How to Run a Skateboarding Competition: The Boardr Live

The Boardr Live is a live and instant real time scoring app I wrote to help people run their skateboarding events and competitions quicker, easier, and with less of a headache, fumbling with paper, spreadsheets, etc. I just recorded this quick demo that shows the entire process from start to finish.

How to Run a Skateboarding Competition: The Boardr Live

Posted by Rob Meronek 9 years ago on November 3rd, 2013
UPDATE FOR 2019: We've created a whole new series of videos on how to run a skateboarding event and also have a completely new version of The Boardr Live Events Scoring App available to try for free. Thanks for checking out our work!
The Boardr Live™ is a modern and full featured event administration and scoring app. It's cloud based and runs on any internet connected device or computer. The Boardr Live™ can help you ensure that your event is executed in an easy, fun, and professional manner. The Boardr Live is used by adidas, Zumiez, Nike, Transworld, Copenhagen Pro, Zappos, Vans, World Skateboarding, Grind for Life, and more.

Below are full details on two common industry event formats that we support along with a full instructional series and demo videos.

Competition Formats

Before you can use The Boardr Live scoring system, you should understand the basics of the event formats we support. The Boardr currently supports two contest formats that we've found to be the most fun, fair, effective, and representative of the performance and skill of each skateboarder. These two formats are what we refer to as Jams and Runs.

Runs Competition Format Events

In Runs Format Events, participants are grouped in Heats if there are more than 12 skaters in the event. Most Runs Format Events we do give the participant two runs where they skate for a specified time period, usually one minute. During this time period, a single participant skates the course for the specified time period and is given a score from 0 to 100, 100 being the best. All the participants in the Heat take their runs in order until the last skater in the Heat goes, then it returns to the top of the list if there's another run. Most of our Runs Format Events are two runs with the best run counting as your score for the event. For the Finals at most Runs Format Events, we usually allow three runs for the Heat with the same rule of the best run counting as your final score. For a Runs Format Event to execute in a reasonable amount of time, we recommend having no more than about 80 participants. We also recommend having no more than 20 skaters per Heat to prevent long periods of time between a skater taking their runs.

Jams Competition Format Events

In Jams Format Events, skaters are grouped into what we call Jams where they all skate together for a specified period of time. We generally do three skaters per Jam for three minutes per Jam. At the end of the Jam, judges give all three skaters in the Jam a score from 0 to 100, 100 being the best. Their average from all judges is what counts as their final score. See the Judging section below for recommendations on judging format. Many skaters feel that Jams format events are less pressure to perform due to having more time to perform tricks and not having such a penalty for tricks that are attempted but not completed. Although this is true, skaters only get one time to perform for their final score, unlike Runs Format Events where you typically get two or more. Jams Format Events overall execute faster than Runs Format Events. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each when setting up your event.

For a Jams Format Event to execute in a reasonable amount of time, we recommend having no more than about 150 participants. Final results for Jam Format Events include all the skaters in all the Jams compared to each other using their final average score, not individual results for each Jam, although you can view individual results by Jam if you'd like. This is useful for contest formats like Shop vs Shop team events where each Jam is a team that is skating as a whole against another team. This effectively is a contest of Jam 1 vs Jam 2, etc. Finally, another option you have with Jam Format events is to divide the course into sections where each section of the course has a certain weight towards a skater's final score. One thing to consider with sections: dividing the course into sections effectively doubles and triples the amount of time your event will run since you have to run through the entire list of skaters for each section. Plan your time accordingly for a successful event that doesn't run too long.

Judging Events

The Boardr Live allows for any number of judges for an event with the option to drop the highest and lowest score from each judge before calculating the final average. For our events, we typically use either three or five judges. When we use three judges, all three of the judges' scores count towards the final average. When we use five judges, the highest and lowest judge scores are thrown out before computing the skater's final average. We recommend staying with one of these two methods. When staffing and budgets allow, we recommend the five judge panel with high and low scores dropped as the first choice in judging your skateboarding event.

Judging Each Event Format

We typically judge Jam Format Events and Runs Format Events differently from each other. In Jams Format Events, judges typically do not penalize or factor in tricks tried but not executed. Generally, in Jams Format Events, scores are given based on completed tricks and their relative difficulty. In Runs Format Events, we typically factor in every trick attempt whether completed or not completed. We refer to a completed trick as landed and an uncompleted trick as a bail. In Runs Format Events, landing all your tricks combined with a high difficulty level is what will result in the best score. Bailed tricks in a Runs Format Event will generally hurt your score. In Jams Format Events, bails generally don't affect your score unless the substantial portion of your Jam time is mostly bailed tricks. We've been judging skateboarding events this way for over two decades now and we recommend this approach as we've found it to give accurate results in ranking contest performance in each type of event format.

Event Divisions

Divisions in an event refer to the grouping of different age and skill levels of participants. There are generally two different types of common skateboarding events. The first type is a top skill type of event. Am and Pro Contests are examples of these types of events. Participants are not grouped according to age or skill level. There is simply one division that all skaters participate in. The other type of common event in the industry is referred to as All Ages Contests. A more accurate description would be All Skills Contests. When skaters of all skills levels participate, we've found it best to create divisions based on age groups with one advanced division we commonly refer to as the Sponsored Division. Skaters that do not feel they are in an advanced division like Sponsored will enter the division for their age group. We have consistently used the following divisions with All Ages/Skills Contests over the years and recommend doing the same. In The Boardr Live, each of these divisions would be set up as a separate event.
  • Ages 8 and Under
  • Ages 9 to 12
  • Ages 13 to 15
  • Ages 16 and Up
  • Sponsored

The Boardr Live is Your Solution to Executing a Perfectly Organized Event

The Boardr Live completely automates all of the above scenarios without using spreadsheets, paper, calculators, or other unorganized, inefficient, and outdated processes. Additionally, a headshot photo of each participant is easily assigned to their profile. Finally, publishing results and skater lists/jams before and immediately after the event is as simple as copying and pasting, like embedding a YouTube video. We are currently approving limited organizations in skateboarding for using The Boardr Live. Why limited? Because we'd like it if the data in The Boardr Live and people using it are somewhat serious and on point about doing great skateboard events. If that's you, we should chat. To get an account, contact

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