Stab Magazine | Only 0.0000014 Percent Of Surfers Will Qualify For The Tour

Only 0.0000014 Percent Of Surfers Will Qualify For The Tour

A few gents just joined that slim statistic. 

news // Dec 6, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Consider this, a kid coming out of college with NBA hoop dreams has about a 1.3 percent chance of playing pro ball. College football players can expect a two percent chance of being drafted into the NFL. But in surfing, the chance of qualifying for the tour plummets to 0.0000014 percent (based on an estimated 23 million surfers worldwide). And based off the 1240 surfers on the QS, the chance of making it to the show is .02. The comparison illuminates two points: First, kids, stay in school. Second, when surfers do qualify for the CT, we shouldn’t immediately write them off. Even if you’re not a Jadson Andre fan, his end-of-the-year sprint is admirable.

In 2007 Jordy Smith and Dane Reynolds finished one and two on the QS, respectively, and graduated to the Championship Tour. In 2011 John John Florence, Gabriel Medina and Kolohe Andino all fought their way into the Bigs. 2016 will not go down as a year that groundbreaking talent came of age. Instead, it will be remembered for its diversity and international flavour.

That said, don’t expect guys like Connor O’Leary, Frederico Morais and Ian Gouveia to move a tonne of WSL jerseys next year. Outside of their regional bubbles, they’re low profile surfers (consider O’Leary’s 7k Instagram followers compared to rookie Conner Coffin’s 80k). It’s up to the WSL media machine to turn them into characters, but don’t hold your breath. Peter King’s #Tournotes is the closest the WSL’s been able to come to generating personality, and it’s unclear if anybody cares what Frederico Morais does in his spare time.

More than any group, the Euros have the most to celebrate. Italy gets its first surfer on tour next year—guaranteed webcasters Joe Turpel and Martin Potter will refer to Leo Fioravanti as “the Italian Stallion” at least a hundred times before the Quik Pro’s even over. Capbreton tube-stalker Joan Duru is also new. Both should have an immediate impact, especially in waves of consequence. Jeremy Flores is currently sitting 33rd on the CT ratings and needs a huge result at Pipe to qualify, but he’s safe on the QS at a comfortable seventh.

The Aussies have reason for applause. Connor O’Leary won the QS, but the emergence of young Ethan Ewing is the big news. He exploded onto the scene this year with a runner-up finish at the U.S. Open, which slung him onto the CT. Regarding style he’s already garnering comparisons to Andy Irons, but wouldn’t it be great if he had the same fire in his belly as the deceased world champ? Oh, and after a forgettable rookie year on the CT, Jack Freestone saved his skin with a tenth place finish on the QS.

For Portugal, Frederico Morais is fronting the Triple Crown ratings right now and will finish third on the QS. Behind him, Jadson Andre enjoyed a year-end surge up the QS ratings to save himself. Ian Gouveia will round out the Brazilian offering. Much like Australia’s Ewing, he’s young with and unproven track record, but he will bring a much-needed injection of youthful energy to the tour. A little further down the QS rankings, don’t be surprised to see Bino Lopes and Jesse Mendes also called up for duty next year. They finished 12th and 13th on the QS, respectively, so there’s probably some alternate slots they’ll fill if surfers retire or suffer injury.

And for the Americans, Kanoa Igarashi sits safely on the QS at fifth. He put up a fight during his rookie year on tour. He made it out of Round 1 or Round 2 in every contest, finishing 13th in all but one event, which he finished 9th. He sits at 24th on the CT ratings and with a good result at Pipe he could qualify through the CT. If he does, it means Hawaiian Zeke Lau (11th on the QS) gets a ticket to the dance. Tanner Gudauskas may also end up serving time on the CT next year. He’s sitting at 14th, and like Lopes and Mendes he could fill in as an alternate at some point.

It’s still unknown what older surfers like Joel Parkinson and Mick Fanning are going to do in 2017. And it’s unclear if Owen Wright will be able to compete next year after spending this season recovering from a traumatic head injury. Depending on who does what, it could open up a few more spots on the CT, but as it stands, this is your crop of (mostly) new characters for the 2017 WSL Championship Tour season.

The QS Top Ten:
1. Connor O’Leary
2. Ethan Ewing
3. Frederico Morais
4. Joan Duru
5. Kanoa Igarashi
6. Leonardo Fioravanti
7. Jeremy Flores
8. Jadson Andre
9. Ian Gouveia
10. Jack Freestone


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