Tatiana Weston Webb enjoys a wave before the start of the 2019 Tahiti Pro Teahupo'o
With the health and safety of athletes, fans, employees, and the local communities remaining the organization’s top priorities, and considering the challenges of international travel currently, the WSL has officially cancelled the 2020 CT and Qualifying Series seasons.
“After careful consideration and extensive discussions with key stakeholders, we have made the decision to cancel the 2020 Championship Tour and Qualifying Series seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said WSL CEO Erik Logan in a video released on WSL channels today. “While we firmly believe that surfing is amongst the sports best suited for competition to be held safely during the age of unresolved COVID, we have huge respect for the ongoing concerns of many in our community as the world works to resolve this.”
The 2021 tour will start in November 2020 in Maui, Hawaii for the women and in December 2020 in Oahu, Hawaii for the men, subject to the approval of the State of Hawaii and local government agencies, as well as effective protocols that allow for safe international travel. The 2021 CT season will finish with ‘The WSL Finals,’ a new single-day World Title Event in September 2021.
The 2021 WSL Championship Tour will see key format changes.
‘The WSL Finals’: The men’s and women’s World Titles will be decided in a single-day event, ‘The WSL Finals’. The top five women and top five men following the 10-event CT season will battle for their respective titles in a new surf-off format at one of the world’s best waves.
Equal number of women’s and men’s CT events: The 2021 CT will include 10 events each for both the women and the men, an equal number of events for the first time ever, with the women joining the men to surf at Teahupo’o, Tahiti, one of the world’s most iconic and demanding waves, for the first time since 2006.
Seasonality of the tour: In addition to the redesign of the CT, the schedule will be updated to create distinct seasons between the CT and the Challenger Series (CS). Starting in 2021, the CS will run from August through to December. The QS will run through to the end of June 2021 and determine who has qualified for the Challenger Series. Points from QS events that were completed in 2020 will carry over into 2021.
This evolution has been part of a multi-year discussion, and the final design is a collaboration between the athletes, partners, and the WSL.
“I’m really excited about these new format changes,” said two-time WSL Champion Tyler Wright. “As someone that has spent a lot of time out with injury and on the couch in the last few years as a professional spectator, I feel that change is good and needed. Having Tahiti come back on the schedule will be interesting and challenging. It will take us a few years to get our feet and positioning in. However, with the next generation of strong and talented women coming through I think we’ll soon have Tahiti specialists.”
“The WSL format, timeline and location updates will make for a very exciting and intense 2021 tour and World Title chase,” said two-time WSL Champion John Florence. “It’s great being a part of the WSL, especially as we evolve and adapt to new challenges. I look forward to competing in this new era.”
2021 Championship Tour Season*: * All events and dates subject to change due to applicable COVID-19 related restrictions, including global travel restrictions
Shiseido Maui Pro presented by ROXY: Maui, Hawaii November 25 – December 6, 2020 Billabong Pipe Masters: Oahu, Hawaii December 8 – 20, 2020 MEO Pro Portugal: Peniche, Portugal February 18 – 28, 2021 Corona Open Gold Coast presented by Billabong: Queensland, Australia March 18 – 28, 2021 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: Victoria, Australia April 1 – 11, 2021 Margaret River Pro: Western Australia, Australia April 16 – 26, 2021 Oi Rio Pro presented by Corona: Saquarema, Brasil May 20 – 29, 2021 Surf Ranch Pro: California, USA June 10 – 13, 2021 Quiksilver Pro G-Land: Indonesia June 20 – 29, 2021 Corona Open J-Bay: South Africa July 7 – 19, 2021 Outerknown Tahiti Pro: Teahupo’o, Tahiti August 26 – September 6, 2021 The WSL Finals: Location TBD September 8 – 16, 2021