As the World Surf League (WSL) 2023 Championship Tour (CT) approaches the halfway mark, competitors are preparing for the Western Australia Margaret River Pro, Stop No. 5 on tour. T
his event is a crucial one, as it is the last before the highly-anticipated Mid-season Cut, where surfers below certain rankings will be taken off the CT and need to requalify through the Challenger Series.
The results of the Margaret River Pro will be vital in determining the future of many surfers’ careers.
The world’s best surfers have already competed at events in Hawaii, Portugal, and Bells Beach, with a mix of World Champions and Tour newcomers taking home wins. World Champions Carissa Moore, Filipe Toledo, and Tyler Wright have each earned a win, proving they are still the ones to beat.
Meanwhile, relative newcomers such as Jack Robinson, Molly Picklum, Joao Chianca, Caitlin Simmers, and Ethan Ewing have emerged as World Title threats.
Heading into Stop No. 5, current World No. 1s Molly Picklum and Joao Chianca are having breakthrough years after falling off Tour following Margaret River last season. Both have already been confirmed to make the Mid-season Cut and will focus on making the Final 5, with a shot at winning their maiden World Titles and qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
However, there are still many spots up for grabs above the Mid-season Cut, with surfers below 22nd on the men’s rankings and below 10th on the women’s rankings needing to fight for their spot on the CT. Veterans such as Kelly Slater, Sally Fitzgibbons, Courtney Conlogue, and Lakey Peterson will need to fight to make the Cut at Margaret River, while Tour newcomers Liam O’Brien and Jackson Baker are precariously posted just above the Cut line.
Eight-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore finally got the result she needed at Bells moving up five spots on the ranking, but she is not safe yet and needs a strong result in Margaret River or risks falling off tour.
The Western Australia Margaret River Pro holds a competition window from April 20-30, 2023, and will determine who continues through the back half of the season and has a shot at the 2023 World Titles. With so much on the line, this event is not to be missed by surfing fans.
Unfortunately, last year’s winner and Margaret River local Jack Robinson, has been forced to withdraw from the upcoming Margaret River Pro, after sustaining a knee injury at Bells Beach.
The West Australian took to Instagram to issue the following statement