A Rookie Class for the Record Books

Jack Freestone winning in Round 5. Jack Freestone made the Final at the Oi Rio Pro, just his second appearance as a full-time CT surfer. The Australian is right back in the Rookie of the Year hunt. - WSL / Daniel Smorigo

One early sign that this season would be unlike any we've seen in recent memory was the impressive size and scope of the 2016 rookie class. Few things in this sport are more difficult mentally and physically than threading the qualification needle. Today's crop of qualifiers arrive on the CT battle-hardened. So it shouldn't be surprising that this class is having a serious impact on the rankings. Here's an up-to-date report card.

Caio Ibelli

Rank: 5th Results: 9, 9, 5, 9 Milestones: Ibelli has stunned everyone in 2016, despite the fact he was firing warning shots during the entire 2015 season on his way to clinching the QS title. Nobody wins the QS without a well-rounded repertoire, which is why Ibelli has ripped his way into Round Five or better at every event so far. To date, Ibelli has been the biggest thorn in John John Florence's side; eliminating him in Round Three at both Bells Beach and Margaret River.

Profile: Caio Ibelli
See what it took for the Brazilian rookie to make it to the big leagues.

Conner Coffin

Rank: 17 (tied) Results: 9, 5, 25, 25 Milestones: Conner Coffin came out of the gate firing in Australia, taking a ninth-place finish at the Quiksilver Pro and backing it up with a Quarterfinal berth at Bells Beach. He's already notched victories against heavyweights like Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Italo Ferreira and Jordy Smith.

Profile: Conner Coffin
Insight into the rookie's rise from Santa Barbara to the Championship Tour.

Davey Cathels

Rank: 17 (tied) Results: 25, 9, 25, 5 Milestones: Davey Cathels had a breakout moment in Rio, knocking out defending champion Filipe Toledo and giant-killer Stuart Kennedy. He also outscored Julian Wilson in Round One of that event. At Bells he knocked out Gabriel Medina and enjoyed a Round One win over Ibelli and Jeremy Flores. The pride of North Narrabeen, Cathels is representing his legendary surf community well.

Cathels Takes Out Toledo
Australian rookie Davey Cathels pulled one of the biggest upsets of the entire event, taking out the defending champion Filipe Toledo.

Jack Freestone

Rank: 19 Results: 25, inj, inj, 2 Milestones: Freestone's gritty performances in Rio carried him all the way to the Final, which was even more impressive given he'd just returned from injury. While there were concerns about Jack after his rocky start, the high-profile Australian is now exceeding expectations. His come-from-behind win against Gabriel Medina in the semifinals should be considered a warning to everyone on Tour. Jack's back, and not about to roll over.

Jack is Back
Rookie Jack Freestone came from behind to take down the former World Champ and advance to his first CT final.

Kanoa Igarashi

Rank: 20 Results: 9, 13, 13, 13 Milestones: Igarashi and Caio Ibelli are the only rookies who haven't suffered a Round Two loss so far this season; that's no small feat. Kanoa silenced a lot of critics with some powerful surfing on the Gold Coast. When he's hooking off his rails he has impressed, with tough victories over the likes of Jeremy Flores, Dusty Payne, Italo Ferreira, fellow rookie Ryan Callinan, and Josh Kerr.

Profile: Kanoa Igarashi
The story of how the Igarashis put everything behind Kanoa -- and how it paid off.

Ryan Callinan

Rank: 27 Results: 13, 25, 25, 13 Milestones: Nobody's had a tougher start to the season than Callinan, who lost his father two weeks before the Quiksilver Pro. He's managed brief moments of surfing brilliance since then, but is still in search of some momentum. He's racked up wins against Jordy Smith and Kolohe Andino, but his full impact is yet to be felt.

Ryan Callinan's Warning Shot
Australian Rookie Ryan Callinan finally earned his first Round One triumph of 2016 in a tight battle with Kolohe Andino and Wiggolly Dantas in the Oi Rio Pro.

Alex Ribeiro

Rank: 37 Results: 25, 25, 25, 25 Milestones: Ribeiro is still searching for his first heat win of the season. It's worth noting the Brazilian arrived at the Quiksilver Pro on crutches, nursing an ankle injury. Whether it's a lingering problem is TBD, but regardless, it's been a rough welcome for Ribeiro. His Round Two losses have come by the way of Medina, Ibelli, and Ace Buchan (twice), and he's now sitting in last place among full-time tour surfers.

Ribeiro and the Rookie Class
Meet your 2016 Championship Tour rookie class.