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Byron Shire
May 8, 2021

Locals make top 10 but Aussie women dominate surfing in 2017

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Byron Bay’s Matt Wilkinson finished fifth in the world for 2017. Photo Cestari/WSL

Crystal Cylinders

The World Surfing League wrapped up a massive year with John John Florence and Tyler Wright winning back-to-back World Titles.

Griffin Colapinto and Johanne Defay won the World Qualifying Series, Taylor Jensen and Honolua Blomfield won the Longboard World Titles, and the 2017 Big Wave World Tour is still going with a waiting period until 28 February at the Nazaré Challenge for the men and Mavericks Challenge for both men and women, which will decide the men’s and women’s World Big Wave champions.

Kelly Slater and Ian Gouveia were awarded Wildcards for the 2018 Championship Tour with Slater missing five events with a broken foot and Gouveia just missing out by one spot to retain his CT place after a third place at Pipeline.

On the women’s side Australia is still dominating with the top three Wright, Gilmore, and Fitzgibbons, ruling women’s surfing.

In the men’s we had four of the top ten with Julian Wilson, Byron Bay’s Matt Wilkison, Owen Wright and Joel Parkinson in third, fifth, sixth and ninth respectively.

Bede Durbidge and Josh Kerr retired and Lennox Head’s Stu Kennedy, along with Jack Freestone and Ethan Ewing, were relegated to the QS, while rumours are that Mick Fanning will retire some time next year.

The future is not looking so bright as the Australian men had the worst year ever on the QS with Wade Carmichael the only new Australian face on tour, with a solid fourth spot on the rankings.

Olympic surfing

The International Surfing Association announced an agreement with the World Surf League on the qualification principles for surfing in the 2020 Olympics Games in Tokyo. In principle, the agreement will see up to 18 of the 40 places at the Games reserved for WSL Championship Tour surfers (10 men and eight women), with the remaining 22 places determined at the 2019 and 2020 ISA World Surfing Games, the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, and a single slot (each for men and women) for the host nation Japan.

With the support of the WSL, the ISA eligibility rules for Olympic participation will require surfers to make themselves available for their national teams to compete in the ISA World Surfing Games in 2019 and 2020 and, if selected by their national federation, to participate.

The final decision on the complete process is subject to the approval of the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee at its meeting in February 2018.

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