- WSL / Kelly Cestari
- WSL / Kelly Cestari

Believe it or not, the 2016 season is already in the home stretch. There are only three Championship Tour (CT) events left and just five on the women's Qualifying Series (QS). While Tyler Wright has taken a big lead in the race for the World Title, the battle to qualify for next year's CT is far from over. This is make-or-break time for surfers on the bubble. One good result can be the difference for those trying to keep their dreams alive, and for those trying to break through.

Laura in Fiji
If things stay as they are, Laura will get another shot at waves like this in 2017.

How it works: The women's Championship Tour (CT) is made up of 17 women, 16 who qualify and one wildcard who's chosen by the commissioner's office. At the end of the season, the Top 10 women on the CT rankings requalify automatically, and the top six women on the QS rankings also qualify.

The curveball: If a surfer makes the cut on both the CT and QS rankings (Malia Manuel, for example, is currently No. 7 on CT and No. 2 on the QS), then her spot goes to the next-lowest ranked surfer on the QS.

If the season ended now, This is who would be in -- and who would be out -- for the 2017 tour. After the Roxy pro Casablanca, three women on the CT are double-qualified, which means that the QS women through No. 9 (six spots, minus three double-qualifiers) will make it. The big caveat, of course, is that there are three more CT events and a handful of QS events left in the season, so this list remains fluid.

Bronte Macaulay

Bronte Macaulay (AUS) with her father right out of the water after winning the QS6000. As the daughter of former pro Dave Macaulay (l), Bronte arguably had a head start in surfing. But her QS success? That's all her own. - WSL / Marenelmar

CT Rank: 17 (injury replacement appearances)
QS Rank: 3
If the Tour ended tomorrow? In.
Macaulay has been an impressive presence this year in a few CT events, in which she surfed as an injury replacement for Lakey Peterson. As the daughter of iconic surfer and shaper Dave Macaulay, Bronte arguably has had a head start -- but her success so far is all her own. Between elite-level appearances, the Australian wunderkind has been churning out solid results on the QS, too. She won the 6,000-level Los Cabos Open, scored a third place in El Salvador and a fifth at the Aussie Bodies Women's Pro, among others. Barring a major shakeup, expect to see her go toe-to-toe with the CT pros in 2017.

Keely Andrew

Keely Andrew (AUS) all smiles before heading into her Round Four matchup with Carissa Moore (HAW) Andrew has been doing double duty, surfing the QS and the CT, and it's paid off. - WSL / Jackson Van Kirk

CT Rank: 13
QS Rank: 4
If the Tour ended tomorrow? In.
In a recent interview, Andrew noted that trying to keep up with two tours -- both the CT and the QS -- requires expert travel skills and a lot of hard work. And happily for the Aussie rookie, it's paying off: A win at El Salvador's QS 6,000 last June, along with some 5th-place QS finishes, has put her in a comfortable equal-fourth. With a big sigh of relief, she'll get another chance to surf on the elite stage in 2017.

Silvana Lima

Silvana's Power Game
Who can forget heats like this? If things keep going Lima's way, you might see more of it soon.

CT Rank: 20 (she earned a 13th-place finish as a wildcard in Rio)
QS Rank: 6
If the Tour ended tomorrow? In.
Talk about determination. On the cusp of turning 32, if and when Lima's back on tour, she'd be the oldest female surfer on the CT (but still a spring chicken by Kelly Slater standards). So far, Lima's been on the CT, off the CT, on again, and then quickly back off. When she was back on for the second time in 2015, she blew minds in Oz with her power-house airs and go-for-broke approach to competition. But it wasn't consistent and back she went to the QS...where she may just have qualified all over again.

