11 Things You Didn’t Know About The WSL

Trust us when we say, you’re not the only one that gets a little confused when it comes to the WSL, weather your coming to Boardmasters for the first time, or a well-seasoned visitor to our yearly surf and music festival, there's a lot to get your head around! So here's a little run down of the top 11 things you maybe didn't know about the WSL

1. What does the WSL stand for?

The World Surf League


2. International Professional surfing started life as the IPS

 The first world surf champion was crowned in 1964 (Midget Farrelly, AUS) but the first governing body of surfing was not introduced until 1976, the International Professional Surfers (IPS)


3. ASP – Birth of the Dream Tour

The Association of Surfing Professional (ASP) was set up in 1983 as a natural evolution from the IPS.  The focus was on quality surf, removing the tour from overcrowded spots to find more remote venues showcasing the best waves in the world – The dream tour was born.


4. WSL came to life in 2015

The World Surf League took over from the ASP officailly in 2015.  So the first official champion of the WSL was Adriano De Souza (who was crowned in Dec at Pipeline).


5. The Men’s World Championship Tour (CT) consists of the top 32 surfers in the world.

The top 32 surfers in the competitive world of surfing make up the CT.  This means the top 22 finishers from the previous year, the top 10 from the Qualifying Series (QS) and 2 wild cards that the WSL can choose to compete on the tour.

The women’s WSL Championship Tour consists of the top 17 ranked female surfers.


6. There are 11 stops on the CT

There are officially 11 stops that make up the WSL World Championship Tour.  The Tour starts in Australia with 3 stops, before going to Brazil, Fiji. South Africa, Tahiti, USA, Europe and then culminating at the most exciting wave in the world, Pipeline, Hawaii.


7. Big Waves

The WSL also run the world Big Wave Tour (BWT).  7 stops around the world at the biggest breaking waves imaginable.  Surfers put their lives at risk to paddle into and take off on the most famous big wave spots.


8. Kelly Slater has won 11 World Titles but has not won one WSL event.

Kelly Slater has won the World Championship 12 times, but has not been able to win an event since the WSL officially became the governing body.


9. Scoring works like this for the CT

In competitive surfing, waves are scored by 5 judges out of a maximum of 10 points.  The highest and the lowest scores are discarded and an average is calculated from the remaining three scores.  It does not matter how many waves are caught in the heat, the total of the 2 highest scored waves are combined to give a heat total, out of 20 points

Judging scale:

[0.0 — 1.9: Poor]

[2.0 — 3.9: Fair]

[4.0 — 5.9: Average]

[6.0 — 7.9: Good]

[8.0 — 10.0: Excellent]


10. World Surf League is leading the way for online sport

The WSL have really embraced the online community and established a very strong online network.  Live streaming is huge with average viewing figures for the Pipeline event in 2015 exceeding 6 million.  With 2.5 million facebook, followers the WSL social engagement still rivals the same amount of people as the NFL facebook (who has 12.5 million followers).  With their app, Youtube partnership and the best waves in the world, the WSL are helping surfing lead the way for online sports viewing.


11. Qualifying Series (QS)

The WSL Qualifying series is 49 stops around the world, ranked from 1,000 to 10,000 points.  This is a chance for professional surfers to accumulate enough points to qualify for the Championship Tour.

This year, Boardmasters is included in the Qualifying Series and tour stop number 29.

Free ride

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