WSL introduces the Challenger Series in 2020

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

Overnight, Wozzle HQ fired off a press release that announced "a new level of competition that will provide athletes more opportunities at the highest level." Called the Challenger Series it hovers somewhere between the QS and CT.

However, it's not a third tier of competition but is still housed within the existing QS series.

Confused? So were we.

Jadson Andre currently leads the QS

In reality, the Challenger Series is a way for the Wozzle to spruce up the oft-neglected Qualifying Series. So much energy goes into the CT, yet it's the level below, the QS, that provides the pathway to the top.

And as surfing increases in popularity the QS is increasingly congested. Cut-off limits that once only applied to Hawaiian events are now enforced at every 10,000 event.

No-one gets to the top without good results in those 10,000 events, so the WSL has gathered them together, added three more, one for the men, two for the women, and rebadged them as the Challenger Series.

“We’re excited to announce the Challenger Series for 2020,” said Travis Logie, the Wozzle's Senior Manager Tours and Competition. “This new level of event and competition will provide greater opportunity for elite qualification, visibility for the next generation of surfers, and a marketing platform for our regional partners."

Expect the Challenger Series to have webcasts similar to CT contests, with equivalent marketing and promotion.

2020 WSL Challenger Series Schedule:

Piha, New Zealand (March), Men’s and Women’s 
Ballito, South Africa (July), Men’s 
Huntington Beach, USA (August), Men’s and Women’s
Pantin, Spain (September), Men’s and Women’s
Ericeira, Portugal (September), Men’s
Phillip Island, Australia (November), Women’s 
Haleiwa, Hawaii (November), Men’s
Sunset, Hawaii (December), Men’s

Read the press release here


freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 10 Sep 2019 at 10:06am

ah, there's the Piha comp.

Bustard's picture
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Bustard commented Tuesday, 10 Sep 2019 at 10:42am

calling Bobby Martinez....your tennis tour has arrived...wozzle didnt even attempt to rename the series.

NDC's picture
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NDC commented Tuesday, 10 Sep 2019 at 10:45am

Tennis has a Challenger circuit

I think the ASP was still the controlling entity when Bobby Martinez unleashed his "dumb, fucken wanna be tennis tour" remarks ( ) - he might be at home now having a chuckle about the WSLs "Challenger" circuit although unlike me I somehow doubt he'll be watching it - or will he?

Nick Bone's picture
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Nick Bone commented Tuesday, 10 Sep 2019 at 12:45pm

Haha. I was like P.I? Then I remembered what Huntington is like

I am the bone

lost's picture
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lost commented Monday, 16 Sep 2019 at 6:09pm

Wooly has some mighty fine beach breaks and if the comp can move around the island then lots of options for different winds and swell.


ringmaster's picture
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ringmaster commented Tuesday, 10 Sep 2019 at 3:14pm

How many ways can you polish a turd?

tubeshooter's picture
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tubeshooter commented Tuesday, 10 Sep 2019 at 9:05pm

I'd bet the commentary team are on board with this.

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher commented Wednesday, 11 Sep 2019 at 12:20pm

Stu & Ben feel free to correct WSL 2020 OZ/NZ Tour (Start) *swellnet webcast
Jan %-% / Billabong Burleigh Heads Single Fin Festival
Feb 10-15 / Global Wave Conference / Gold Coast re: Andy M
Feb %-% / Byron Bay Surf festival
Feb 22-March 1-3 / * re: Ben's Noosa Surf Festival- J.W. WSR Dedication
March %-% / *WSL Noosa Long Board Tour
March 14-15 / WSL Piha Australasian Pro Junior (Expression Session)
March 16 / WSL Piha Pro Trials
March 17-22 / *WSL Piha Pro (Kelly & Steph) 100%[PURE] NZ clean-up!
World Audience 600m + 20k @ venue watching 112 men / 60 women surfers
March 23-% / NZ Club Championships
March %-% / *WSL Manly Vissla QS Pro
March 18-26 / Aussies (6,500 competitors) vs Quiky in 2019
March %-% / WSL Oz Airborne Qualifiers
March %-% / WSL Awards Gold Coast?
March %- % / *WSL Gold Coast Quiky + Boost + Red Bull (11 days > 8 days?)
April 3-13 / *WSL Bells Pro
May %-% / WSL Gold Coast Open QS Pro
May %-% / * WSL Margaret River Pro.

