Stab Magazine | Mikey Wright And Leo Fioravanti Will 'Surf Off' For The Injury Wildcard
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Mikey Wright And Leo Fioravanti Will ‘Surf Off’ For The Injury Wildcard

The Australian leg will determine who stays for the rest of the year. 

news // Dec 26, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Every year the WSL divvies out two injury wildcards. Occasionally, there’s only two spots needed and there’s no complaints from competitors. Then there’s seasons like 2019’s where there’s three surfers all with legitimate claims to an injury wildcard spot. The 2020 season is one of those years. 

Last year, the battle was between John Florence, Kelly Slater, and Caio Ibelli. Eventually the WSL made the decision to hand the spots to two-time champion John Florence, and 11-time Champion Kelly Slater—despite his sporadic CT appearances throughout the year. Caio initially voiced his anger at the decision, but was fortunate enough to receive an injury replacement spot to surf at all 11 events and re-qualify for 2020. 

This year there were once again three surfers all fighting for a spot: Adriano de Souza who had missed half the year with a recurring knee injury, Mikey Wright with a chronic back injury, and Leo Fioravanti who dislocated his shoulder midway through this season. Adriano was handed the first spot, most likely because he’s a previous World Champion, Leo and Mikey will literally ‘surf off’ for the remaining wildcard position. Not over one heat, or even one event, the spot will simply go to whoever sits higher on the CT rankings after the Australian leg—Snapper, Bells, and Margaret River. 

Leo pre-blown shoulder. Photo: Red Bull

While both Leo and Mikey have short records at the first three events, it’s clear Mikey Wright has a slight historical advantage. With Mikey’s worst result being a 13th at the Quiksilver Pro (competing every year since 2016) and Leo’s best being a 25th, Mr. Wright has the advantage at event number one. At Bells, Mikey has only competed there once where he received a 17th place. His fellow Quik teammate Leo isn’t much better though with a 25th and 17th place finish. 

Margaret River becomes slightly harder to assess with Mikey only having one appearance—with half of that being surfed at Uluwatu—where came third. Leo on the other hand has a single 25th placing, but at least the event was actually surfed in Margaret River.

Finally, while previous results are typically a decent indicator of future performance, when there’s only a sample size of two they’re borderline useless. So, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see who’s higher on the rankings after Margaret River’s wrapped up next year. 

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