuck trying a single trick too many times. If you're trying a hard trick, give it a max of three tries before you move on and try to get some other tricks in. Otherwise, you risk using up too much of your Jam time on one hard trick that you may or may not land.

In Summary for Jams Format:

  • You skate with groups of other skaters at the same time, usually three at a time.
  • Bails don't really matter in Jams Format.
  • Because bails don't matter, you have the flexibility to try harder tricks, however, don't get stuck spending too many tries on a single trick.
  • You have more time to skate in a Jams vs Runs Format.

Runs Format

In a Runs Format event, you're skating by yourself for usually around a minute, depending on the course. The objective in Runs Format is basically to put together the best line and strung together tricks on the course. In this format, bails affect your final score, so you have to make sure you try tricks that you're a little more consistent with. You have less flexibility going for the bangers here because more than a couple of bails in a run results in a fairly bad score. Because of the nature of Runs Format events, you're usually given two to three Runs with the best Run counting for your final score.

Runs Format events are usually used when the number of people in the contest is low or for the Finals like the way we do for The Boardr Am. One common approach we see in Runs Format events is saving your banger trick for the last trick in your Run. Get your whole made and then on your last trick try to cap it off with something super difficult or good looking.

In Summary for Runs Format:

  • You skate by yourself for usually about one minute.
  • You're trying to put together a full line and run of tricks, therefore, bails matter.
  • Because bails matter, it's riskier to try harder tricks.
  • Many people save their hardest trick in their run as the last trick they do.


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