WSL Retracts Its New Double-Qualifier Rule At Behest Of Petitioning QS Surfers, Some With Shaving-Creamed(?) Nipples - Stab Mag
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A small but meaningful victory for surfing's underclass. Photo: WSL

WSL Retracts Its New Double-Qualifier Rule At Behest Of Petitioning QS Surfers, Some With Shaving-Creamed(?) Nipples

Email leak reveals WSL’s change of heart.

news // Nov 5, 2021
Words by Michael Ciaramella
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The WSL completely changed its Championship Tour feeder system this year.

They split the QS into two separate tours (the Qualifying Series, which is by region, and the Challenger Series, which brings the best surfers from the QS to compete on international soil for a designated number of CT spots); changed the number of qualifiers from 10 to 12 for the men, 5 to 6 for the women; and terminated the rule where double-qualifier spots would go to the next QS surfer in line.

It’s this last point that rubbed some prospective CT surfers the wrong way. So much so that they decided to start a petition against the WSL.

In a widely circulated Challenger Series group thread, athletes shared their views about why the new rule was so unjust, citing former double-qualifier beneficiary, current World #5 Morgan Cibilic’s success as evidence that the double-qualifier rule should remain intact. Others, like Crosby Colapinto, decided to lighten the collective mood by submitting topless photos of himself with maybe whipped cream, but based on consistency and shape of the mounds, most likely shaving cream, on his nipples.

Crosby was reportedly removed from the group chat.

With the help of World Professional Surfers (the surfers’ union) leader Christian Bessera, a petition was drafted and circulated, with well over 100 WSL surfers giving it their stamp of approval. And it wasn’t just a bunch of Johnny Bangsitfourtimes signing the doc to delay their inevitable surf coaching/manual labor/real estate careers — CT stars like Gabriel Medina, Filipe Toledo, and Tatiana Weston-Webb also supported the cause with their weighty namesakes.

Kanoa, spinning and consequently winning heats in France. Photo: Laurent Masurel/WSL

Speaking of heavy hitters, Kanoa Igarashi, who is a CT top-10er currently leading the Challenger Series, was vocally opposed to this rule in an interview with Stab last week.

“All of a sudden, I didn’t want to beat anyone [in the France CS event]. I felt like I was surfing for WSL…to give them a spot. That didn’t feel right. I think the rule was better the way it was before,” Kanoa said.

These sentiments were heard loud and clear by the WSL, who just a couple of hours ago, sent an email to their athletes rescinding the double-qualifier rule change and guaranteeing a fair and transparent qualification process in 2021.

The following email, sent by a League official, was forwarded to Stab by multiple CS sources:

Hi everyone, 

Hope you are all well and are enjoying your break before Haleiwa if you are competing. 

I wanted to address directly with you all the issues you raised through the CS surfer reps to us regarding the ” double qualifier rule”. Specifically, I want to acknowledge on behalf of the Tours and Competition team the unintended, but very real consequences and stresses that this rule has brought to all of our surfers competing this year. 

As this is the first year that we have had the rule in place, we are also learning in real-time with you all. We did not anticipate how impactful this rule would be. 

I would like to commit to you that we will not be taking any wildcards on behalf of the WSL in 2021.  For 2021 we will qualify ‘ double qualifiers’ onto our Championship Tour. The full 12 spots for men and 6 spots for women available will come from the challenger series. 

Going forward, we will review this rule with your pool of surfer reps. As every year the circumstances around the double qualifiers are different, we will review the double qualifier rule with your surfer reps post WSL Finals with the intention of providing clarity for the back half of the challenger season. The rule exists for flexibility around injuries for our top surfers. 

Finally – I would like to thank everyone for your commitment to the tour and the season that we have had so far. The Challenger Series is an important new tour for us, and we have been working hard on creating a platform for all of you to shine. Thank you for the open and honest feedback, and I hope that it will continue between us.

Connor O’Leary wants his spot on Tour back. This rule change will help him dearly. Photo: – WSL / LAURENT MASUREL

You have to give it to the WSL, this is a classy move.

They recognized that they messed up, owned it, and promised to do better moving forward. Former versions of the League would have stuck their heads in the sand, thinking they know better than athletes and fans alike. But we applaud their open ears and lack of ego in this situation — it really is for the best.

Here’s what the current men’s CS rankings look like. With the rule change, the qualifying line just moved to #15.

With Kanoa, Griff, and Leo officially out of the running, Jacko Baker and Jordy Lawler just got a little pep in their step.

The women’s rankings have not changed.

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