WSL are listening alright! There's yer rebel 'Challenger' tour you all bitched about.
Throw in a crab pot Festival. Postcard Cities go in the raffle for Big Boys WSL Pro leg!
$1.5m for Premier League Pro or $1m for entry level beach lockdown leg up Pro!
WSL scam $1m/wk to lock down WSR's to flog off Beach Babe Video Postcards.

(Beach Bully Monopoly)
Hello! " is this the ACCC...I'd like to report the biggest corrupt OZ Monopoly ever! "

WSL been sweating on NZ tax take.(Scam bites into WSL Syd & Goldie contracts).

Oldie Goldie still haven't got their dates locked in! (Kick in the guts for #1 GC accom!)
Qldurrz paid 3 yrs advance for NSW secret spot comp. It's a whiteant whiteshoe rort.
NSW + Qld Tourism both squeezed out by Scomo's NZ 100% PURE WSL promo.

poo-man's picture
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poo-man commented Wednesday, 11 Sep 2019 at 3:33am

Piha will be interesting to say the least. One narrow road in and out and just as likely to be 6 to 8 foot plus. Well it won't be flat anyway. A lot of Auckland city money must have gone into this to get it across the line at what is within NZ most competitors least favourite venues


Spuddups's picture
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Spuddups commented Wednesday, 11 Sep 2019 at 9:12am

Yep, hard to see why you'd hold a comp at Piha rather than Raglan unless someone coughed up some cash.

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher commented Wednesday, 11 Sep 2019 at 1:10pm

poo-man sniffs the stench back up the pipe to Auckland chamber of commerce.
Note Piha Pro NZ clubbie tail enderz dump bucket loads into Auckland's Clubs.
Weeklong festival christens Groms with stickerz then Wipes-Out the Hodads.

Cradle 2 grave WSL Surf ceremony wins a week off all that matters.

How does tbb know about all this shit?
Junior 'Aussies' almost need their own school these days!
Removal Vans dump reffo Nipperz to storm tbb's beach & lock out all basherz.
Junior Aussies [ No Swimming in Flags ] "Hey tbb...get off the nipper'z Beach!" WTF

Not even allowed to skip the oceanway if you got pubes (Nappies/Nippys/Scoolies)
tbb is too weak & feeble, now deemed too old to bash his own break! ...It's coming!
Out of our way you piece of shit! (Considering you put it so nicely...I'm outta here!)

bazattaz's picture
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bazattaz commented Wednesday, 11 Sep 2019 at 7:31am

Cut the WCT numbers down and run the QS 10k's before the CT events.

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher commented Wednesday, 11 Sep 2019 at 9:16am

bazattaz is clued up...all dates look to flesh out WSL 1-2 month long surf festivals.

Noosa long board example / re: above. Took the cash & ditched the town on day one.

tbb (June) link states SA/NZ were only Challenger Comps in Southern Hemisphere.
Phillip Island does not link to Bells? This is more about 2nd division Pro Leg ladder.
Sign here, pay up, get undressed & wait in line for WSL Surf flick Producer.
Your Town on WSL Postcard ...$1m starting price thanks to Olympics.
Nothing about Surfing...Think' Beach Xcerts / Volleyball without the sand transplant.

Note: WSL is hardly premium...
Retired ASP chix won ISA as premium WSL chix struggled to escape reserve grade.

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Wednesday, 11 Sep 2019 at 10:01am

As Winston Chuchill sort of said
"Never in the field of human endevour was so much effort (and carbon) expended by so many for so little"

If all those wanna be pros with moderate levels of talent just got a job and spent a fraction on the money and time they were going to spend chasing points on the QS / challenger circuit on surf trips to perfect waves they would be much happier and better off...

Ooops ignore that, dont want all those frothers ruining good surf. Keep em busy in slop and closeouts.


