2021 Qualifying Series and Challenger Series details

Stu Nettle
Form Guide

Last month, the Woz released details of the rejigged Championship Tour, now starting at Pipe and ending at Trestles. Many of the details were left up in the air, not only about the uncertainty of travel but also how the feeder tours would work.

The Wozzle speak of their pathways to a world title, from the junior series on up, but if the lower tours aren't running then the legitimacy of the title is in question.

This week they released the details of the new look Qualifying Series (QS) and Challenger Series (CS) circuits. It's the biggest change to the tour since the QS was introduced in '92, however there are still a lot of known unknowns, gaps in the program that are yet to be sorted out.

This is what we know so far:

  • The QS will run from January to July, with events offering between 1,000 and 5,000 points.
  • Surfers will collect points by competing in their regions, these being: Africa; Asia; Australia/Oceania; Europe; Hawaii; North America; South America.
  • Due to travel restrictions some regions might have to split into sub regions.
  • If possible a surfer may compete in another region, however he/she can't collect points, only prizemoney.
  • Surfers can rollover their best three results from 2020 (Matt Banting breathes a sigh of relief!)
  • All points from the 2020 Sydney Surf Pro get halved - assuming this is because it was a 10,000 and skews the results.
  • A surfers best five results will count towards 2021 Challenger Series qualification.
  • 96 men and 64 women are in each Challenger Series event, however taking out CT surfers and wildcards that leaves 58 men and 44 women (See below for breakdown from each region)
  • The top ten men and top six women on the 2020 QS get auto entry into the 2021 Challenger Series.
  • It's not yet known how many events will be in the Challenger Series.
  • It's not yet known how many surfers from the Challenger Series will qualify to jump up to the CT.

Got all that? Well, even if you do expect a lot of things to change in the coming months. The Woz released the 2021 QS calender and Aussie hopefuls have reason to scratch their heads as there's currently just four events, none of them are 5,000s and only one is a 3,000. The points rating of the events won't matter as much (except for the prizememoney of course), as the regions are split up, however surfers will have to make every event count, and then also grab their best event from last year, to hope for qualification.

In contrast, there are eleven events in Africa, including a 5,000 in Morocco, and a 3,000 each in Senegal and the Ivory Coast. Again, this doesn't mean African surfers are more likely to qualify, they're only allotted five places (see graph), but they have more chances to succeed and more prizemoney to fund travelling. There's currently over three times the prize purse in the African tour compared to Australia - $190,000 vs $60,000.

The Woz says the new structure will, "provide a more streamlined and affordable career pathway for WSL athletes by allowing up-and-coming surfers to develop closer to home without financially overleveraging themselves."

With COVID still on the march, 2021 will be full of uncertainty, hence the news coming out of Woz HQ is full of words like 'if' and 'might'. Word is they're also planning contingencies for the Championship Tour should travel get more difficult through the middle of next year.

CT surfers will be in Australia up to mid-May for the rejigged Snapper event, and organisers are quietly putting things in place for two more possible CTs here in Australia should they need them. One is at a freshly minted venue, the other is a city beach that hasn't seen CT action in decades.

Comments

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Friday, 4 Dec 2020 at 3:48pm

Sorry mate . I think I missed something here .

Where are the other 2 CT venues besides Snapper ?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Friday, 4 Dec 2020 at 3:50pm

In Oz? Bells at the start of April, Margs at the end. Then Snapper mid-May, and, just maybe, two more after that.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Friday, 4 Dec 2020 at 3:56pm

5 in Oz ?

What the fuck ?

Narrabeen / Manly and......?

Please tell me it’s on the East coast . Please tell me it’s not in WA .

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Friday, 4 Dec 2020 at 3:58pm

Three confirmed, the other two are a contingency plan.

Would you be concerned if I said it was Trigg Point?

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Friday, 4 Dec 2020 at 6:03pm

Concerned ? I’d be elated.

Actually, no I wouldn’t enjoy that at all. Too much opportunity for strike missions .

Keep the country.....country.

johnson's picture
johnson's picture
johnson Monday, 7 Dec 2020 at 10:39am

Newcastle?

