Why I Love the 2013 Beach Stylers Judging System

There was a judging experiment this year at Beach Stylers, and I loved it.

The Beach Stylers judging system was a simplified version of the FPA system. Two panels of judges scored routines. The first panel handled Execution and Artistic Impression. The second panel handled Difficulty. Key changes across the board created a competition that served our sport by rewarding ambitious play.

Penalties for mistakes were reduced and collapsed into fewer deduction categories. With 0.2 as the worst penalty for any mistake, taking risks got very attractive.

Difficulty was scored by phrase. Normally this doesn’t affect risk incentive because the easier, transitional phrases mute the effect of the peak moments. At Beach Stylers, only the top 10 phrases counted, creating an incentive to go bigger and bigger. Every time a team replaced a weaker move with a stronger one, their mark went up noticeably. Combined with the reduced penalties from execution deductions, the top 10 approach encouraged players to pushing their limits.

Artistic Impression
AI was simplified but touched enough elements to measure the performance while not being a burden. With the added responsibility of judging Execution, it was helpful for AI judges to track fewer subcategories.

Linking Execution/Artistic Impression
In the Beach Stylers system, the AI score and the Ex scores are multiplied together. This is a cool approach to reducing the skewed impact AI and Ex traditionally have on the final score and preserving the importance of Difficulty. Here’s how it works. AI/Ex can contribute a maximum of 50 points to the score. Let’s say a team maxes out in AI for 50 points (10 x 5 subcategories). But they have 3 drops. That would result in an Ex score of 9.4 and an Ex multiplier of 0.94 (Ex score divided by 10). The AI/Ex score is 50 x 0.94 or 47 points.

This is a reversal of the scoring dynamic from the FPA system where AI adds points to the score and Difficulty is locked in a narrow averaged range. At Beach Stylers, Difficulty was unleashed by the top 10 approach, allowing teams to add to their score in a tangible way every time they replaced a weaker top 10 combination. Meanwhile, AI/Ex stayed in a solid range, generating modest distinctions between teams. Teams that sacrificed difficulty for AI were likely to be hurt more than teams that sacrificed a AI for difficulty. That said, I saw a team or two lose points by not addressing AI.

The Judging Experience
I judged only AI/Ex, and it wasn’t taxing. Cooperation among judges helped to minimize Execution tracking errors. It’s possible to judge AI without taking many notes, so focusing on Execution marks while taking in the whole performance felt relatively effortless.

Let’s Do This More Often
This judging approach is a breath of fresh air. Like the turboshred approach, it incentivizes state-of-the-art freestyle play. It unleashes us. It’s an engraved invitation to step up. Turboshred has a presumption of mistakes that the general public understands. That’s not usually the case in team play. Beach Stylers addresses this by including enough incentive for cleaner and cooperative play to be fun for the general public to see. Let’s try this approach to competition more often!

James Wiseman Takes Over The #1 Ranking

Photo courtesy Jordan Haro and Spread The Jam Project

After the world championships, three players were locked in a very tight battle for number one – Jake Gauthier, James Wiseman and Arthur Coddington. Only 16 points separated the three.

James Wiseman struck first post-worlds by playing the Oktoberfest event. His runner up finish with Sophie Wolf was strong, but there weren’t enough entrants to boost his ranking point total. No problem, he just went to the Berlin Hat Autumn 2013 Edition, drew Tobias Burzan and Freddy Finner as his teammates and won it for 146 points. He was the leader in the clubhouse going into Beach Stylers, where both Jake and Arthur would compete. The Berlin Hat win also moved Freddy into the top 20 and Tobias into the top 80.

The math looked like winning Beach Stylers could put either Jake or Arthur on top. The math, though, was more complicated because of Beach Styler’s two divisions – pairs and turboshred. Arthur teamed up with Matt Gauthier to win pairs on the first day of the tournament, with Jake and Amy Schiller coming in a close second. The next day’s turboshred was disastrous for Arthur, where he was edged out of the final by Dave Zeff. Jake had no such problems, sailing through to the final, then winning the event. Jake accumulated 128.75 points across the two divisions, seven points short of James’ point total.

Another interesting dynamic emerged at Beach Stylers. By winning pairs and finishing second in turboshred, Matt Gauthier entered into the mix for the end-of-year number one spot. Matt has had an insane year, winning two titles at the world championships and coming less than a point away from sweeping Open Pairs, Open Co-op and Mixed Pairs. With Virginia States and Beach Stylers wins, he’s racked up dominating results. The factor keeping both Matt and Arthur 30-50 points away from James and Jake is the fact that neither played in the 2012 world championships. Their advantage in closing that gap is their 8th best result. Both of them have much weaker 8th results than James and Jake, giving them big upside for any strong tournament finish.

The 2013 rankings battle is not quite over. James has entered Lazzaroni later this month, and a Northern California turboshred event is forming around the annual post-Thanksgiving jam at Sonoma State. JikJam looms too. Strong finishes by any of the four top players could shift the end-of-year rankings picture.

2013 Beach Stylers

2013 Beach Stylers
San Diego, CA
October 19-20, 2013

Pairs Final
1. Arthur Coddington/Matt Gauthier
2. Jake Gauthier/Amy Schiller
3. Larry Imperiale/Dave Schiller
4. Dave Murphy/Rodney Sanchez
5. Lisa Hunrichs/Joel Rogers
6. Danny Cameranesi/Dave Zeff
7. Matteo Feller/Magnus Peterson
8. Bob Boulware/Mark Regalbuti

Open Turboshred Final
1. Jake Gauthier
2. Matt Gauthier
3. Dave Zeff
4. Dave Schiller
5. Larry Imperiale
6. Joel Rogers

Women’s Turboshred
1. Amy Schiller
2. Lisa Hunrichs
3. Lori Daniels
4. Bethany Sanchez
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