So, This Is How The New WSL Format Looks
Leaks from yesterday’s mandatory closed session: A three-month QS season and a title-decider in the Mentawais!
Yesterday, in a mandatory closed session, the WSL met with its athletes to unveil a radical new shift in professional surfing.
And the surfers – at least, those who’ve never felt a World Title beneath their belts – are less than enthused. But we must say, we love the sound of it.
In true WSL style, the lion’s share of details will be spilt via leaks. But, here’s what we’ve been told:
– Instead of crowning a champ at Pipe, the WCT’s regular season will… BEGIN in Hawaii, in February.
– The CT season will end in September. (Possibly, at Teahupoo.)
– Instead of being decided by accumulated points, the World Champ will be crowned in primetime at a specialty event, held in Indonesia and featuring only the tour’s top shelf…
– At the end of the season, the top six men and top four women will compete in an event, most likely in the Mentawais, to establish the World Champion, in what will presumably be the largest scale production event in the sport’s history.
– To win the World Championship, the sixth-ranked surfer will go against the fifth, the winner of that against fourth, and so on, until the final matchup: Whoever’s made it through will face the world ranked number one.
– The Qualifying Series will commence immediately after the title’s decided, operating in similar fashion to Minor Leagues in other pro sports, and allowing a level playing field and open schedule for CT surfers to compete and re-qualify, or train and enjoy an actual off-season.
– The QS Season will run from September through to December and end in Hawaii, presumably with the Triple Crown.
According to multiple sources, all of whom asked to remain anonymous, the new concept was met with resistance from a respectable portion of the tour. Here’s a sample:
“It’s a fucking joke,” a familiar source tells Stab. “It’s so strange. Not only that, it makes the rest of the tour feel like it’s the Qualifying Series. It diminishes it. I think the objective is to try and make it like a Superbowl, or the World Series with, like, playoffs. They’re trying their hardest to make surfing sellable as a sport. It feels elitist, like it only favours the names who are already big. John John was like, “Yeah, that’s sick.” But he’s already got a World Title. If they want to go and cherry-pick people and do specialty events – like this wavepool event, where it’s basically only people who have won World Titles – that’s fine, go and do it. But if you’re a someone who claws his way to seventh in the world and by the numbers you’re just behind number three and you don’t get a chance to go for the title, that’s bullshit. There’s a lot of good surfers out there who deserve the chance, and it just feels elitist. In the short-term, it’s pretty cool, this new direction, and I get it. But long-term, it feels like something is leaving the sport. It isn’t rebellious, it isn’t subcultural. They’re just trying so hard to sell it. But these guys are going to do what they want to do. They’re the money.”
It’s been no secret that big changes were coming down the pike for the WSL, with leadership changes and rumblings of fundamental shakeups, not to mention an as-of-yet-unannounced-but-by-all-accounts-confirmed wavepool event just weeks away.
Here’s what the WSL’s Senior Vice President of Global Identity, Dave Prodan, had to say:
“Surfing is a sport and culture born of evolution and innovation. As an organization, the WSL strives to honor this same spirit in our commitment to championing the world’s best surfing.
We’re currently in discussion to bring exciting change to the sport with the tour calendar and the determination of the WSL Champions. We’re having these discussions with our surfers and our key stakeholders and the conversations have been very engaged and encouraging.
We look forward to releasing details when we are ready.”
Details will surely continue to drip in over the coming weeks, but no consensus has been reached yet.
Stay tuned, we will have more breaking WSL news in a matter of hours!
Stab In The Dark With Italo Ferreira, Episode 4
And the shaper behind 2023’s best high-performance shortboard is…
Your Loss, Tahiti’s Win
Betonline.AG are donating 100% of their earnings (your losses) from Lemoore towards Tahitian flood victims.
The Surf Ranch Pro Preview: 2% Wildcards, Sudden-Death Duels, And Game Theory
Same swamp, (slightly) different rodeo.
Exclusive: Stab Speaks With El Niño
"I’m just focusing on staying potent, moist and warm. I’m not really thinking that far…
Watch: Gabriel Medina Ping Pongs Off Brazil’s Most Exclusive Pool Coping Before Lemoore
'The waves at Boa Vista Village are so extravagant, they come with their own personal…
Stop Yelling At The Air Reverse
I will no longer tolerate senseless attacks on the go-backwards community.
“He Fingerpainted BEACH HEAD In Big, Bloody Letters Across The Wooden Table”
Ian Crane describes his dysfunctional European escapades.
SEOTY: How Does A Mediterranean Surfer Get This Good?
Watch Barcelona’s Hugo Ortega’s ‘Bad Influencer.’
Another Reminder Of How Stacked This Year’s Challenger Series Is
All rail, no brakes with Shion Crawford
Cole Houshmand Weaponizes Powerful Diff To Bank 18.97 Points In North Narra Final
Issy Nichols gets a w, Aussies lead the Challenger Series.
Why Do So Many Surfers Wear Chains Now?
We asked, Italo Ferreira and 8 other surfers weighed in.
2% Book Two Spots In Lemoore, 16-Year-Old Ladybird Makes North Narra Finals
A howling southerly puts the remaining four heats on standby.
The Stab Interview: Brisa Hennessy
The Olympian and CT winner competed this whole season while battling a brain tumor.
“Brazilians Don’t Mess Around On Jet Skis Or Dance Floors”
The Vans Duct Tape Festival does Rio.
Dane Reynolds To Continue Love Affair With Buell Wetsuits
Plus, a hefty giveaway to celebrate.
Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.
Already a member? Sign In
Want to join? Sign Up