Who's in, who's out, and who is living on a prayer.
Watching the QS is both intensely rewarding and weirdly distressing.
There’s only one reason to watch, and that’s to see who makes the jump to the big leagues, and who has to finally and completely call it quits on the whole surfing malarkey.
Three surfers who in my opinion were interesting to watch this year were Wade Carmichael, Michael February and Mikey Wright. They all seemed to have something in them that would translate well to the big leagues. They all have very unique ways of riding waves, and this uniqueness in style is what is always needed at Championship Tour level.
Mikey Wright finished off at 36th, and will have to leave the Dream Touring and World Champing to his brother and sister for now. He will qualify one day, I’m pretty sure of that, but for now he’s back to the grind and trying to find a way in.
Wade Carmichael is on the 2018 Championship Tour, and good for him. Finishing off the tour in 4th place, he will bring fresh air to many of the events, especially when the waves are bigger and more powerful so that he can throw his weight around a bit. Carmichael is a popular guy, and he started to gather some momentum in South Africa this year after blitzing his way through to a 5th place finish at the Ballito Pro 10,000. He’s also unfazed by the big guns, and knows his way to the podium.
Michael February finished off the year in 15th place, way outside of the top 10. It’s not that bad though. Let’s have a look.
Sitting at number 14 on the QS is Jordy Smith, who is going to finish off the year in the top three on the CT most likely, so let’s take him off the list and put MFeb in 14th place.
Filipe Toledo is in 12th place on the QS but will requalify via the CT where he is 9th, so let’s take him out the picture and put February in 13th place.
There’s a good chance that Kanoa Igarashi who is 3rd on the QS, and is currently placed 20th on the CT, will requalify via the CT. That moves February into 12th place.
Italo Ferreira is 25th placed on the CT and will probably need his QS qualification.
So it’s safe to say that February will settle at about 12th place, with Michael Rodriques slipping in at number 10, and Pat Gudauskas at number 11.
There’s going to be injuries on the CT. There are injuries every year. There’s a chance that February will get a chance to surf a few events as a replacement surfer if there are surfers injured. Patty will get first option and then when a second surfer gets injured, February will get the call up.
Then there are event wildcards. February is a Quiksilver rider, and they have the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and the Quiksilver Pro France. There is a chance that he’ll get a slot in here as well.
It’s not looking too bad for the South African. If things were to fall into place for the lad, then Italo surfs a dream event at Pipe and qualifies via the CT, and then (I hate thinking this) if someone gets seriously slammed onto the reef at Pipe during the event and is injured for the first few events of 2018, then February is going to be climbing straight onto the Dream Tour.