Thursday 22 March 2018 / 05:59 AM


The 2016 WSL tour is not yet over, but with the men’s and women’s champions already crowned focus is turning to next year.

The bottom of the leaderboard is where the stakes are highest heading into the final events, with several CT surfers fighting for a spot on next year’s tour.


Eleven-time world champion Kelly Slater is not relinquishing his reign so easily with the announcement that 2017 will be his last serious crack at the title before retirement.

As if surfing one of the planet’s heaviest waves in front of a worldwide audience wasn’t pressure enough Dusty Payne, Wiggolly Danta, Nat Young, Keanu Asing, Jadson Andre and Miguel Pupo will all be striving to secure their place on the 2017 WSL Championship Tour.

Nat Young would normally be sitting pretty with a top-10 placement coming into Pipe Masters, but this year finds himself needing a 9th-place or higher finish to comfortably secure his ride into 2017.

Dusty Payne is no novice when it comes to being under pressure at Pipe. He needs a 13th to move up in the ranks, but a place in the finals will see him cruise through to next year.

Brazilian trio Wiggoly Dante, Miguel Pupo and Jadson André all need to finish with at least a 9th place to move through.

There are five events left on the Qualifying Series tour, but with all six surfers sitting outside the top 50 on the Qualifying Series rankings, Billabong Pipe Masters will decide their fate for 2017.



The pressure will be on for Australia’s Laura Enever, Hawaii’s Coco Ho and South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag when the women meet for the final events of 2016.

All three women are tour veterans, having competed on the world circuit for several years.

Ho and Enever will both compete in the Final QS series event of the year, the inaugural Sydney International Women’s Pro.

Ho technically has her place on 2017’s tour with a 7th-place ranking on the QS leaderboard. Fellow CT competitors Malia Manuel and Sage Erickson already qualify with their top-10 spots from the CT, and are therefore removed from the QS ranks.

This means Coco moves into the 5th and final qualifying rank. But to secure her position on 2017 tour she will need at least a semi-final finish. Alternatively, a win in the final CT event, The Maui Women’s Pro, will see her back on tour next year.

Enever has had an inconsistent year and will need a strong 5th-place finish in Maui to ensure she stays within the CT cut-off.

With no QS back-up plan, Bianca Buitendag will need to win in Hawaii to rejoin the tour next year.

Organised by Sally Fitzgibbons, the Sydney International Women’s Pro kicks off on November 3 and will be streamed live on the WSL website.



There are 34 spots on the 2017 WSL Men’s World Championship Tour. The top 22 ranking surfers from 2016 CT will be joined by the top 10 ranking surfers from the Qualifying Series, plus two wildcard entries.

There are 17 spots on the 2017 WSL Women’s World Championship Tour. The top 10 ranking surfers from 2016 CT will be joined by the top six ranking surfers from the Qualifying Series, plus one wildcard.

Any surfers ranked in qualifying positions on the QS who also rank on the CT will be bumped, with the next best surfers moving into qualifying rankings.

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Jaymie Faber

Jaymie Faber is a freelance surf and travel writer, and author of a women’s learn to surf book. From Sunshine Coast, Australia, she is mad about surfing, ocean conservation and exploring ‘off the grid’ locations. Jaymie writes for various publications and magazines around the world. See more at

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