There is one thing that can be declared with absolute certainty -- next year, we'll see two new rookies surfing on the world stage.
As the final stop on the women's Qualifying Series, the Port Stephens Pro represented the last chance for aspiring CT surfers to compete for rankings points at the final of seven 6,000-point Qualifying Series events -- the highest point pool available at any women's QS event.
Locking in the yearly QS rankings also presents the field with an opportunity for an end-of season celebration that many describe as the women's equivalent to the Triple Crown.
For background, there are two main rankings systems: The Championship Tour (CT) rankings and the Qualifying Series (QS) rankings. The CT rankings determine the World Champions while the QS rankings help determine who will qualify for next year's Championship Tour.
The 2019 women's CT will be comprised of the top 10 from the CT rankings, the top six from the QS rankings and one awarded wildcard spot (17 in total). Only results from Championship Tour events will count towards the CT rankings. The Qualifying Series rankings will include results from all surfers competing in QS events.
Macy Callaghan finished runner-up at Port Stephens, ending the year ranked No. 6 on the QS. At 17-years-old, Callaghan missed the qualification cut by one heat last year, but after numerous wildcard appearances on the CT this year, the Australian is looking significantly more comfortable in the midst of competition.
Costa Rican Brisa Hennessy made it to the Quarterfinals in Port Stephens when she was eliminated by eventual event winner Nikki Van Dijk. She's wrapping her season ranked No. 7 on the QS, one spot below Callaghan, taking the last qualification position. This year marked the first year that the 19-year-old surfed the QS full time.
The two existing CT surfers that have requalified through the QS system are Paige Hareb and Bronte Macaulay. Although Hareb and Macaulay are both actively competing on the CT in 2018, they are sitting too far outside the qualification cutoff on the Jeep Leaderboard.
Even a solid result at the upcoming Beachwaver Maui Pro, the final CT event of the year, will not bump them up enough spots to qualify through the CT. Suffering from an injury for a large portion of the season, Hareb sits at No. 18 on the Jeep Leaderboard and Macaulay at No. 16.
The Port Stephens Pro was vital for both of their 2019 qualification campaigns. Hareb made it to the Quarterfinals leaving her ranked No. 4 on the QS, and Macaulay advanced to the Semis leaving her ranked No. 5. Both have officially qualified for the Championship Tour next year based off of their QS standings, regardless of their CT ranks.
Watch the Beachwaver Maui Pro live November 25 - December 6 on Worldsurfleague.com, App and Facebook.