Cronulla's Connor O'Leary will return to the World Surf League Championship Tour in 2020

World Tour: Cronulla's Connor O'Leary wins the Carve Pro at Maroubra Beach earlier this year. Picture: John Veage
World Tour: Cronulla's Connor O'Leary wins the Carve Pro at Maroubra Beach earlier this year. Picture: John Veage

Cronulla has another surfer on the World Surf League Championship Tour after Cronulla's Connor O'Leary re-qualified after a year on the World Qualifying circuit.

The Elouera Boardriders number one surfer did it the hard way, sitting in seventh position with one 10,000-point contest remaining.

Dipping out in round four at the Sunset World Cup meant O'Leary didn't get any extra points to add to his 19,650 tally. He then had to play the waiting game. Historically, 20,000 points has been enough to qualify and, after the dust settled, he finished in ninth position, one place above the cut.

Western Australia's Jack Robinson won the Vans World Cup of surfing, jumping a dozen spots to also qualify for next year's World Tour.

O'Leary became the sixth Cronulla surfer to qualify for the top tier of world surfing after winning the qualifying series in 2016. The rookie of the year in 2017 finished 13th, the third best result for a local surfer after 1999 world champ Mark Ochillupo and number eight-ranked Richard 'Dog' Marsh.

The dream came crashing down in 2018 after he slipped down the ladder and fell off the tour but he got back on the horse in 2019, winning two contests back to back to set himself up for the year ahead.

O'Leary looked right at home surfing at Sunset this week and said it was hard not to think about re-qualifying.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't thinking about it a lot [re-qualifying]. With everyone talking about it, I just grab my board and go surfing," he said.

"You just have to get two good waves in 30 minutes over here and I've been stoked to get a couple of clean ones. There's been non-stop waves."

Celebrations commenced in the O'Leary household after the result with Connor's mother, Akemi, too nervous to watch it live, fighting with the calculator right up to the last stressful minute.

Comments