Stab Magazine | Just Released: The WSL's Official 2019 Format Changes
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Just Released: The WSL’s Official 2019 Format Changes

Fasten your seatbelts! 

news // Mar 16, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The WSL just released their official plans for the 2019 Championship season, including equal pay for male and female competitors, the chance for Olympic qualification, and a new competition format.

The former points (equal pay and Olympic qualifications) have both been public knowledge for the better part of a year. However, this is the first time that the format changes, which were first revealed by Gossip Girl this past December, have been stated by the WSL.

For those who’ve inevitably forgotten, here’s a quick refresher on how future CT competitions will be run.

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Men’s CT Format Updates

Round 1 will still have twelve heats with three surfers in each heat. Athletes who place first or second in Round 1 heats will both directly advance to Round 3, which will differ from the previous format where only first place advanced to Round 3. 

Round 2 will now have four heats with three surfers in each heat, as opposed to the previous format of 12 heats with two surfers in each heat. Of the three competitors in each heat, the lowest-placing surfer in the heat will be eliminated in Equal 33rd place. 

Round 3 will now have 16 heats with two surfers in each heat, as opposed to the previous format of 12 heats with two surfers in each heat. The lower placing surfer will be eliminated in Equal 17th place. 

Round 4 will now have eight heats with two surfers in each heat. The lower placing surfer will be eliminated in Equal 9th place.

The women’s format will be identical but with half the competitors.

This system was designed by the surfer’s union (AKA World Professional Surfers) and serves to 1. Create a more streamlined, linear path to the finals, 2. Give surfers more opportunities to advance (only four surfers will be eliminated after Round 2), and 3. Potentially decrease the run-time of CT events.

It’s true that the new format requires the same number of heats to finish an event (47 for the men, 23 for the women), however, the WSL has added a clause stating that heats after the second round can ‘overlap’ with one another, a la the Pipe Masters. This means less waves wasted and a shorter required swell window for an event, which is a serious win-win.

In fact, we feel the need to emphasize: this decision to alter the format and overlap heats could vastly increase the entertainment value of CT events.

Moreover, and on a funnier note, we can’t wait to re-introduce “dirty-turd” into the surfing lexicon. Whoever the four last-place finishers are in each event, they’re gonna get fucking roasted by the online surfing community, myself included. 

And in case you’re wondering how CT surfers will qualify for the Olympics, read this:

The world rankings at the end of the 2019 CT season will determine 18 of the 40 places at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 (10 men and 8 women). The remaining 22 places will be determined at the 2019 and 2020 ISA World Surfing Games, the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, and a single slot (each for men and women) for the host nation, Japan (if they have not already qualified through the mentioned routes).

The 18 places that are allocated at the WSL CT come with a condition that a country cannot qualify more than two athletes per gender. This means that if Australia qualifies three athletes, only two can go to the Games and the other place is allocated to the next highest ranked. 

Following the final CT events of the season (the Hawaiian Pro and Billabong Pipe Masters), the world rankings will determine the first highest 18 eligible qualifiers for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, subject to all qualified surfers meeting the ISA’s and IOC’s eligibility requirements and being selected by their respective National Olympic Committee.

Equal pay, we would hope, is self explanatory.

See you in two-and-half weeks!

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