2021 Challenger Series Finalised

Stu Nettle picture
Stu Nettle (stunet)
Form Guide

Before C19 got stuck like a chicken bone in our collective throat, the Woz had planned to insert a third tour into their thirty-year-old ranking system.

The plan was that the Challenger Series, or CS, and not the Qualifying Series, would decide who surfs on the following year's CT. The QS would be extensive and run through the first 3/4 of the year, with the highest-ranked QS surfers then performing on the limited CS - which would also include CT surfers in the draw - to decide the coming Top 34 Mens and Top 16 Women.

With C19 almost cleared...not quite, but whatever...the Woz has pulled the trigger on the 2021 CS, and the details are as follows:

  • US Open of Surfing: Huntington Beach, California, USA, September 20 - 26, 2021
  • MEO Pro Ericeira: Ericeira, Portugal, October 2 - 10, 2021
  • Quiksilver/ROXY Pro France: Capbreton/Hossegor/Seignosse, Landes, France, October 16 - 24, 2021
  • Haleiwa Challenger: Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA, November 25 - December 7, 2021

The US Open is the first event on the 2021 Challenger Series

The original draw had the CS going to Piha in NZ and holding a Women's event at Phillip Island, plus a combined event at Sunset, for a total of eight CS event. We could assume that, once we're all breathing clearly again, the number of CS events will creep up.

More details of how the CS events will be run:

The Challenger Series field will include 96 men and 64 women, made up of 34 men and 17 women from the CT, 58 men and 44 women that are allocated by the WSL regions, two men’s and women’s World Junior wildcards, and two men’s and one women’s wildcards. Any unused CT spots will become wildcards.

This season, athletes will be able to roll over points from their best Qualifying Series event in 2020. The 2021 Challenger Series rankings will be comprised of a surfer’s best three results out of five events, the four 2021 events and one 2020 event. 


stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 8:28am

Overnight, the Australia/Oceania qualifiers for the Challenger Series were announced. They are:


1. Matt Banting

2. Reef Heazlewood

3. Callum Robson

4. Jacob Willcox

5. Liam O’Brien

6. Sheldon Simkus

7. Kalani Ball (pictured)

8. Jackson Baker

9. Dylan Moffat

10. Billy Stairmand


1. Molly Picklum

2. Sophie McCulloch

3. Zahli Kelly

4. Philippa Anderson

5. Freya Prumm

6. Kobie Enright

7. India Robinson

8. Dimity Stoyle

The first event of the four-event CS is the US Open which begins in September.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude Friday, 12 Nov 2021 at 11:40am


Looks like sanity has prevailed. Reading between the WSL speak, sounds as though the surfers kicked up a stink and got what they wanted.

Fair do as well. Why the fuck should an already qualified person (ie Kanoa) be able to compete on the CS and take a spot from a hard grafting up and comer with nary a sponser to his name. Bloody greedy if you ask me.

Also if the WSL continues to try to shape the tour by untransparently gifting wild cards to their favourites or reality tv stars they are going further down the gurgler of ‘professional sport’ then anyone could have realised. Maybe they want it to me more like WWE ??

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Friday, 12 Nov 2021 at 11:55am

yep, the qualifying process was becoming a joke.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude Friday, 12 Nov 2021 at 12:04pm

You’d seriously have to consider if going down this pathway was worth it if you were a gifted teen surfer.

Might be better to surf like a champ on the weekends whilst putting your energy into getting that trade or degree.