The World Surf League (WSL) has today announced a new level of competition that will provide athletes more opportunities to qualify for the elite Championship Tour (CT) with the launch of the Challenger Series in 2020.
The announcement also confirms that Piha will host a QS 10,000 event in March 2020.
“We’re excited to announce the Challenger Series for 2020,” said Travis Logie, Senior Manager Tours and Competition at WSL. “This new level of event and competition will provide greater opportunity for elite qualification, visibility for the next generation of surfers, and a marketing platform for our regional partners. The changes are also intended to allow a greater number of regional surfers to develop through the WSL Qualifying Tour system – with the update to this level, we will be able to answer the demand for increasing competitive opportunities.”
The WSL said the premium Challenger Series events, that would exist as part of the overall Qualifying Series (QS), would be the ultimate battleground for surfers to showcase their talents and qualify for the elite-level of competition.
The 2020 QS – the development and qualification tier for the CT – will feature two primary segments: the Challenger Series (events that award 10,000-points towards a surfer’s QS ranking) and the QS 5000, 3000, 1500 and 1000 events that will all contribute to a surfer’s year-end QS ranking as they work towards qualifying for the CT.
The Challenger Series will increase the number of 10,000-point events from six to seven for men and from two to four for women, offering equal prize money for men and women.
The Challenger Series will feature eight premium venues in Piha (NZL), Ballito (ZAF), Huntington Beach (USA), Pantin (ESP), Ericeira (PRT), Phillip Island (AUS), Haleiwa (HAW) and Sunset Beach (HAW).
As professional surfing continues to grow in popularity and the levels of performance go from strength to strength, the premium Challenger Series will look to build to a maximum of 10 events in the future and exist as the QS standard-bearer in terms of developing and identifying the next level of CT talent. There will be additional marketing and live event content to further elevate these important events and athletes.
“This is another important step in our evolution,” stated CEO Sophie Goldschmidt. “We are delighted at the initial level of interest from partners and key stakeholders for the Challenger Series. We expect the series to further enhance the career path for future CT athletes and to also become commercially positive.”
WSL Challenger Series Schedule 2020
Piha, New Zealand (March), Men’s and Women’s
Ballito, South Africa (July), Men’s
Huntington Beach, USA (August), Men’s and Women’s
Pantin, Spain (September), Men’s and Women’s
Ericeira, Portugal (September), Men’s
Phillip Island, Australia (November), Women’s
Haleiwa, Hawaii (November), Men’s
Sunset, Hawaii (December), Men’s