After the dust settled at Pipe, Lennox Head’s Stuart Kennedy found himself as the first reserve for the 2020 Championship Tour after he finished in 12th spot on the Qualifying Series ladder, and 11th placed surfer Morgan Cibilic ended up qualifing.
Kennedy could have been the first one to be called up to surf on the CT if a surfer withdrew from the event due to injury but the WSL has decided to move the goal posts.
‘This season, the men’s CT will have both Mikey Wright and Leonardo Fioravanti competing for the permanent (second Injury Wildcard spot) during the first three CT events in Australia. After Margaret River, the surfer with the better CT ranking will continue, the other will become the first WSL Replacement. This surfer will be the only WSL Replacement this year, as we will have only one spot. We will not have three names like in the previous years,’ a WSL spokesperson said, seeking to clarify the situation.
So neither Stuart Kennedy, Willian Cardoso nor Jesse Mendes will be ‘named’ WSL Replacements this season.
Nonetheless, Kennedy still has some hope if there are injured CT surfers, but the sting in the tail comes from the WSL rule book again.
It means that Kennedy, Cardoso or Jesse Mendes only have an opportunity to get called up in the first five events, as injury replacements, based on their 2019 efforts. After the Oi Rio Pro the WSL will look at the top ranked after the first three Challenger Series events for a replacement surfer.