The WSL Finals Will Return To Trestles, El Salvador & G-Land Get Green Light
Until it’s broken don’t fix it.
The WSL took a gamble last season with the Final’s day playoffs.
The idea? Get the top 5 surfers at season’s end to surf head-to-head against each other in a superbowl format where the World Champion would be crowned irrespective of their points going into final’s day.
By most metrics it worked. Viewership numbers were the highest they’ve ever been for a Final’s day, Kelly and Mick’s commentary was incredible, and the performances of the surfers was a testament to why they all deserved to be in there after 7 events. “This new format captivated our audience and drove consumption like never before and was the most-watched day of professional surfing with the largest live digital audience in WSL history,” said WSL CEO, Erik Logan.
Gabby, who had a 11,000 point lead going into the day, would have won any regular season by a landslide before the event began. “I don’t like it because I don’t think it’s fair. You spend your life, a year-long, and now the last event in September, you’re gonna decide all your year? I don’t know about business. I don’t know how it works. They tried to do something different,” said Gabby in an interview with the New York Times.
Fair call, after making five out of seven finals at Pipe, Newy, Narrabeen, Rottnest, and The Ranch, seeing anyone other than Gabby hoisting the World Title trophy above their heads would have felt criminal. The problem is this: When you have someone like Filipe in the mix come Final’s day with a style perfectly suited to Trestles’ hi-fi crumbly peaks, it means the format preferentially favours a certain kind of surfer to win the event, and by extension, the title.
So much for well-roundedness.
So far, there’s been no harm, no foul. Gabs’ held his nerve and beat Fil. Riss Moore got the jump on Tati. The right people won, the event got massive kudos, so much so that E-Lo was applauded for his bold bet in our Most Influential Figures of 21’. This problem however, is a feature not a bug and our praise could very well age like fresh cut sashimi come next Final’s day.
Next up, the tour schedule and format.
This season, pending omicron (or next variant) not causing a clusterfuck with international travel, vax status’, and RAT results returning positive during the event window, all 51 men and women will be at El Salvador this season. El Salv, highly analogous to Mex wave-wise, is peppered with sand-bottomed point breaks, toobes, punchy sections – Ethan Ewing, this is yours bruv.
This is the first year when the men’s and women’s tour are fully combined with the same number of competitions and allocation of prize money. With new venues and a revamped Tour structure, the 2022 CT season will start with 36 men and 18 women. Halfway through the season, the field will be reduced to 24 men and 12 women.
The top-ranked surfers will automatically requalify for the 2023 CT as well as continue on to the second half of the tour, where they will be joined by two men’s wildcards and two women’s wildcards (one season wildcard and one event wildcard). CT competitors will be ranked on the best four-out-of-five results before the mid-season cut, allowing them to drop one result before CT Stop No. 6. The advancing surfers will be ranked on their best nine-out-of-10 results from the season (with all events after the mid-season cut counting) to determine the WSL Final 5.
2022 WSL Championship Tour Schedule
- Billabong Pro Pipeline – January 29 – February 10
- Hurley Pro Sunset Beach presented by Shiseido – February 11 – 23
- MEO Portugal Pro – March 3 – 13
- Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach – April 10 – 20
- Margaret River Pro – April 24 – May 4
Mid-Season Cut: 36-man and 18-woman fields reduced to 24-man and 12-woman fields.
- Quiksilver / ROXY Pro G-Land – May 28 – June 6
- Surf City El Salvador Pro presented by Corona – June 15 – 22
- Oi Rio Pro presented by Corona – June 27 – July 4
- Corona Open J-Bay – July 9 – 18
- Tahiti Pro – August 11 – 21
WSL Final 5 determined to battle for the undisputed men’s and women’s World Titles.
- Rip Curl WSL Finals, Lower Trestles, CA USA – September 8 – 16