For those of us fortunate enough to have one or more children enjoying contest surfing as their sport of choice, here is my humble view.
Enjoy the beach.... No matter what your still out for a day at the beach, many a time that my son & I have started the day with thoughts of making a final only to go out in the first round and basically having to decide if we head home or take advantage of the opportunity presented us and find that local break offering that next "best wave I ever got" to recant on the ride home. Over the past four years we have met this challenge week after week, some are great adventures and some are very long quite rides home.
Each contest I witness awesome displays of surfing, the finest equipment, strong focused minds, muscles tuned for amplitude, well structured event systems, families staked out in support of their groms, and marketing at it's finest with stickers, tents and banners that could cover a house. These are a bunch of my favorite things and I will proudly defend each facet, as I believe they are all needed to take this sport to the level it seeks.
Remember that this is a JUDGED sport, and all the good and bad that is said about judging may come into play when your grom is in the lineup. Many times I have felt the sting of a low score for what appeared to be a great ride, but just as often when I think he has not done enough to advance and boom he's on to the next round, so preach the "stick with-it" attitude and when the time is right and the stars align and your grom is the "In Form" surfer of the day, he will get those scores...and occasionally even the WIN...Surf 4-Ever.