The World Surf League has announced a new structure for their 2022 Championship Tour (CT) and Challenger Series (CS) calendars.
The all-new format features an inaugural combined men's and women's schedule, as well as the introduction of a mid-season cut off.
The 2022 CT season will start with 36 men and 18 women and then be reduced to 22 men and 10 women after the mid-season cut, who will automatically re-qualify for the 2023 CT.
The surfers who miss the cut will be relegated to the CS, which commences immediately following CT stop five in Western Australia, where they will get the chance to earn back their slot.
In 2022 the WSL will have a three-tier competition framework that emphasizes developing young talent locally via seven Regional Qualifying Series (QS). Emerging surfers will battle to accumulate enough points to earn a spot on the newly-formed global Challenger Series.
Once on the CS tour, they will have the opportunity to qualify for the elite CT where the best surfers on the planet will compete for the undisputed World Title.
What this means for the next generation of Cronulla surfers like 17 yr old Jarvis Earle, who is currently ranked 46th on the men's Australasian Regional QS, is he will now have the chance locally to try and accumulate enough rating points to achieve his CT dream.
Jarvis, who goes to Cronulla High School, said he thinks the Challenger Series is a great concept.
"Next year, I will do the Australasian Qualifying Series again and try to better my 46th position, plus I can still do the junior tour.
"My eventual aim is to accumulate enough points to make the QS top ten and qualify for the Challenger Series in 2023 after I have left school."
The much talked about surfer has got good support and is sponsored by Hurley, Red Bull and Channel Island Surfboards, to name a few, which takes a bit of sting out of the travelling budget.
"It is super competitive having all the Aussies competing against each other at home, but at the end of the day, you have to beat everyone," Jarvis said
The critical foundation to the WSL's new three-tier competition framework is this Regional Qualifying Series, which will enable young surfers like Jarvis to develop closer to home, without the expense and burden of global travel, before competing internationally on the global CS and eventually, for those who perform, the elite CT.
Connor O'Leary is currently sitting in 29th place on the CT after a first-round loss in Mexico last week.
This means he will have to fight his way back on the upcoming Challenger series if he wants to compete again at the highest level.
It's not getting any easier for surfers to catch their perfect wave.
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