WSL announces changes in the Championship Tour format

March 18, 2019 | Surfing
Caroline Marks: she will be competing in the 2019 Women's CT | Photo: Poullenot/WSL

The World Surf League (WSL) announced relevant changes in the Championship Tour (CT) format.

The 2019 CT season will continue the updates made last year, which put an end to Round 5 in the men's event and Round 4 in the women's event.

"We believe that going straight to head-to-head matchups from Round 3 onwards will drive more direct competition while making the format more engaging for viewers," explains Sophie Goldschmidt, CEO of WSL.

There will only be head-to-head heats from Round 3 onwards, with the option to run two matchups simultaneously. The goal is to run the contests with the best possible conditions.

Also, the final rankings of the 2019 Championship Tour will determine 18 (ten men and eight women) of the 40 places at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

However, those 18 places come with the condition that a nation cannot qualify more than two surfers per gender.

As a result, if the United States qualifies three competitors, only two can go to the Olympics - the other place is allocated to the next highest ranked surfer.

The remaining 22 spots will be determined at the 2019 and 2020 ISA World Surfing Games, the 2019 Pan American Games, and a single slot (each for men and women) is reserved to Japan, the host nation.

2019 Men's CT Format

Changes in Men's CT Format

Round 1 will still feature 12 heats with three surfers in each heat. Competitors who place first or second in Round 1 heats will now advance directly to Round 3.

Round 2 will now have four heats with three athletes in each heat, as opposed to the previous format of 12 heats with two surfers in each heat. Of the three competitors in each heat, the lowest-placing surfer in the heat will be eliminated in equal 33rd place.

Round 3 will now have 16 heats with two competitors in each heat. In the past, WSL ran 12 heats with two surfers in each heat. Now, the lower placing surfer will be eliminated in equal 17th place.

Round 4 will now have eight heats with two surfers in each matchup. The lower placing surfer will be eliminated in equal 9th place.

2019 Women's CT Format

Changes in Women's CT Format

Round 1 will continue to feature six heats with three athletes in each heat. Surfers who place first or second in Round 1 matchups will both directly advance to Round 3.

Round 2 will now have two heats with three competitors in each heat. Of the three athletes in each heat, the lowest-placing surfer in the heat will be eliminated in equal 17th place.

Round 3 will now have eight clashes with two surfers in each heat. The lower placing competitor will be eliminated in equal 9th place.

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