- WSL / Ed Sloane
- WSL / Ed Sloane

It's only fitting that it all came down to Semifinal One of the Vans World Cup of Surfing, the final stop of the 2016 Qualifying Series, to determine the last man to qualify for next year's Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour. That man is Jack Freestone. Freestone, who did not requalify as part of the CT in 2016, finished around 50 points ahead of Hawaiian hopeful Ezekiel Lau by virtue of placing third over Lau in their Semi.

Jack Freestone placed second in Heat 1 of Round Four at the VANS World Cup of Surfing at Sunst Beach, Hawaii today. After a tense day of competition, Jack Freestone is the last man standing on the QS rankings. - WSL / Kelly Cestari

That's out of a total of nearly 19,000 points accumulated by both surfers over the course of the entire season. "Every heat is important at this event, everyone is still in it, it's so close, I just tried to get through heats," Freestone told the WSL on finals day. In the end, it was a head-to-head, tenacious match up, coming down to whomever finished higher in their Semifinal, with Freestone besting Lau by a little more than one point.

Jack Freestone during his Semi final heat. Freestone's clutch 5th place result at the World Cup propelled him onto the 2017 Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour. - WSL / Ed Sloane

For Lau it must be a bitterly disappointing blow to get so close, only to be clipped at the buzzer. But, there's plenty of reason to stay positive: He's proven to the world he's got the talent, technique and tenacity to hang with the best of the best. With a high seed set for the 2017 QS, it's a good bet that Lau will surf his way onto the CT in 2018.

Ezekiel Lau during his Semi Final heat. Despite the disappointment of being so close to the Dream Tour, Lau has plenty to look forward to in 2017. - WSL / Ed Sloane

Freestone's return to the CT seems fitting redemption for a talented, dynamic surfer with plenty of upward mobility. The Australian has the pedigree, and if he can transfer his progressive approach into his contest act, only good things are ahead for the lanky Gold Coaster.

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