Actually, I've seen them pick random people to judge (granted that was about 10-12 yrs ago). And once it was me. When I was about 15.... one of the last contests I went to..... I sat in as a judge for one of the menehueme (sp?) heats. Honestly, I probably shouldn't have been since I had only been surfing for 3-4yrs at the time but I tried to be fair.