The 2014 ASP Qualification Series (QS) season is underway this year with the opening three men's events and opening women's event now completed.
You will notice I said "QS" as ASP has decided to return to the former naming conventions of WCT (World Championship Tour) and QS (Qualifying Series). No more World Rankings just WCT and QS.
Along with this renaming, there are quite a few new rules relating to athlete rankings and which events points can be obtained at.
The WCT still decides the Top 22 for the 2015 season while the QS determines their Top 10 which, combined with two ASP-selected wildcards, comprise the Top 34. No difference you may say, but there is.
Starting in 2014, ASP Top 34 surfers can only count WCT points towards their WCT rankings - no longer able to apply these results to the former World Rankings (now QS). The QS now also only count the BEST five results (previously best eight) from all Prime and Star events during the year. This will mean a lot lower cutoff value this season with regards to points.
In the spirit of experimentation, I did a mock rankings from 2013 under the new 2014 formula with the best five and found that the cutoff would have dropped from 13100 to 10520. With that considered, I can see a lot of movement in the rankings event to event and not too many surfers being in a safe position.
Assuming a similar result for 2014, the starting point for qualification via the QS Top 10 is around 11,000. As the year progresses, we will revise this if the model requires it.
On a recent note, congratulations to Kelly Slater winning his 8th title at Pipeline the first being 22 years ago in 1992. It's incredibly impressive to assess the longevity and excellence of his storied career - something I think we will be diving deeper into in the coming year.
Current QS Top 10 rankings after the ASP 5-Star Volcom Pipe Pro are:
1st: Kelly Slater (USA)
2nd: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)
3rd: Mason Ho (HAW)
4th: Adriano de Souza(BRA)
5th: Dusty Payne (HAW)
5th: Kiron Jabour (HAW)
7th: Mitchel Coleborn (AUS)
7th: Torrey Meister (HAW)
9th: Brent Dorrington (AUS)
10th: Damien Hobgood (USA)
10th: Nathan Yeomans (USA)
10th: Maxime Huscenot (FRA)
On the women's QS, there's only been the initial 1-Star event held at Bells so far so nothing much to report there, but congratulations to Stephanie Single on her win.
There are no changes to the women's qualification this year so the Top 10 finishers from the WCT and Top 6 from the QS plus one ASP wildcard will be the Top 17 for 2015. The best five events on the QS will count as opposed to best four last year so expect the points cutoff to be around 5,000.
The Hurley Australian Open and Burton Toyota Newcastle 6 Stars are on back-to-back over the next two weeks so rankings will move around a lot in this initial phase of the 2014 season.
Updates to the Situation Room will be made every two weeks.
Al Hunt ASP Tour Manager