Promising winners of the surf overhaul
Three Championship Tour events for Australia may be a luxury the World Surf League can no longer afford, but the compromise of the new format is a four-month residency designed to accelerate the next world champion.
A series of lower-level WSL events have been added to the Australian leg of next year’s tour schedule to help make up for Snapper Rocks’ loss on the Championship Tour and create a rare four-month window of competition. .
Seven qualifying rounds, four Pro Junior events and two Challenger Series have been added to bolster the Championship Tour (CT) top level saves at Bells Beach and Margaret River.
Since the COVID-19 hit, the world’s surfing body has not engaged in such a long series of events in a single country.
The WSL announced in August that the Gold Coast CT event at Snapper Rocks would not return after being postponed to 2020 due to COVID-19 and canceled this year when the Queensland government refused to cover quarantine costs for surfers.
Instead, a second tier Challenger Series event will be held at the popular break for at least the next three years, which could still attract the best in the world to the break after the Margaret River Pro and before the TC returns to the Indonesian G-Land after 24 years.
A mid-season cutoff from the lower ranked CT surfers after the Margaret River event will also see many of them forced to requalify in the lower level events, stacking these areas with a mix of current and emerging talent.
It follows a revamped 2021 season that has had four of eight CT events – including three completely new ones – taking place in Australia despite the removal of the Bells Beach and Snapper Rocks stops.
WSL Australia and Oceania boss Andrew Stark said there was no wiggle room to include the popular Gold Coast break he calls home in the new Championship Tour schedule .
âWe are a global organization, truly global and you need events in every pocket of the world,â he told AAP.
“And it would be a luxury to have three out of ten events in a country, let’s put it that way.”
The longtime former Surfing Australia boss said the new round of regional qualifiers – there will be seven around the world – provided a level playing field compared to the previous model which required juniors to fly around the world to qualify for the next level.
“We are more committed than ever to the market and the region,” he told AAP.
âIt cleans it up and creates the best lane opportunity I’ve ever seen.
“In the past it was a long game. Now if you’re talented you get along pretty quickly.”
WSL 2022 EVENTS IN AUSTRALIA
Junior professional events
* March 12-13 – Lake Mac Pro Junior, Newcastle
* March 21-23 – Tweed Coast Pro Junior, Tweed Coast
* May 4-6 – Gold Coast Pro Junior, Gold Coast
* May 14-16 – Sydney Surf Pro Junior, Manly
Qualifying series events
* February 10-13 – Phillip Island Pro QS1000, Phillip Island
* February 22-25 – Carve Great Lakes Pro QS1000, Pacific Palms
* February 27-March 1 – Port Stephens Pro QS1000, Port Stephens
* March 4-6 – Maroubra Pro QS1000, Sydney
* March 14-19 – Central Coast Pro QS3000, Avoca
* March 21-27 – Tweed Coast Pro QS5000, Tweed Coast
* March 28-April 3 – City of Newcastle Pro QS5000, Newcastle
Championship Tour Events
* April 10-20 – Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach CT, Bells Beach
* April 24 May 4 – Margaret River Pro CT, Margaret River
Challenger Series Events
* May 7-15 Gold Coast Pro Challenger Series, Coolangatta
* May 17-24 Sydney Surf Pro Challenger Series, Manly