Will This Be The New WSL Format?


Kelly Slater  | Photo credit: @kellyslater

The World Surf League recently met its athletes to unveil a major change in the way professional surfing will run each season. And although nothing official has been released to the public, there have been some leaks from reliable sources that give everyone a hint.

In Stab Magazine’s recent post about the new WSL format, the following changes have been mentioned:

1. The Women’s Championship Tour will no longer end in Pipeline. Instead, it will begin in Hawaii in February.

2. The Championship Tour season will end in September instead of December, and will possibly happen at Teahupoo.

3. A champion will no longer be determined by accumulated points. Instead, a specialty event will be held for the tour’s top ranked surfers to determine the champion.

4. The top six men and top four women will compete in the specialty event by the end of the season to establish the champion.

5. In this event, the world number six will have a head-to-head battle against world number five. The winner of that will battle it out against the fourth, and so on until the final matchup between whoever made it through and the world number one.

6. Right after a champion is crowned, the Qualifying Series will kick off in September and end in December and will run similar to the minor leagues in other professional sports. This format creates a level playing field for everyone including CT surfers to compete and re-qualify, and they have an entire year to train off-season if they fail to qualify.

There will be mixed reactions to this new development and it is expected that not everyone will be happy about it. But there will definitely be changes coming soon to the sport. The changes in leadership and backstage plans on wave pool events for WSL are hints that an overhaul in professional surfing is underway.

It is only a matter of time before the public will start seeing and feeling the changes. And regardless of what anyone’s opinion might be about these developments, one thing is for sure, the sport of surfing will continue to evolve. Several years ago surfing wasn’t even considered to be part of the Olympics and it is now. Fast forward years later, who knows what might happen to the sport.

But if you are a true surfer by heart, regardless if pro surfing or Olympic surfing exists, you will always be drawn to the ocean and you will never stop riding the waves.

Tell us what you think about these potential changes in pro surfing. Speak out in the comments below.

Stay updated on the latest surfing news and surfboard reviews. Subscribe here.