In 2021 WSL introduced new changes to the Championship Tour format, including a mid-season cut for the men’s and women’s CT.
Change often brings excitement and opportunities, but not all surf fans have been happy about these significant changes, and some of the most discussed topics have been; The new final format and the Mid-Season cut.
The New WSL Mid-Season Cut
In 2021 The World Surf League decided to introduce a mid-season cut that will take place halfway through the season, right before heading to G-Land.
The new mid-season cut will reduce the men’s and women’s fields from 36 and 18 to 24 and 12 athletes at the season’s midway point after finishing Margaret River Pro.
The idea behind the new mid-season cut was to make it easier to run the events within the most optimal swell cycles and ensure that the best surfers meet head to head more frequently.
On the other hand, the new mid-season cut adds another level of pressure on the athletes. Margaret River is the fifth and final stop before the mid-season cut and the upcoming elimination with competitors’ careers on the line will definitely result in some fight or flight performances where surfers have to be on top of their game.
What happens after the CT Mid-Season Cut?
Technically speaking, the top-22 men and top-10 women will advance to surf the last leg of the Championship Tour, and these surfers will be guaranteed re-qualification for the next season’s 2023 CT.
Surfers who don’t make the mid-season cut will have to compete in the Challenger Series for the remaining part of the season. One benefit of this new system is that it allows CT surfers who weren’t going to requalify on the main tour, to have a legitimate shot at the Challenger Series right away. That means they don’t have to spend a whole season off the CT trying to requalify, a journey that Ezekiel Lau and many other surfers have gone through.
The new format will most likely bring more attention and interest to the Challenger Series.
Who Will Make The Mid-Season Cut?
We are now four events into the season, with only Margaret River Pro left before the mid-season cut. The heat is on, and all eyes are on those surfers who still haven’t secured a spot. Everything can happen at The Box, as there is still nine spots to be determined in the men’s CT and six spots up for grabs in the women’s CT.
Thirteen men have already guaranteed a spot in the second half of the CT season, including:
- Filipe Toledo (BRA)
- Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)
- John John Florence (HAW)
- Kelly Slater (USA)
- Barron Mamiya (HAW)
- Italo Ferreira (BRA)
- Caio Ibelli (BRA)
- Ethan Ewing (AUS)
- Miguel Pupo (BRA)
- Seth Moniz (HAW)
- Callum Robson (AUS)
- Griffin Colapinto (USA)
- Jack Robinson (AUS)
Just four athletes have made the mid-season cut in the women’s CT so far:
- Carissa Moore (HAW)
- Tyler Wright (AUS)
- Brisa Hennessy (CRC)
- Lakey Peterson (USA)
The champ returns
Just a few days ago, WSL announced that Gabriel Medina returns to the Champiponship Tour on a wildcard for the upcomming event at G-land.
Despite winning the CT last year, we haven’t seen anything to Gabriel Medina this year due to injury and personal matters. An announcement that chocked all as the season was about to begin, but now we can finally look forward to see him back in action!
Although Medina’s points will be eligible for the WSL Final 5 rankings, his chances of making the final event is still unlikely. However, we all know what he is capable of, and we have seen him do the impossible before!