23 Nov DOWN TO THE WIRE
WITH only one Qualifying Series event remaining for the year the race to finish inside the top 10 is as tight as it has ever been.
A top 10 finish guarantees you a spot on the 2016 World Surfing League (CT) and 10 Aussies in the mix.
The final event for 2015 is the Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach which starts on November 24th.
It is a QS10,000, meaning the winner takes home a big cheque and 10,000 QS points.
Jack Freestone, Caio Ibelli, Alejio Muniz and Kanoa Igarashi have all earned enough points to qualify.
Filipe Toledo, who sits 5th, is already on the CT, so he will drop off and open a spot up.
Kolohe Andino and Miguel Pupo are currently holding down 3rd and 4th spots on the QS, but also sit 23rd and 25th on the CT and may re-qualify with a good result at Pipeline, which will free up two more spots.
With so many points still up for grabs anyone inside the top 25 can still earn enough points if they are to win at Sunset.
Newcastle’s Ryan Callinan did his chances of qualifying no harm with a semi-final finish in Hawaiian Pro last week.
The biggest problem goofy-footer faces is he is holding onto a high points total for his fifth event score.
Each surfer can compete in as many QS events as they like throughout the season but their ranking is decided by taking their five best results and adding the total points together.
Callinan’s current accumulated point-score has no low throw-away event scores.
His fifth best result is a 3550 from his third-place finish at the Mahalo Surf Eco Festival in Brazil.
That means he has to at least make the quarter-finals to improve on his points score.
Compounding that is some of the guys chasing him have low scores for their fifth best results meaning it is much easier for them to improve their points total.
‘Probably the position I’m in, I feel there’s probably the most pressure,’ Callinan told WSL after the event.
‘I’m trying not to think about it and just surf my heats.
‘Just surf and have fun, but it was pretty nervy. There’s so many people behind me who could do really well.’
Another factor to consider is WSL retirements.
CJ Hopgood has already announced he is retiring, as is Irish-Australian Glen Hall.
Rumours have been circulating all year that 2015 may be the last year we see Kelly Slater on the CT, and names such as Joel Parkinson, Taj Burrow, Bede Durbridge and Kai Otton have all been tossed up as potential retirees.
Pic of Ryan Callinan surfing in the Hawaiian Pro – courtesy of @WSL/Masurel