Solitude's picture
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Solitude commented Wednesday, 11 Sep 2019 at 3:00pm

Nice quote, seems quite relevant.

thedrip's picture
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thedrip commented Wednesday, 11 Sep 2019 at 12:00pm

You know - and this isn’t an original thought - it just seems to me that Professional surfing has been created by people who want to make a living out of surfing, rather than created to satisfy a demand. Considering the amount of people who surf worldwide, the interest in pro surfing is minuscule.

It seems it is becoming more and more explicitly a money grab. The emperors clothes anyone?

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Wednesday, 11 Sep 2019 at 4:11pm

I take it you’re not familiar with Dirk Ziff ?

He owns the entire WSL and doesn’t surf at all.


frog's picture
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frog commented Wednesday, 11 Sep 2019 at 5:36pm

Actually, the wozzle is the parasite hanging off Dirk Diggler

It may not kill the host but will be one of his worst investments.

Financially, as I said once before, surfing is a low grade gold claim on a patch of moose pasture with far too many people trying to scratch a living from it. There ain't a Lasseters reef or even many small nugget patches hidden away.

A few people live the dream. Thousands more just dig in the dust (financially).

Surfing is fun and something special - best if less people make it about money or a "career" it is better for everyone.

Many people have found to their cost that turning a hobby into a living can spoil the experience - one can overdose / overexpose / over stress yourself to the point it is not fun anymore. I keep surfing as a treat to savour - it retains a degree of purity outside the humdrum of earning a living..


frog's picture
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frog commented Wednesday, 11 Sep 2019 at 6:29pm

A couple of anecdotes to prove why turning a surfing into a "career" has a downside:

After a fantastic day surfing perfect 200 metre 4 to 6 foot Lances Lefts in the Mentawais I was talking to the skipper. He made the comment "the pros hate Lances Lefts". WTF??! I thought. He went on to explain " Lances Lefts does not have a lip line suited to big airs and getting great photos"

On another trip a skipper said after a great day surfing an empty quality but "B grade" wave that was out of the wind and one of the few options available:
"If I pulled up here with some young pros they would look for a minute and head back in the cabin to watch a DVD. They would be pissed off and not surf it"

Now if surfing ever gets like that something is seriously wrong. Money, photos and ego have totally replaced genuine surf stoke.


Spuddups's picture
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Spuddups commented Thursday, 12 Sep 2019 at 5:53pm

Fark, that's pretty sad. Reminds me of that clip a year or so back of those Hawaiian big wave guys in Japan chasing Curren's wave. They were completely jaded, entitled and without stoke. It sucked the life out of me just watching it.

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost commented Monday, 16 Sep 2019 at 6:23pm

Yep. That clip was such a downer. I surfed a small, weak and barely breaking local before work this morning but it was the best surf I have had today. Entered and left the water with a smile on my dial. Will do it all again tomorrow. Sure I love it when it gets good or i do a trip but how bloody good is it o just get in the ocean for a wave.


SI's picture
SI's picture
SI commented Friday, 13 Sep 2019 at 3:23pm

Man, Frog is spot on. Surfing is a soul food, not an ego trip. Sometimes the soul surfer froths on a ride, but it is out of sheer awe not at him or herself, but of the whole experience. You can spot those surfers in the water. I know who they are and I love surfing with them. The surf merchants and ego trippers are fuelling a bad cultural change driven by “image”, ie. ego bullshit, ie. what other people think of me -v- how great is it to ride a wave. There is a good example of what appears to be the right attitude in a movie called nervous laughter. At around 40 minutes into the movie or a bit more, he gets a great wave and just gets into the perfect spot , it’s a joy to watch, but when he exits the tube and pulls off, he holds his hands together in a gesture of thanks to the ocean. It may be a little staged too, but it’s a world away from looking to the beach and lifting your fists to the air like you just had victory in world war three against your enemies. And it’s funny because the guys who do that often surf the wave like they are at war with it - “ripping” and “tearing” it up. That’s not how Greg surfed that great wave. Not at all. It’s a head thing...if more people could be in this space surfing would be more enjoyable for everyone. Less competition and more soul, more sharing and more mutual joy and respect in the water.


