It’s a new year which means a new season of the WSL Championship Tour! The CT is off to a good start after two epic events in Hawaii. The next stop will be Supertubos in Portugal before the final leg of the tour takes us to Australia.
The stakes are high this year as the athletes are trying to collect enough points for Olympic qualification in 2024. As if this wasn’t pressure enough, the much-debated mid-season cut is coming up in three events, and the stress of staying on the CT starts to affect the athlete’s mental- and physical performances in the ocean.
CT's first leg in Hawaii: What went down?
The 2023 Championship Tour (CT) started with two exciting events, the Billabong Pro Pipeline, and the Hurley Pro Sunset Beach.
At the Billabong Pro Pipeline, Carissa Moore and Jack Robinson emerged as champions. Carissa Moore, the five-time world champion, defeated Tyler Wright in the final to claim her first victory at Pipeline, a special moment for the Hawaiian surfer, after finishing runner-up for the past two years.
On the men’s side of things, Robinson; the young Australian surfer, defeated Leonardo Fioravanti in the men’s final to claim another CT victory and keep his good momentum from last season going.
Moore and Robinson also jumped to the top of the CT rankings with their wins.
The Hurley Pro Sunset Beach saw Molly Picklum and Filipe Toledo take the victories. Picklum, an up-and-coming Australian surfer, defeated USA’s Caroline Marks in the final to claim her first-ever CT win. With the victory, Picklum tied Moore for the top spot on the world rankings.
People favorite Filipe Toledo and former world champion, defeated USA’s Griffin Colapinto in the men’s final, which propelled him to the top of the CT rankings.
The events also saw some notable upsets, with eight-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore and five-time champion Carissa Moore falling in the round of 16 and the quarterfinals of the Hurley Pro Sunset Beach.
Additionally, second-year surfer Joao Chianca eliminated Filipe Toledo in the quarterfinals of the Billabong Pro Pipeline. All the while the 50-year-old GOAT and former Pipe champion; Kelly Slater, didn’t make it past the round of 32, after a slow heat with inconsistent waves.
Overall, the first two events of the 2023 WSL CT season provided plenty of excitement and upsets, and the surfers will now look forward to the next event in Peniche, Portugal.
Next up: Supertubos in Peniche, Portugal
Next stop: Peniche, Portugal. Get ready to witness; the world’s best surfers compete at the upcoming WSL Championship Tour event. The Meo Rip Curl Pro Portugal promises to be an exciting competition with perfect waves, breathtaking scenery, and fierce competition among the world’s top surfers.
This year, Portugal’s beautiful beaches and world-class waves will host the third stop on the Championship Tour, where surfers will showcase their skills and battle for crucial points in the quest for the world title. With an impressive lineup of pro surfers from around the globe, the Meo Rip Curl Pro Portugal is sure to be a nail-biting event.
Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or just a fan of the sport, the Meo Rip Curl Pro Portugal is an event not to be missed! Join the WSL on the beautiful beaches of Peniche and make unforgettable memories! It’s a cool event to experience in person, as all the action takes place close to the beach.
Let’s hope that Supertubos shows us what it’s known for and turns on for the event. Last year, we were a bit unlucky with the conditions in Portugal, which became a common denominator for several spots on the Tour. But this year, Supertubos is back in full force!
7 countries to co-host the 2023 WSL Championship Tour
The 2023 CT is already off to a good start, and we can look forward to the return of iconic surf spots such as Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch and Teahupoo aka. the heaviest wave in the world, along with the continuation of the successful event from last season; the Surf City El Salvador Pro.
The Brazilian storm, including surfers such as Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira, and Filipe Toledo, are sure to bring their A-game to the Rio Pro, while surfers from around the world will battle it out at the Rip Curl WSL Finals in Lower Trestles, USA to determine the champions. Don’t miss out on the stoke of this year’s WSL Championship Tour!
- Billabong Pro Pipeline (Hawaii): January 29 – February 10
- Hurley Pro Sunset Beach (Hawaii): February 12 – 23
- MEO Rip Curl Portugal Pro (Portugal): March 8 – 16
- Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach (Victoria, Australia): April 4 – 14
- Margaret River Pro (Western Australia, Australia): April 20 – 30
Mid-season Cut: 36-man and 18-woman fields reduced to 24-man and 12-woman fields.
- Surf Ranch Pro (USA): May 27 – 28
- Surf City El Salvador Pro presented by Corona (El Salvador): June 9 – 18
- Rio Pro presented by Corona (Brazil): June 23 – July 1
- Corona Open J-Bay (South Africa): July 13 – 22
- SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro (French Polynesia): August 11 – 20
WSL Final 5 determined to battle for the men’s and women’s World Titles.
- Rip Curl WSL Finals (Lower Trestles, USA): September 7 – 15
Source: World Surf League
Mid-season cut & finals day
The mid-season cut is back for the 2023 Championship Tour, and it’s going to be epic! The pressure is on from the start, and the positioning race has already begun. With two events down, the surfers got three stops left on the tour to gather enough points to make it through.
The WSL Championship Tour finals will be held at Lower Trestles, USA, again this year. To be honest, I was personally hoping they would mix things up, but from a commercial point of view, it makes sense to have it at Lower Trestles, since it’s one of the destinations on tour with most spectators, a lot of the WSL sponsors are based in California, and finally, the surf spot is consistent enough to make it fair game for all the athletes.
Qualification for the 2024 Olympic games in Paris
The 2023 Championship Tour (CT) season is important for qualification to the Paris Olympic Games in 2024 because it will be the final year of the Olympic qualifying process for surfing.
The World Surf League (WSL) has announced that the top 10 men and top 8 women on the final CT rankings at the end of the 2023 season will qualify for the Paris Olympics. This means that surfers will need to perform consistently well throughout the season in order to secure a spot in the Olympics.
Furthermore, the 2023 CT season will also include four Challenger Series (CS) events, which will provide additional opportunities for surfers to earn qualifying points for the Olympics. The top 5 men and top 4 women on the final CS rankings will also qualify for the Olympics, which means that surfers who miss out on the CT qualification spots will have a chance to qualify through the CS.
Overall, the 2023 CT season will be crucial for surfers who are aiming to qualify for the Paris Olympics. With only a limited number of spots available, every event will be important in determining which surfers will earn a place in the Games.
competitive surfing at its higest level
The 2023 World Surf League Championship Tour is off to a great start after two epic events in Hawaii.
The stakes are high, and for most surfers, the ultimate goal is Olympic qualification. With only a limited number of spots available, every event will be crucial in determining which surfers will earn a place in the Games. Furthermore, the mid-season cut is just around the corner, adding even more pressure to the competition.
With seven countries hosting events this year, including iconic surf spots like Teahupoo and Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch, there will be plenty of excitement throughout the season.
Overall, the 2023 Championship Tour season promises to be an unforgettable ride for both seasoned fans and newcomers to the sport.