Sally wears yellow, but what's it all mean? Photo: WSL / Damien Poullenot
Here's Who (Numerically) Should Win World Titles in 2017
The yellow Jersey ain't all it's cracked up to be!
The CT season is coming to a close which means world champions and pork-intensive barbecues are imminent. While the women have only one contest remaining (Honolua), the men have two (Supertubos and Pipe), which interestingly confirms both sides of the gender pay gap debate.
Women could argue that a truncated season means less earning potential, which translates directly to a gender-based wage disparity. On the other hand, men could argue that the women’s contest earnings are equal to theirs, and that the men’s greater work hours entitle them to increased compensation. Plus they just like, surf better. Amirite bros?
And while politics and surfing mix like cousins from Arkansas, we’re really here to talk about titles. World titles. Let’s start with the women, because their race is actually more interesting than the men’s.
Note: This segment has been amended to correct a mathematical error caught by a savvy commenter.
The Women’s Jeep Leaderboard is deceptive. On face value, it would appear that Sally Fitzgibbons is leading the world title race. In reality, she’s a close second to Tyler Wright*. Take away Sally’s two lowest scores (both quarterfinals), and she’s left only with 47,700 points -- a brutal consequence of her consistency in 2017. Now if we take away the two lowest scores of Tyler Wright, who is nearly 2,000 points behind Sally in the official standings, her number comes out to 47,900 -- slightly ahead of Sally. And then there’s Courtney Conlogue. Taking away her two lowest scores, Courtney is left with 46,700 total points -- about 1,000 points (less than one heat) behind the other two.
For all intents and purposes, whichever girl places highest in Maui (assuming they get quarters or better) will win. Included in this race is one defending world champion (Tyler) and two perennial bridesmaids (Sally and Courtney). Considering their interchangeable skillsets I believe the surfer who catches the best waves will win. What a boring thing to say.
The men’s side of things, while not as numerically intricate as the women’s, is still very tight. With two events remaining, there’s more leeway in terms of potential outcomes, but the adjusted numbers (with two lowest scores removed) look like this:
John Florence: 46,400 points
Jordy Smith: 44,100
Everybody else: fairly negligible (though one must always keep an eye on Mr. Medina)
Two-thousand points, which in realistic terms equals a heat or two, is all that separates Jordy and John. Considering that the two remaining locations (Supertubos and Pipe) are putty in John’s hands, plus the fact that John has a head start, it seems unlikely that Jordy will be able to usurp the Caesarian king… but stranger things have happened.
I’d give John an 80% chance of taking home his second straight title, a 0% chance of defending his Eddie win, and a 100% chance of making more money than the sum of Sally, Tyler, and Courtney in 2017. The patriarchy rages on!
* LOL to every surf site (Stab included) who posted headlines of “Tyler Wright out of World Title Race with Torn MCL”. Do you even know who you’re talking about? The girl is a Wright, for whom such an injury is but a mere flesh wound!