Laura Enever

Laura Enever  (AUS) warming up for her Round Three heat at the Swatch Women's Pro. Like Tyler Wright and Matt Wilkinson, Enever has been working with Glenn Hall. At Trestles, some of that work was evident in her surfing; she finished with a solid 5th place. - WSL / Kirstin Scholtz

CT Rank: 10
QS Rank: 7
If the Tour ended tomorrow? In.
Despite Enever's incredible talent, her fate at the end of the year has sometimes relied on other surfers' results. This season had shaped up the same way -- until Trestles. Laura finished in fifth place there, and jumped a spot to make it inside the cut to CT No. 10. Even better, she's at QS No. 7, and therefore double-qualified. That opens a CT spot for the woman ranked just below her on the QS -- in this case, new European Champ Pauline Ado.

Pauline Ado

Pauline Ado (FRA) .Acores16 The former CT surfer finished in third place in the Azores, and went on to win the Roxy Pro Morocco, where she also became the 2016 European QS Champ. - WSL / Laurent Masurel

CT Rank: N/A
QS Rank: 8
If the Tour ended tomorrow? In.
After strong finishes this summer on the QS, the French surfer just won the Roxy Pro Casablanca. That not only secured her title as European QS Champ, but also bumped her up one spot on the QS rankings, tipping the scales in her qualification favor. Ado has been on the CT before and has what it takes to make it and hang on. This year she's had the eye of le tigre to surf her way back.

Coco Ho

Coco Ho (HAW) placed third in Heat 1 of Round Three at the Swatch Women's Pro. Ho was also finding her groove at Trestles -- until Enever took her down in Round Four. - WSL / Sean Rowland

CT Rank: 15
QS Rank: 9
If the Tour ended tomorrow? In.
Like Laura, Coco has had some solid results on the QS this year, including a win at July's Paul Mitchell Supergirl Pro contest, which was worth a whopping 6,000 points. But a non-stop string of 13th- and 9th-place finishes on the CT have not helped her cause. Even more painful was her Round Four loss at the Swatch Women's Pro, which she described as "brutal." And yet, on the roller-coaster that is pro surfing, Laura's success at Trestles -- and thus, double-qualification -- actually lets Coco slip through. At least, for now.

Bianca Buitendag

Bianca at Margaret River
Buitendag has the power and the prowess to take down the other women on Tour, but her results haven't stacked up.

CT Rank: 12
QS Rank: N/A
If the Tour ended tomorrow? Out.
Shocking, but true: Bianca is currently sitting outside the Top 10 for the first time she joined the tour in 2013. She's been such a strong finisher, in fact, that she hasn't been doing double-time on the QS to back herself up. It's a bold move that, unfortunately, could backfire.

Alessa Quizon

Alessa Quizon struggled in her Round 1 heat, but will get another chance in Round 2 at Bells. Quizon's best CT result this year was 5th at Bells. Since then, she's had a string of 13th-place finishes that have threatened her job security. - WSL / Ed Sloane

CT Rank: 16
QS Rank: 11
If the Tour ended tomorrow? Out.
Talent aside, the CT has been a struggle for the Oahu native. Her best result this year was a fifth-place result at the Rip Curl Women's Pro at Bells Beach, where conditions were not unlike the type of open-ocean waves with which she grew up. But apart from that top-notch result, Quizon has had straight 13th-place finishes ever since. That, combined with a handful of low-scoring finishes on the QS, doesn't bode well for her potential of staying on tour in 2017.

Chelsea Tuach

Rookie Chelsea Tuach, preparing for Round One at the Fiji Women's Pro. Tuach is in a tough place on the rankings. - WSL / Kelly Cestari

CT Rank: 18
QS Rank: 17
If the Tour ended tomorrow? Out.
No one ever said it's easy to go to the big leagues, and a few of this year's rookies have had to find that out the hard way. At just 20 years old, Chelsea has some impressive surfing chops. But her performances in the jersey have been lackluster, leaving her far down on the ranks and making for a tough first year. It's possible, though, that her season of taking on CT titans will help her in the long-run, preparing her mentally and competitively for a longer stay next time around.

Tune in to the Cascais Women's Pro to see Keely, Chelsea and the rest of the Top 17 tear things up. The event streams live daily starting September 24 at 8:00 a.m. daily local time.

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