Anna Chamberlain talks being a female judge

Published on 15/08/2023

Anna Chamberlain talks being a young, female, head judge in the surfing world

Anna Chamberlain from Scarborough Boardriders Club in the Illawarra region completed the foundation judging course in 2021 at just 16 years of age. 

She has been working for the last couple of years as a judge and even found herself as the head judge on multiple competitions. 

We wanted to chat to Anna and find out her view on being a young female part of the judging panel.

Anna shared that she originally did the course to help out her boardriders club, but then found it was of great assistance to her own surfing journey, here’s why;

“The judges course definitely assisted my competitive surfing and ability to know what I needed to do to achieve scores,” she said.

She says that with her understanding of the role, a judge reviews the surfer’s performances based on set criteria to keep a level playing field throughout competition.

At our recent “Her Wave” events at the beginning of the year, Anna was head judge alongside a panel of all female judges.

“It’s been amazing to see more women pop up over the last couple of years,” said Anna. 

“My experience as head judge with an all-women’s judging panel at the Surfing NSW Her Wave events was so inspiring and an awesome opportunity for me. Watching first-hand the development and success of the Her Wave initiative and the women’s surf community is probably the most epic experience I’ve had as a judge so far.”

Anna says what she likes most about being a judge is watching the next generation of Australian surfers prosper and guiding them into the beginnings of their potentially, very successful careers. 

But with all the highs in a critical and subjective role, Anna shared there are also a lot of critics, but the course and training equipped her to back herself and her decisions. 

“It can be really intimidating when someone older than me wants to question their scores, but I’ve just had to remember that in taking the judges course I can now confidently back up every decision I make in order to achieve a non-bias professional level of competition,” she said.

“The Surfing Australia Judges courses are definitely worth taking. They’re all online now and accessible to anyone. Whether you’re interested in becoming a judge, improving your competitive surfing, passionate about the sport or just want to be involved in a different way, you’ve got the chance with judging.”

Anyone can take the online Surfing Foundation Judging Course via the Surfing NSW website. If you’re a member of a boardrider club, talk to your club about utilising their course allocations for the year. 

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