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scottishsponger commented Monday, 16 Sep 2019 at 5:50pm

Nicely put SI, totally agree. Surfing to me is inextricably linked to soul. Once that’s removed it becomes a different pursuit entirely. That why I can’t understand why surfers move somewhere like the Gold Coast. The place is so packed and saturated that all the soul has been removed. How could anyone enjoy surfing a wave like Snapper when there’s over 100 mad, hungry, frothing wannabes scrapping for every ripple that comes through. Soul destroying and soulless.

hamishbro's picture
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hamishbro commented Friday, 13 Sep 2019 at 9:44pm

Beautifully said frog.

ringmaster's picture
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ringmaster commented Wednesday, 11 Sep 2019 at 8:48pm

Geez thedrip! I reckon you pretty well nailed it with that post. How many of us would really give a shit if pro surfing stopped tomorrow?

I LOVE surfing and I love a lot of other sports as well. Take away the AFL season and the mighty Catters, the Ashes contests, the 4 golf majors to name a few and I'd be gutted.

No more pro surfing and 'conests' would just be a minor blip on my radar.

Spuddups's picture
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Spuddups commented Thursday, 12 Sep 2019 at 5:55pm

Test Cricket's the one for me. I'd spiral into a pit of endless depression if that disappeared. Pro surfing, not so much.

bluediamond's picture
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bluediamond commented Wednesday, 11 Sep 2019 at 7:10pm

Challenger eh? Wasn't there a space shuttle named that?

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Wednesday, 11 Sep 2019 at 7:17pm

You know Frogg, I'm with you I really am.

But I saw this bloke today who's kid barely finished high school, hasn't made the Tour and has already made enough from being a sponno to buy coastal real estate.

And he isn't the only one I know.

It is a gold mine for quite a few kids.

Get anywhere near the CT and you're buying property.

ringmaster's picture
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ringmaster commented Wednesday, 11 Sep 2019 at 8:53pm

That's the massive exception and not the rule FR76. You can be the 500th ranked AFL player in the country (just this country...not the world) and be pulling 300k per annum.

Every single coastal town in this country has young carnts that rip the bag and have 'pro potential' but 5/8ths of fuck all of them will ever make any meaningful coin out of it.

frog's picture
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frog commented Wednesday, 11 Sep 2019 at 9:35pm

Everything i have read lately suggests money and sponsorship is very tight for all but a few.

Nathan florence said all his income for the year (sponsorship) went on paying for his strike missions and cameraman. Cant be that lucrative if he is break even.


stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 12 Sep 2019 at 9:05am

It may be the case, Steve, but the number of kids that can make enough coin to buy property is small and, as pro surfing takes hold in new surf countries with their surfers asserting themselves on the rankings, it's getting ever smaller.

It's a good life if you can pull it off, even if you just spend a few years travelling the world as a QS warrior, but if that's gonna be your lot you'd wanna have realistic expecations and some good back up skills.

The path is a whole lot tougher than it used to be.

Spuddups's picture
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Spuddups commented Thursday, 12 Sep 2019 at 5:57pm

All that travelling must get pretty old though.

poo-man's picture
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poo-man commented Wednesday, 11 Sep 2019 at 8:30pm

Unless youre one of those lower level pros on the CT and you can't get any decent sponsorship. Ricardo had to crowd fund his way back to the CT and even Seabass has lost his major sponsor this year. Nowhere near the money around that used to be


Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Thursday, 12 Sep 2019 at 6:18am

Apparently Adriano is on $80K / year from all his sponsors combined.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Thursday, 12 Sep 2019 at 7:06am

Remember Dane Reynolds' Quiksilver contract?

  • US$292K per month (US$3.5 million per year)
  • US$100,000 signing bonus
  • 10,000 Quiksilver stock options
  • 3% royalty on net sales of his signature products
  • US$70,000 per year for travel/living expenses
  • Marine Layer Productions (owned by Dane) was paid by Quiksilver to produce his video clips

Those days are long gone.

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Saturday, 14 Sep 2019 at 8:35am

Wow. Hopefully Dane set himself up for life on that. It explains how he can still seem to funk around doing weird projects and no real job. Talent plus perfect timing.

