Qualification: Crunching the numbers before the World Cup
Over the weekend the penultimate comp of the Qualification Series (QS) finished. Not only was the Hawaiian Pro the second last comp of the year, it was also the second last chance to get big points; there are only five 10,000 point comps on the QS and the Hawaiian Pro and the upcoming World Cup are two of them.
As usual, the top ten surfers of the QS will jump up to the 2019 Championship Tour, but if a top ten surfer has also qualified on the CT then the next QS surfer- i.e the 11th surfer - will get the spot. If two surfers double qualify then the 12th, three surfers double qualify then the 13th etc.
The cut off for qualification changes year by year. Last year it was relatively low at 16,040, the year before that 18,750, and in 2015 it was 20,450.
This year is shaping up to be another low qualifying year. WSL numbers guy Al Hunt has pegged it as somewhere between 15,000 and 17,000.
Using the top number, 17,000, then there are already seven surfers qualified:
Two of those surfers, Igarashi and Colapinto, will double qualify which opens up the field (the DQs also partly explain the lower cut off mark this year).
The next group of surfers need a moderate result to make the cut. All of them are holding decent points down to their fifth best result so they'll need to get 17th (2,200) or higher just to improve their overall points. Keep in mind that if they don't improve their standings then they'll be overtaken.
Interestingly, all of them are ex-CTers looking to requalify.
From here south is where things get desperate. These are the surfers that need a big result to make it, at the upper end a 9th place (3,800 points) might just get them over the line, but for all of them a 5th place (5,300) or higher is required to lock it off.
Of course with so many points on offer for making the Final - 1st 10,000, 2nd 8,000, 3rd 6,500, 4th 6,300 - there's always a chance of big jumps up the ratings. For instance, Mateus Herdy jumped 49 places to 12th for his second place finish on the weekend.
So while anyone in the top 50 could win the World Cup and collect enough points to qualify, there'll only ever be one or two big movers at best.
The other point of interest is that there are fewer low end CT surfers fighting for qualification than past years. Jesse Mendes is the highest ranked surfer outside of the CT top 22, and he's in 13th on the QS.
There may be a late surge but many struggling CT surfers have left their QS charge too late.