The WSL Founders' Cup will get off to an explosive start Saturday, May 5 with two of the three qualifying runs on tap. All five teams will surf all three runs, in which each surfer will catch three lefthand waves and three righthand waves. At the end of a team's run, each surfer's top-scoring left and top-scoring right will go into the combined team score, for a possible maximum of 100 total points per run (if all five surfers earn two perfect 10s).
At the end of the three qualifiers, only the three teams with the highest total score will advance to Sunday's Final, so competitors are likely to push the limits to put a big number on the board and pile on some pressure.
In the team format, surfers can lean on their teammates, as Brazil's Adriano de Souza joked Friday (two of his, Filipe Toledo and Gabriel Medina, have smashed the competition here in Lemoore). But Kelly Slater, the Surf Ranch Yoda himself, noted that even in this new format competitive strategy will come into play.
"Out in the ocean, you might have 40 minutes and catch 15 waves," he said. "Out here, you might have two chances or four chances or six chances.
Competing at WSL Founders' Cup, he said, "is more about the offense than defense. You have to figure out your order [of team surfers], and how far you're going to push it in the beginning and that kind of thing. It just changes things."
Whether you're on site in Lemoore or watching live, this is the order in which to see how it all unfolds:
Saturday's schedule of events:
QUALIFYING RUN 1
8:30am - 9:10am: BRAZIL TEAM
Gabriel Medina, Filipe Toledo, Adriano de Souza, Silvana Lima, Taina Hinckel
9:10am - 9:50am: WORLD TEAM
Jordy Smith, Michel Bourez, Kanoa Igarashi, Paige Hareb, Bianca Buitendag
9:50am - 10:30am: AUSTRALIA TEAM
Stephanie Gilmore, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Matt Wilkinson, Tyler Wright
10:30am - 11:10am: EUROPE TEAM
Johanne Defay, Jeremy Flores, Frederico Morais, Leonardo Fioravanti, Frankie Harrer
11:10am - 11:50am: USA TEAM
Kelly Slater, John John Florence, Carissa Moore, Kolohe Andino, Lakey Peterson
INTERMISSION: 12:00pm - 1:30
QUALIFYING RUN 2:
o Team A (TBD) - 1:30pm - 2:10pm o Team B (TBD) - 2:10pm - 2:50pm o Team C (TBD) - 2:50pm - 3:30pm o Team D (TBD) - 3:30pm - 4:10pm o Team E (TBD) - 4:10pm - 4:50pm