The Vans US Open of Surfing men's Qualifying Series (QS) event is the fourth of nine QS contests with 10,000 points on the line. As the biggest opportunities to accrue points and get closer to qualifying for the elite Championship Tour (CT), QS 10,000s result in the biggest ranking shifts.
As a quick refresher on how CT qualification works: The Top 10 surfers on the QS at the end of the year qualify for the elite Tour. If some of those Top 10 are CT surfers who have enough CT points to keep their elite spots, their spot goes to the next QS surfer below them.
Heading into the US Open, two Championship Tour (CT) surfers remain above the cutoff on the QS rankings: Jeremy Flores (FRA), who is ranked No. 2 on the QS, and Kolohe Andino (USA), who is No. 11, but would qualify because Flores is safe on the CT.
Since the last QS 10,000, the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong, Davey Cathels (AUS) and Mitch Coleborn (AUS) have joined the group of surfers who are poised to qualify for pro surfing's main stage from the QS.
Of the two CT surfers above the QS cutoff, Flores is the only one still sitting in a safe position -- No. 12 -- on the CT rankings in terms of requalification. Hopefully he'll return from his injury in time for the Billabong Pro Tahiti to keep in good standing.
The other CT surfer, Andino, sits at No. 30 on the Jeep Leaderboard And -- as only the top 22 surfers on the CT automatically stay on Tour -- at this stage Andino will have to rely on his QS points to compete at the elite level again next season.
At No. 11 on the QS, Andino is the last surfer who would qualify via the QS:
No. 1 Alejo Muniz (BRA) 22,250
No. 2 Jeremy Flores (FRA) 16,400
No. 3 Caio Ibelli (BRA) 15,300
No. 4 Joan Duru (FRA) 13,050
No. 5 Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 13,020
No. 6 Davey Cathels (AUS) 12,670
No. 7 Jack Freestone (AUS) 12,550
No. 8 Stu Kennedy (AUS) 12,300
No. 9 Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 11,200
No. 10 Ryan Callinan (AUS) 10,450
No. 11 Kolohe Andino (USA) 10,360
Click here for complete rankings.
The two CT surfers who dropped off the Top 10 after Ballito -- Dusty Payne (HAW) and Filipe Toledo (BRA) -- have been replaced by Cathels, who finished runner-up at Ballito, and former CT surfer Coleborn, who finished third.
Other big movers after Ballito were Michael Rodrigues (BRA) who jumped from 18th to 12th, Conner O'Leary (AUS) (22nd to 14th) and Ezekiel Lau (HAW) (30th to 21st). Ballito Pro winner Muniz only moved from No. 3 to No. 1, but the additional 10,000 brought his points total to 22,250, which should be good enough to qualify for him for elite status in 2016.
With only 1,000 points between 11th and 20th on the QS rankings, the Vans US Open will likely lead to another big shift and, possibly, allow for someone like Cathels to establish himself higher in the ranks.
About Al Hunt:
Al Hunt is a former competitor who has helped develop the WSL since its inception. Hunt was Head Judge in 1983, the WSL's first year, and became Tour Manager in 1984. He has worked as WSL Tour Manager since then, attending more than 1,000 events. Hunt's Situation Room is designed to keep fans informed on QS rankings shifts throughout the 2015 WSL season.