And for the new location, please tell me they're not considering the Melbourne Wavepool? It would certainly be a tempting, predictable option for event organisers in a time of so much uncertainty (and might explain the Ranch's absence from the calendar this year).

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Friday, 4 Dec 2020 at 4:55pm

"This week they released the details of the new look Qualifying Series (QS) and Challenger Series (CS) circuits. "

Where's the info on the CS circuit?

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude Saturday, 5 Dec 2020 at 9:21am

All sounds a bit believe it when we see it. They’ve certainly got a task on their hands.

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond Saturday, 5 Dec 2020 at 9:40am

I just flicked on the surf comp that's being run at Narooma wall today. I watched windswell lapping in the morning sun for 2 minutes, didn't see a wave ridden, with Reggae Ellis commentating. It seemed like an event from 1986. 50 years of pro surfing and this is the evolution. The WSL, and pro surfing in general have been flogging a dead horse for decades. This week shows that having flexible schedules to pinpoint swells is the key. The chicks missed classic Honolua, even though they were probably all there surfing. Same with Pipe. Happens every year. How many classic Snapper days have been 2 days before the forecast waiting period. Dunno what the solution is, maybe trimming down the numbers on the tour so they can get up and go but watching that dribble this morning only makes surf contests look ridiculous. Feel for the crew that have put their hard earned into being there for it.

Jamyardy's picture
Jamyardy's picture
Jamyardy Saturday, 5 Dec 2020 at 12:29pm

Looks like that Narooma comp got cancelled part way through ... blown away

Ben Harding's picture
Ben Harding's picture
Ben Harding Monday, 7 Dec 2020 at 8:59pm

Couldn't agree more BD, it's beyond frustrating for the everyday man with nothing on the line surfing slop so makes you wonder how and why they do it? With the WSL, I'm not sure what their constraints are, but fucks me how the can't run an event a week earlier when it's cooking and will continue to cook for consecutive days...

dave-mailman's picture
dave-mailman's picture
dave-mailman Saturday, 5 Dec 2020 at 9:44am

Wow! When I was president of ASP Europe in 2010 that's the exact format a few non-decision makers and I proposed to ASP International: Regional qualifying tours to keep the expenses down and give people experience locally; the Super Series for the back 100 as a stepping stone to the WCT; and then the WCT. "Not fair", they said. "Too complicated', they said. "Never work", they said. In the meantime, as a 30-something, recreational surfer, I surfed in at least 6 Super Series/Prime events and was rated 450th out of 1000 in the world the year of the single ranking system. And a decade later, here we are. Gotta love pro surfing.

Lord Humongous's picture
Lord Humongous's picture
Lord Humongous Monday, 7 Dec 2020 at 7:50pm

You and Alexander El Naib (there is a story there) battling it out - though i know you would have smoked him. ;)

dave-mailman's picture
dave-mailman's picture
dave-mailman Monday, 7 Dec 2020 at 9:47pm

Alexander El Naib! Now that is a blast from the past. One of my biggest regrets was never getting him in a heat. Haha! I commentated plenty of his though. I can still remember a day at the Lacanau Pro when he couldn't even make it through the shorebreak and had to surf inside foamies his whole heat. In his defense, Lacanau closeouts were a bitch!

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond Saturday, 5 Dec 2020 at 10:17am

I'm jaded Davey! I just wanna see the worlds best surfers in the worlds best waves. They promised us!!! haha. Good job getting to 450th. Thats epic! And sick that you had a crack at getting the format right. They need crew like you at the helm!!
Btw: i'm sure i'll forgive and forget the current woes of my poor privileged life at the first sign of Pipe rumbling to life and watching them throw themselves over the ledge...for free...online. ;-)

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot Saturday, 5 Dec 2020 at 10:38am

G-land date tbc on wsl site. Good chance it won’t run?

