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WSL Stats: Title Probabilities

Welcome to the Beachwaver Maui Pro World Title Probability Preview, an endeavor where our in-house analytics team combines their significant insight with a data-driven approach to create the gold standard for surf soothsaying.

The WSL Stats department took an ultra-close look at past performances, CT competition trends and a whole huge pile of league data to calculate the probability of the two title contenders -- Stephanie Gilmore and Lakey Peterson -- individual chances of winning the 2018 World Title in Maui.

Probability of winning the 2018 Title:

  • Stephanie Gilmore: 99%
  • Lakey Peterson: 1%
  • All others: 0%
Preview: Beachwaver Maui Pro
13:35
The WSL desk crew breaks down the epic conditions forecasted for the final stop of the 2018 women's Title Race.

Our analysis is based on a metric that we are calling Heat Differential. The definition of Heat Differential is how much better or worse a surfer performs compared to opponents in their heats. This is calculated by taking the difference of a surfer's total heat score and the total heat score of their heat opponent(s).

Example: During the 2018 J-Bay final, Stephanie Gilmore defeated Lakey Peterson 14.24 to 11.50. This gave Gilmore a Heat Differential of +2.74 for that heat. Conversely, Peterson had a Heat Differential of -2.74. For this analysis, we calculated the title contender's Heat Differentials from their previous three years at Honolua Bay and their 2018 season as a whole. 

6X World Champion and Jeep Rankings Leader Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) advanced directly to Round 3 of the 2018 Roxy Pro France after winning Heat 3 of Round 1 in Hossegor, France. Stephanie Gilmore WSL / Damien Poullenot

World Title Scenarios

  • There are 2 World Title contenders going into Maui: Stephanie Gilmore and Lakey Peterson.
  • Stephanie Gilmore will win the World Title if she makes the Semifinal.
  • If Stephanie Gilmore doesn't make the Semis, Lakey Peterson must Win the event to force a Surf Off for the World Title.
  • In the event of a tie, the surfers will have a Surf Off, the format to be determined by the Commissioner's Office.
World Title contender Lakey Peterson (USA) advanced directly to Round 3 of the 2018 Roxy Pro France after winning Heat 4 of Round 1 in Hossegor, France. Lakey Peterson WSL / Damien Poullenot

Final Takeaways

Two out of the past three times competing at Honolua Bay, Stephanie Gilmore has finished 5th or worse (hasn't made the Semis). While Peterson hasn't placed better than 5th (9th the past two years) at Honolua Bay, she has been dominant at right-hand point breaks all season with three finals appearances and two wins (Gold Coast and Keramas) in four events (Gold Coast, Bells, Keramas, J-Bay).

It's a long shot, but there is definitely a path for Peterson to defy the odds (and the probabilities) and force a Surf Off. Then who knows what happens.

Bonus fact: In head-to-head CT matchups, Gilmore is 7-0 vs. Peterson. So if Peterson were to force a Surf Off, she would then have to beat Stephanie head-to-head for the first time in her career. 

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