WSL Drama: Four Surfers Are Tied For The Last CT Spots, Only Two Will Make It
Time to bust out the WSL rulebook.
UPDATE: an earlier version of this article claimed that only one CT spot was up for grabs between the four surfers tied for 20th. This failed to account for the spot that Adriano de Souza will be relinquishing vis a vis his retirement, which will go to the next CT surfer in line. In this case, Seth Moniz.
A couple days ago, the French Polynesian government told the WSL they could no longer run their upcoming Teahupo’o event, as a result of Tahiti’s heightened levels of covid 19.
This came as a complete shock to most CT surfers, who didn’t hear the news until halfway through the Corona Open Mexico. It was particularly troubling for those who were relying on Teahupo’o to either get into the top 5 or requalify for next year’s tour. As it played out, any last-minute heroics would have to happen on the playful walls of Barra de la Cruz — a feat achieved by Conner Coffin, Jack Robinson, Deivid Silva, Jadson Andre, and Kelly Slater.
Other surfers were not so fortunate. Owen Wright and Michel Bourez, both of whom have a decade-plus on tour, have failed to requalify for 2022. Owen is a powerhouse at Chopes and would have been a heavy favorite to re-instate his tour card with a solid result there. Michel’s competitive history in Tahiti is admittedly bleak, but with his back against the wall and a home crowd on his shoulders, who would’ve bet against the Spartan?
Hypotheticals aside, a very real situation is brewing after the Barra event. With just 20 men requalifying from this year’s tour (typically it’s 22), and only 5 events counting toward their season totals (typically it’s 8 or 9), the margin for error was smaller than ever. Every point mattered, and wouldn’t you know it, the math gods decided to have a good chuckle by providing a four-way tie for the last two men’s qualifying spot (as the 15th ranked Adriano de Souza will be relinquishing his spot, thus opening up one for space for a CT qualifier).
Jeremy Flores, Julian Wilson, Seth Moniz, and Miguel Pupo are counting the same set of event scores from 2021, meaning there’s no way to separate them from one another. We asked the WSL what this would mean in regards to who gets the last qualifying spot, and they said, succinctly, “Tie gets broken based off rulebook.”
So, what does the rulebook have to say on this matter? According to Chapter 1.09, Article C:
In the case of a tie relating to Surfers ranked twenty (20) in the year-end CT Rankings, the following applies:
– (i) the results from their best counting Regular Season CT Events in that Surfing Season will be considered, counting back to their best counting Regular Season CT Event to attempt to break the tie. If one Surfer betters the other as this is applied, the tie is broken, and that Surfer will take the twenty (20) spot. If the tie is not broken, clause (ii) will apply;
– (ii) the Surfer with the higher total number of heat wins at the Regular Season CT Events in that Surfing Season will fill the twenty (20) spot and the lower ranked Surfer will not re-qualify; provided, however, that if there is still a tie, the Surfer with the higher average heat score from the CT that Surfing Season will fill the twenty (20) spot and the lower ranked Surfer will not re-qualify.
Now, we can’t forget that Jeremy Flores (un)officially retired this year, so he’s not likely to petition for his spot to be re-instated.
Similarly, Julian Wilson said he’s taking a break from competition. Jules didn’t clarify how long that break would be, but smart money says he stays on sabbatical until Australia opens its borders — which doesn’t look likely prior to the 2022 CT season.
Taking this into consideration, plus the fact that Miguel Pupo and Seth Moniz have better throwaway scores than Julian and Jeremy, they should theoretically earn the two remaining spots on the 2022 tour. We’ll wait for the final word from the WSL.
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