The Beachwaver Maui Pro, the final stop on the 2018 Women's Championship Tour, will kick off Nov 25 - Dec 06.
In the 2018 World Title Race, only Stephanie Gilmore and Lakey Peterson are mathematically in contention to win. This event will also be the last opportunity for lower-ranked surfers to secure their positions for next year's Tour. California's Sage Erickson needs a critical result to requalify.
The World Title scenarios going into the Beachwaver Maui Pro are as follows:
- Gilmore will win the World Title with a 3rd or better at the Beachwaver Maui Pro.
- If Gilmore finishes 5th or worse, Peterson must win the event to force a surf-off for the World Title
- In the event of a tie for any World Title at the end of the season, the tied surfer will have a "surf-off" during the final event and the format will be determined by the Commissioner's Office.
For Gilmore, the six-time World Champion, winning will mean tying Layne Beachley for seven World Titles. The accomplishment will put Gilmore into an elite class as one of three individuals to earn seven World Titles, Beachley and Kelly Slater (11).
For Peterson, defeating Gilmore would mark the Californian's first World Title. Peterson is the highest-ranked American surfer on both the women's and men's World Rankings, and the win in Maui would push the event into a Surf-Off. With two event wins this year (Gold Coast, Bali) and two runner-up finishes (J-Bay, Rio), Peterson has the potential to upset Gilmore's hunt for gold.
Wildcards and injury replacements for the upcoming event include Bethany Hamilton, Alana Blanchard, Summer Macedo, and Zoe McDougall. These athletes will replace Tyler Wright (AUS), Silvana Lima (BRA), and Keely Andrew (AUS), who have withdrawn due to injuries sustained earlier this season.
"I am so excited to be competing in my home state of Hawaii," said Hamilton. "Between the beautiful cliff and those epic righthand walls and barrels, Honolua is such a dreamy place. It's going to be amazing to surf against the girls. I can't wait to see what sort of swell comes for us."
Blanchard is a former four-year competitor on the CT and is best known for her style in the lineup. The 28-year-old will return to the competitive stage for the first time since giving birth to her son, Banks. Alongside good friend Hamilton, Blanchard has the opportunity to play spoiler against Gilmore and Erickson, who are both in need of a good start at this event.
"I was definitely very caught off-guard when Jessi texted me and asked if I wanted to be in the Maui Pro," said Blanchard. "It's just such a fun wave, and there are a few big swells on the horizon so it should be really good. I wouldn't say I'm nervous, but I'm just so excited and I need to settle down. It will be good to see everyone and to have the chance to surf such an amazing wave with just one other girl."
Beachwaver Maui Pro Round 1 Matchups:
Heat 1: Johanne Defay (FRA), Courtney Conlogue (USA), Paige Hareb (NZL)
Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW), Coco Ho (HAW), Bethany Hamilton (HAW)
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Sage Erickson (USA), Alana Blanchard (HAW)
Heat 4: Lakey Peterson (USA), Malia Manuel (HAW), Zoe McDougall (HAW)
Heat 5: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Summer Macedo (HAW)
Heat 6: Caroline Marks (USA), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Watch live Nov 25 - Dec 06 on Worldsurfleague.com, App and Facebook.