The Banzai Pipeline: no longer surfing's grand finale. Photo: WSL
WSL Says The 2021 Tour Will START In Hawaii, Finish At A "Mystery Location" In September
All of the new League updates, here.
Below is a bullet-point version of the WSL's recent announcement outlining their Tour plans for 2020, 2021, and 2022.
Bite the pillow, we're going in dry.
(All details subject to flexibility re: COVID):
- 2020 CT cancelled. It will be the CT season that never runs.
- 2020 QS events cancelled until Triple Crown - 2020 QS events pre-pandemic will combine with all events post-pandemic (2020 and 2021) for combined qualifying rankings for 2022 CT season.
- 2021 CT season scheduled to start with 2020 Hawaii CT events (Maui in November, Pipeline in December) then Portugal (February), Australian leg (Gold Coast, Bells Beach, Margaret River), Rio de Janeiro, Surf Ranch, G-Land, J-Bay, Tahiti and then the WSL Finals (the new single-day World Title Event) in September.
- This schedule will reflect the CT design moving forward - running January through September. All events will be men's and womens (Tahiti returning for women) except for Hawaii in 2021 (Maui 2020 and Pipe 2020).
- The new seasonality of the CT (January - September) shifts all the Challenger Series events (high-level QS events) to the August - December window so we have concentrated seasons. As in, surfers/sponsors/media/fans can focus better on one story at a time: the race for the World Title from January to September and the battle for qualification from August to December.
- A mid-season cut will be implemented starting in 2022 taking the men's and women's tours from 36 and 18 to 24 and 12 respectively for the back half of the season, and then Top 5 men and women compete for the World Title at The WSL Finals.
- WSL Finals format will be linear and take roughly six hours:
- No. 5 vs. No. 4
- Winner vs. No. 3
- Winner vs. No. 2
- Winner vs. No. 1 (best two out of three for the World Title)
- WSL Finals venue will not be announced today, but the timing will be September 2021.
- Between now and then, the WSL is hosting a series of regional speciality events called the WSL Countdown in USA, Australia and Europe featuring CT surfers in exhibition events teasing out what the surfers look like ahead of the CT returning.
- As noted above, ALL details subject to flexibility re: COVID.
- That said, the WSL is 100% committed to running a Championship Tour in 2021 and crowning men's and women's World Champions.
If you want to know more about the WSL's plans, listen to Dave Prodan's "The Lineup" Podcast with the WSL's Senior Vice President of Tours, Pat O'Connell, here.
If you want to know what two idiots think about proposed changes, listen to our special Stab CUSP ep with CT coach Stace Galbraith and unqualified surf critic Michael Ciaramella.
There's a lot to digest here, and frankly we're still trying to wrap our heads around it. We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments...