WSL revamps professional competitive surfing format

August 4, 2021 | Surfing
World Surf League: professional surfing will feature a three-tier system | Photo: Sloane/WSL

The World Surf League (WSL) announced a new format for professional surfing.

Once again, the rules are about to change, this time in 2022.

The professional surfing circuit will feature a three-tier competitive format which includes a Regional Qualifying Series (QS), the Challenger Series (CS), and the Championship Tour (CT).

The Regional Qualifying Series

The new QS comprises seven regional stages: Africa, Asia, Australia/Oceania, Europe, Hawaii, North America, and South America.

Surfers from these regions will compete closer to home will not need to travel the world to premium events.

The highest-ranked athletes from the seven WSL regions will qualify for the CS circuit.

The Challenger Series

The Challenger Series will feature 96-man and 64-woman competitive fields, with the best five of eight results counting toward the end of the season rankings.

The CS season will have eight events.

2022 WSL Challenger Series | Schedule

Gold Coast, Australia | May 7 - 15
Manly, Australia | May 17 - 24
Ballito, South Africa | July 20 - 27
Huntington Beach, USA | July 30 - August 7
Ericeira, Portugal | October 1 - 9
Landes, France | October 15 - 23
Piha, New Zealand | November 5 - 13
Haleiwa, Hawaii | November 26 - December 7

The top 10 male surfers and top 5 female surfers on the CS will qualify for the elite of surfing.

The Championship Tour

The 2022 CT season will include ten events in seven countries, starting in January at Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii.

The legendary Pipeline Masters will feature both men's and women's divisions.

The former ASP World Tour's mid-season cut is back.

After the first five events, the 36-man and 18-woman fields will be reduced to 24-man and 12-woman fields.

The athletes who miss the cut will be relegated to the CS and will have the opportunity to get back to the CT competing in the second tier.

Finally, five more CT stages are run before the WSL finals, a winner-takes-it-all contest featuring the best five male and five female surfers.

The surfers who make the cut will automatically requalify for the 2023 CT.

Will the redesigned format be attractive to up-and-coming surfers and athletes who don't make the mid-season? Only time will tell.

2022 WSL Championship Tour | Schedule

Pipeline, Hawaii | January 29 - February 10
Sunset, Hawaii | February 11 - 23
Peniche, Portugal | March 3 - 13
Bells Beach, Australia | April 10 - 20
Margaret River, Western Australia | April 24 - May 4

Mid-Season Cut (24 men / 12 women) | Schedule

G-Land, Indonesia | May 28 - June 6
Trestles, USA | June 15 - 22
Saquarema, Brazil | June 27 - July 4
Jeffreys Bay, South Africa - July 9 - 18
Teahupo’o, Tahiti | August 11 - 21

WSL Final (Top 5) | Schedule

Rip Curl WSL Finals, TBA | September 7 - 18

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