Let’s Do The Math: Who Could Win This Year’s World Title?


The World Title Contenders

With only two events left in the World Surf League (WSL) Men’s Championship Tour (CT) and one event left in the Women’s Championship Tour (WCT), we all can’t help but speculate about who will emerge as winners of the world title race. It has been a very interesting year – full of surprises and changes of ownership of the Jeep yellow jersey. There was never really a solid leader with a huge margin in the rankings. The differences in points this year are quite slim, which makes it a really interesting season.

So who would win this year’s world titles? Well, let’s do the math to find out who are the possible winners.

First, let’s discuss the Men’s Championship Tour. After the Quiksilver Pro France, here are the rankings:

WSL Men’s CT Rankings | Photo Credit: WSL

The final total points for each surfer will be a combined total of their nine best results out of the 11 events. This means that the two worst results will be disregarded.

For your reference, here are the points CT surfers earn based on results.

Assuming John John, Jordy, and Gabriel give it all their best and all three of them make it to the semifinals of both events, the following scenarios can happen.

Scenario 1: If John John wins one of the two last events and finishes in equal third place in the other, he will still win the world title even if Jordy gets a second place finish in one event and finishes first on the other.

Scenario 2: If John John doesn’t make it past the semis on both events and Jordy Smith finishes in the semis on one event but wins in the other event, Jordy will be crowned World Champion.

Scenario 3: Regardless if Gabriel Medina wins the last two events of the year, if both Florence and Smith make it to the semi-finals of both events, the highest ranking he can get is second place.

Gabriel Medina can only win the World Title if either of the two happens:

Scenario 1: He wins both events, John John Florence does not get past the quarterfinals in one event and does not get past the semifinals in the other, and Jordy Smith does not get past the semifinals of both events.

Scenario 2: He makes it to the finals of both events, regardless if he wins or not, so long as both Jordy and John John don’t go beyond Round 5.

So Gabriel Medina will pretty much need a combination of luck, a solid performance, and grit if he badly wants that second World Title.

Now on to the Women’s Championship Tour. This is where it gets tricky.

The current world rankings you see below for the WCT is deceptive. Because only the eight best results of the 10 events are counted, it changes the situation. While it appears that Sally Fitzgibbons is World No. 1, Tyler Wright will overtake her when the two worst results are taken out of the equation. That is because Sally’s two lowest results are both worth 5200 points each coming off quarterfinals finishes. It appears she is paying a bad price for her consistent performance.

WSL WCT Rankings| Photo Credit: WSL

For your reference here are the points WCT surfers earn based on results.

So assuming that Sally, Tyler, Courtney, and Carissa give an all-out performance at the Maui Women’s Pro and all make it to the semifinals, here are the scenarios.

Scenario 1: If Sally and Tyler don’t make it past the semis, Courtney Conlogue will surely win the World Title regardless if she loses to Carissa Moore in the final heat.

Scenario 2: Whoever among Sally, Tyler, and Courtney wins the final wins the World Title.

If Sally Fitzgibbons Wins Maui Women’s Pro

If Tyler Wright Wins Maui Women’s Pro

If Courtney Conlogue Wins Maui Women’s Pro and Sally Fitzgibbons finishes second

If Courtney Conlogue Wins Maui Women’s Pro and Tyler Wright finishes second

Scenario 3: The only time that Carissa Moore will win the World Title is if she wins the Final, both Sally and Tyler don’t make it to the semifinals, and Courtney doesn’t make it to the Finals.

But Stephanie Gilmore who’s currently at 5th place in the rankings can still grab her 7th World Title if she wins the Final of the Maui Women’s Pro, Carissa or anyone else aside from the Top 3 seeds finishes second place, and Sally and Tyler don’t go past the quarterfinals.

Yeah, it sounds complicated but is it really possible for Gilmore to win it all? Definitely! Sure, the stars will have to align and the forces of nature need to be in her favor but she can pull off a miracle if everything goes well. She’s not a six-time World Champion for nothing.

On the other hand, Tyler Wright’s recent injury seemed to be a concern for her fans and supporters, but the defending World Champion is not giving up without a fight! She had a strong semifinals finish in the recent Roxy Pro France which is a testament to how well the Wright family can recover from injuries. Her brother Owen, who recovered from a head injury and made a solid comeback in the Championship Tour, now sits at 4th place on the Jeep Leaderboard. It really must be in their blood eh?

I know… I know that you might rant about why I did not include all your other favorite surfers in the Top 7 or Top 8, who all have a shot at snatching the World Title in my mathematical calculations. I certainly believe they are capable of doing so, assuming all the other top seeds flunk it in the final events.

But I’m just trying to make it realistic and simple because first of all I am not a statistician and my math is far from perfect. So pardon any mistakes and your comments are welcome.

Well now that the MEO Rip Curl Pro’s waiting period has started, I am excited as you are to see who comes out on top and eventually wins the highly contested World Title for 2017. For now, I’ll go ahead and grab some beer and maybe some nachos and keep a close watch when the action fires up!

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