Mikey Wright, Kelly Slater, And The World Tour Wildcard Dilemmas For 2019
Gossip Girl: The Wild Surf League Wildcard edition, and who’s fuming over it.
Here’s how the rumor goes.
With four events left on the CT and three injured surfers, the two allotted wildcard slots for the 2019 World Tour will be going (drumroll please) to Sir John Florence and the greatest surfer to ever break a foot, Kelly Slater.
Meanwhile, Caio Ibelli – who suffered a season-ending foot injury prior to the Drug Unaware Pro—after a botched straight air ricocheted his foot into a space boot—will be defaulted to back to the QS.
In the past three years, John John's won two World Titles (2016 being arguably the most dominating year by any professional surfer). In 2018, John followed this up with his least winning competitive effort since 2009, when the surf industry nearly left him sitting in the lineup of Log Cabins.
This year, John’s best result is a 9th place at the Oi Rio Pro and a silver medal at the Molokai 2 Oahu paddle race. Following John’s busted knee at Keramas, the injury wildcard is his to hold.
No surprises there.
Over the course of nearly two of John Florence’s lifetimes, Kelly Slater’s won: 6x JJF WT (- 1). He holds a stake in the WSL. You may have seen his wave pool. Angels & Airwaves is playing there in a couple weeks, and he has sat out the majority of the 2018 season due to an injury similar to Mr Ibelli’s.
Kelly and Caio are tied for 37th on the CT rankings. Caio has three 25th-place finishes, four injury finishes. Kelly holds six injury finishes and one 25th at J-Bay. Caio has two more round two exits than Kelly and ipso facto Kelly obtains the wildcard. Caio is out for the Surf Ranch Pro, where Kelly will likely surf… although we do not have confirmation of that nor does the WSL have the heat draws set up on their three-day experience site: wslsurfranchpro.com.
There have also been many reported complaints due to Mikey Wright’s 2018 perma-wildcard.
He will, once again, be awarded the wildcard for Lemoore.
The QS contingent are absolutely stewing over Mikey’s perpetual invitation; wildcards into CT events usually fall on the top three or so guys doing the Q.
Right now, Kanoa Igarashi and Griff Colapinto are slated to both qualify through the QS and CT (Kanoa: 2nd on the QS/16th on the CT, Griff: 3rd on the QS/13th on the CT). The next potential wildcards would presumably be first-placed Seth Moniz of Hawaii and runner-up Peterson Crisanto of Brazil.
Mr. Crisanto is followed by fellow Brazilians Jaddy Andre, Alejo Muniz and David Silva. We can’t say who has been the most vocal, but connect whatever dots you’d like.
This year, Mikey Wright has repeatedly been awarded the Commissioner’s Wildcard, granted by Kieren Perrow.
In the past, this wildcard has been granted to those leading the QS rankings. Because of this, some gentlemen of the Q feel they have not been given an even chance to show their worth amongst the world's best.
However, many agree, including the Commish and Kelly Slater, that Mikey has earned his perma-wildcard position for 2018 – while only sitting out Bells this year, Mikey is ranked 11th on the CT (8th on the QS) with two semifinal finishes, one quarterfinal finish and zero round two exits.
When Mikey was awarded the wildcard to J-Bay, we reported that the CTers were filing complaints about his status on the CT (See: Brendan Buckley’s Which CT Surfers Have Been Filing Complaints About Mikey Wright?)
And now, we can wonder which QSers are doing the same.
Until next time xoxo,