Vic Local's picture
Vic Local's picture
Vic Local Saturday, 5 Dec 2020 at 10:51am

Let's hope so GF. Can you imagine the crowds for years to come if the WSL got epic waves. Circuses and jungles don't mix.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot Saturday, 5 Dec 2020 at 10:53am

Now that’s one thing we do agree on ha!
All seriousness though it doesn’t need a comp there. It’s a beautiful special place and doesn’t need the hype, and yes the crowds to follow

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Saturday, 5 Dec 2020 at 12:51pm

By my uneducated estimation- and this is open to debate - there would be less than 100 people in the world who would directly benefit by a spot such as G Land being on tour and approximately 50,000 people who would lose out some joy of the G Land experience when the event inevitably leads to increased crowds and development.

esco's picture
esco's picture
esco Saturday, 5 Dec 2020 at 3:41pm

G-land going from tbd to not being on the list at all filled my heart with joy.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot Saturday, 5 Dec 2020 at 7:52pm

Where is the list you saw esco?

esco's picture
esco's picture
esco Sunday, 6 Dec 2020 at 12:04pm

Just going by WSL site. When they updated the 2021 season and listed the events G-land was on the list on a TBD basis. Then when the WSL came out with their WQS schedule and new strategy of regional qualifying series G-land was left of the list. Looks like the Rio event was moved into what previously the end of the G-land event window. https://www.worldsurfleague.com/events/2021/mct https://www.worldsurfleague.com/events/2021/mct

Troz's picture
Troz's picture
Troz Sunday, 6 Dec 2020 at 8:56am

Trigg is actually pretty good thru april /may. Puntable ramps and the odd barrel, people will be suprised. Pro surfers will have to be less fussy, the dream tour days are over.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Sunday, 6 Dec 2020 at 1:16pm

Swan surfing super series !

Lord Humongous's picture
Lord Humongous's picture
Lord Humongous Monday, 7 Dec 2020 at 7:59pm

The Phillishave Tracer Trigg Point Pro!

I remember the commentator well as a grom - "Cheyne Horan takes off right, Tommy Carroll goes left, Cheyne Horan, one floater, two floaters, three floaters, four floaters, five floaters".

Five to the beach on his Zap with a Lexcen fin.

jacksprat's picture
jacksprat's picture
jacksprat Sunday, 6 Dec 2020 at 2:34pm

G Land, the jungle? Seriously? There's a road going in there and 3 camps. The deluxe rooms have air con, cable TV and room service. By graft and bribes the camps are in the middle of a national park. I'd say the train has probably left on that one.

johnson's picture
johnson's picture
johnson Monday, 7 Dec 2020 at 10:28am

Makes no sense that they're leaving 34 spots open for WCT surfers at the CS events.

By the time the CS starts, the WCT surfers already know whether they've qualified for the next year or not. It'll only be the 10 men who miss the cut who'll bother chasing the whole CS series. A few might want to enter for practice/prizemoney when there is an event close to home, but shouldn't that be what the wildcard spots are for?

They'd be far better off increasing the numbers for each region and only leaving 10-12 spots open for WCT crew.

simsurf's picture
simsurf's picture
simsurf Monday, 7 Dec 2020 at 10:33am

Pretty sure no one missed not having a Snapper Rocks Pro this year, in fact everyone i talked too was more than slightly elated. The biggest drama we had this year was when they closed the carpark and cleared Snapper to film some guy body boarding in two foot surf that apparently was meant to be Hawaii. Apparently it was for a miniseries about the Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (?).

adsi's picture
adsi's picture
adsi Monday, 7 Dec 2020 at 3:18pm

htf do they get away with clearing everyone out the water at snapper to film ? Wouldn't think they'd be allowed to do that

simsurf's picture
simsurf's picture
simsurf Monday, 7 Dec 2020 at 3:30pm

I guess it's same principle as the WSL taking over. Get council permits and the ocean is yours. They had two police officers on jet skis clearing the line up.

adsi's picture
adsi's picture
adsi Monday, 7 Dec 2020 at 3:21pm

Surprised they've pushed snapper to early may, much better chance during mid march to late april no ?
Guess they'll just go down to dbah or back to straddie if its small again.