Billabong Pipe Masters

WCT 2015: Who's In, for Now

Vans World Cup: Making the Cut, Episode 4
Ross Williams explains that - with an end to the action at Sunset - the qualification picture just got a bit clearer.

The Vans World Cup of Surfing, a Qualification Series (QS) event, solidified the standings of some of the surfers who have been working all year, contest by contest, for enough points to make the 2015 World Championship Tour (WCT). But for surfers hovering just above the cutoff, their fates depend on how results at the Billabong Pipe Masters -- the final WCT event of 2014 -- shake out.

The System:
-The men's WCT has 32 surfers. See the WCT list.
-Of those, the Top 22 surfers automatically get a spot for the next year and the bottom 10 are dropped.
-The new crop of 10 comes up from the QS, which sends its Top 10 to the elite Tour. See the QS list

The Catch:

Beautiful beautiful Pipe.   ASP / Cestari Pipe to finalize the lineup for the 2015 men's CT. - WSL / Kelly Cestari

This is why Pipe will have impact: WCT surfers can also compete -- and accrue points -- in QS contests. This is, in essence, an insurance policy. If a WCT surfer has an off year and ends up ranked lower than 22 but he is ranked No. 10 or higher on the QS, he'll qualify with his QS points.

If, however, that WCT surfer winds up in the Top 22 on their own Tour, then he doesn't need the QS points, and the next surfer in line, ranked No. 11 or lower, gets the spot.

The Scenarios for 2015:
If Filipe Toledo (BRA), Adriano De Souza (BRA) and Jordy Smith (ZAF) remain in the Top 22 after competing at Pipe, these surfers are already good to go for 2015:
-Matt Banting (AUS)
-Julian Wilson (AUS)
-Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)
-Jadson Andre (BRA)
-Adam Melling (AUS)
-Italo Ferreira (BRA)
-Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
-Keanu Asing (HAW)
-Jeremy Flores (FRA)
-Dusty Payne (HAW)

As long as Wilson and Andre hold their current spots among the Top 22 on the WCT, Brett Simpson (USA) and Ricardo Christie (NZL) will make the QS cutoff and round out the Top 10.

Tomas Hermes (BRA) tucks into one during Round 2. Hermes has a chance to make the cut, but it's up to Melling and Wilko. - WSL / Ed Sloane

If current WCT surfers Melling and Wilkinson do well at Pipe and finish the season in the top 22, then QS surfers Tomas Hermes (BRA) and Garrett Parkes (AUS) can get spots 9 and 10.

If only Melling or only Wilko gets in, then Hermes can make the jump, but Parkes will be left to try again next year.

With professional futures hanging in the balance, the 2014 Billabong Pipe Masters has higher stakes than ever. Catch the action LIVE daily at this site starting December 8-20, 2014.