It would have taken Quikie about 400,000 t shirts sales a year to recoup that cost factoring in gross profit and overheads!


Greenroom Times's picture
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Greenroom Times commented Thursday, 12 Sep 2019 at 5:27pm

I feel this is a first step to cutting down the numbers on the CT to 16. If your any good you will still qualify through the Challenger Series and not have the stigma of dropping down to the QS and doing 1 stars thru Japan.
Plus it will allow them to cherry pick the guys they want, like the Jack Robbo's, who they can then give entry to the 10,000's and qualify them that way.

Spuddups's picture
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Spuddups commented Thursday, 12 Sep 2019 at 6:00pm

I remember in the 80's only the top 16 were guaranteed entry to the comps. Everyone else had to fight it out through the trials. From memory when Curren won the title in his comeback year he had to surf through the trials in every event. Quite an achievement really.

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher commented Thursday, 12 Sep 2019 at 11:29pm

1978 World Champion (Rabbit)
11 Contests = Earnings: $7,650 (Note: ASP Money / Book was written in US)
(1978) 1AUD = 1.14 USD for readers who know if it's AUD

1978 ($7,650) > (Inflation)> 2019 = USD: $39,532 or AUD :$57,476
Grom tbb recalls '70's magz: "Surfers said that it cost them to win a World Title."
Just remembered! 'Pro's went on about an Airline sponsor would sort it!'

Covered Comp/Flights/Accom safari for half a dozen surfers but not laydays between.
tbb points out that Airfares weren't as competitive as today, not in the slightest.
Especially not to Hawaii or States or Japan.(70's were premium...Jetset were wealthy!)

When you compare earnings you can see what they said does ring true! (Not flush!)

Sacdog1's picture
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Sacdog1 commented Monday, 16 Sep 2019 at 8:20pm

I love watching surfing,
I don't care how it's run,
If I'm not surfing, I mind surf every wall, lip, overhang,
Doesn't matter what the wall is made of, I mind surf it.
So getting any opportunity to actually watch ( real ? ) surfing on a screen when I can't be doing it myself, awesome.
Good luck to the guys chasing the dream too. Your ripping!


truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher commented Tuesday, 24 Sep 2019 at 11:12am

Oz Top 10 Surfer's $4m Beach Shack...JW welcomes you aboard...
tbb salutes fellow Qldurr for open house,showing a friendly honest face of WSL.
Even the Surf Champ's Awards are on display for world to see. (Ultra Cool invite!)
Check out dream Bedroom Surf View to die for + Garage Surfboard Hire Shop!

Cheers...from the swellnet crew for being so very genuine & welcoming.

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher commented Friday, 13 Mar 2020 at 9:29pm

12 March 2020 Olympic Flame is lit & starts Tokyo Surf Countdown
13 March 2020 WLS Corona Surfluenza is Cancelled

Same time WSL 1st Challenger Series winners are decided.

13 March 2020 Sydney Pro Challenger Series (Down Under Style)
Inaugural WSL Challenger Series winners didn't earn more points?
In fact they earned zero points...that's right [0000] That can't be right? Huh!

Mens Winner Leonardo Fioravanti is unqualified to amass points.
In fact Italian's are now banned from Oz & Sports competitions (Normal)
Leonardo vs Mikey surf off OZ Triple Crown for WSL tour spot vs (Ultimate Surfer?)

Womens winner Carissa amassed enough Lay days for a Lay Year.
Carissa only surfs the comps to avoid lineups...score whole beach to yourself!
Again no points for Lay Surfer...(Possibly a lazier WSL title applies, tbb is too lazy to check!)

Corona virus may end whole season...few disagree! (How does that play out?)
#1 Highest CS Comp Winners will finish both 1st on Prizemoney but last on Points?
tbb is not even sure if non-qualified competitors can even earn WSL prize money!

Double Bunger Dead Rubber with Corona Corona Virus Ban (Did tbb say that right?)
How the fuck is any of this twisted shit happening...can't make it up if you try!

Needless to say that Sophie has an ELO voodoo doll that she feeds to her dog!
Can only get worse before it gets just how bad can it get?
Challenger Disaster...{R.I.P}