Stab Magazine | It’s Do or Die At The Sunset World Cup

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It’s Do or Die At The Sunset World Cup

A year’s worth of travel, toil and time away from loved ones all comes down to this. 

news // Nov 25, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

With the Sunset World Cup set to begin in the next few days (waiting period starts November 25th), the final piece of the puzzle will be added for many 2017 World Tour hopefuls.  

Ranked 28th on the World Tour (six places outside the re-qualification cut off) and 18th on the World Qualifying Series (eight places outside the qualification cut off), Australian Tour rookie Davey Cathels finds himself in the unenviable position of requiring semi-final finishes at both the WQS Prime events at Haleiwa and Sunset, or a semi-final finish at the season ending Pipe Masters elite tour event. Having made the semi at Haleiwa he’s one step away from securing his place on the 2017 tour via the WQS at Sunset. Though he will need his best result ever at the wave, having never made it past the quarterfinals. 

“I’m feeling good. I came to Hawaii with a nothing to lose attitude. I feel like I’ve had a pretty good year on the ‘CT (World Tour) even though I’m coming 28th. ” he says. 

Cathels and good friend Jack Freestone find themselves in identical situations heading into Sunset. Freestone, who performed well below expectations in his rookie year on Tour, has not had a result at the elite level since a runner-up in the Rio Pro World Tour event back in May. Cathels says they are keeping their distance in the lead up to the final two events. 

“No one really talks about it. Everyone’s got their own little game plan. Freestone’s got his best mate and coach here, Stace, and I think they’re keeping their strategy hush hush if they’ve got any,” he says. 

“At this time of year the worst thing you can do is start worrying about your competitors,” he says. 

“It’s one of those things where you can’t really play anyone else’s game but your own. Even though you’re chasing guys and you need the same results you can’t really pay attention to anyone else. That’s what I did last year when I was already pretty much qualified before Hawaii. I just needed to make one or two heats to be 100% and I started watching everyone else and freaking out about everyone else,” he says.

The top 22 ranked surfers on the World Tour automatically re-qualify for 2017. While the top ten World Qualifying Surfers (WQS) will replace those outside the re-qualification cut-off. 

Heading into Sunset several spots on the World Tour have already been sewn up by those at the top of the WQS ratings. 

There are a total of 45 surfers still in contention for the remaining spots. Portugal’s Frederico Morais is the sitting No. 10 on the WQS with 16,010 points, though an early loss at Sunset could see him overtaken. No. 9 ranked Australian Ryan Callinan, No. 8 ranked Brazilian Bino Lopes and No. 7 ranked Ian Gouveia, also Brazil, are in a similar position should they lose early at Sunset. 

Jadson Andre is another World Tour surfer in need of a result at Sunset. He must finish 25th or better to have a hope of securing his spot on the elite tour for 2017.

Elsewhere, Tour hopefuls American Evan Geiselman and Brazilian Jesse Mendes require a 17th place or better. Hawaiian Ezekial Lau, Brazilians Tomas Hermes and Deivid Silva all require a 13th; American Tanner Gudauskas and Frenchmen Marc Lacomare a 9th; Australian Mitch Crews and Frenchmen Maxime Huscenot a 3rd; and Australians Dion Atkinson and Mitch Coleborn a 2nd (more, here:).

For Cathels his main motivation to get back on Tour is simply to surf Fiji, J Bay and Chopes again with only two guys out. 

“Those waves are so experience-based that’s been my whole motivation to get back on tour so I can go back to those three events. They’re the best events but time there is so important,” he says. 

The key to doing well at Sunset, much like Pipe, is “just going for it,” he says. 

“I think it favours the bold. I you try and stay out of the way of the sets and not go out the back you get caught out not going for it. If you hunt those waves, sit out the back a bit further, that always pays off. I think time out there is really important,” he says, adding that a well-shaped 6’8 Sunset gun is also a must. 

The forecast looks small for the opening rounds at Sunset with a possible spike in swell size toward the end of the waiting period. Cathels isn’t concerned. 

“I don’t really care even if its at the point or big and at the bowl it doesn’t really matter. I just hope to get a few waves every heat,” he says. 

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