Novatos: Willian Cardoso Is Not Your Average “Rookie”
Introducing the CT wage-worker!
Here’s something I just learned: Willian Cardoso had never officially qualified for the Championship Tour until 2017. He surfed a handful of events as a wildcard between 2012 and 2013, even beating Slater at pumping Bells, but he was never an official member of the Tour. All up, Willian has spent the last 11 years on the QS, has narrowly missed requalification exactly five times, and recently lost his main sponsor. Considering all of these facts, 2017 was meant to be Willian’s farewell tour — his way to say “thank you” to surfing and “goodbye” to all of his lifelong Qomrades.
With no industry banking, a family to feed, and very little in the form of savings, Willian was only able to attend certain events, but he did so with gusto. A quarter in Australia, a second in Africa, a quarter in Portugal, and somehow, on his final half-funded, final attempt at requalifying, Willian only needed to make one heat in Hawaii to achieve his lifelong goal. Which he did.
So now, at the ripe age of 32, Willian Cardoso is officially a Championship Tour rookie. He joins the Top-34 alongside 19-year-old Griffin Colapinto and 21-year-old Yago Dora, whose career trajectories and 2018 outlooks will differ greatly from those of Willian.
For instance, if Griffin or Yago has a lackluster rookie season, they’ll shake it off, fall back onto the QS, and qualify one-to-three years later (all while getting paid a six-figure salary) — a la Ethan Ewing.
If Willian falls off tour, his surfing career is effectively over. He’ll be forced to relinquish his childhood dream and pick up a more consistent and professional flow of income. Gotta feed that baby somehow.
It’ll be interesting to see if this pressure acts as a positive or negative force on Willian’s Last Stand.
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