After four events in Australia, the athletes of the Championship Tour have gone their separate ways as they get set for the next event, the Jeep Surf Ranch Pro. For some though, there's another stop on the way, the ISA World Games in El Salvador. This is the final Olympic qualifying event, so a necessary step for CT athletes also planning to represent their countries in Japan.
Yellow Jersey Holders Leave Australia With A Healthy Lead
After four events in Australia, the Yellow Jersey holders atop the Rankings have a very healthy lead, with 7870 points separating Carissa Moore and World no.2 Tatiana Weston-Webb, and 8685 points between Gabriel Medina and Men's No.2 Italo Ferreira.
This all but assures these athletes a spot in the first-ever Rip Curl WSL Finals event at Trestles where the World Title will be decided in a single day of surfing.
But there's far less separation between the other athletes in the current Final Five, meaning we'll see some exciting rankings changes as the season progresses. There's many athletes just under the Final Five bubble ready to burst in.
CT Athletes Score Pumping Kirra
While some athletes headed straight home after an already extended stint Down Under, some including Seth Moniz and Griffin Colapinto headed from Western Australia to the Gold Coast in time for a firing session at Kirra, one of the best right-hand pointbreaks on earth. Stephanie Gilmore was home in time to score one of the waves of the day there on May 25th.
John John Florence Injury Update
Unfortunately, two-time World Champion John John Florence injured himself in Margaret River. He's had surgery and recently posted another update on his recovery, as pundits speculate about when he'll make a return to the Championship Tour, and if he and fellow USA Olympic surfer Kolohe Andino -- who is also injured -- will be ready for the Olympic Games.
Cibilic The Feel Good Story From Aus Leg
Morgan Cibilic finishes this leg of the Championship Tour within the current Final Five, in his Rookie year on Tour. He's made a very compelling case now for Rookie of the Year, even with much of the season left to run.
Now, we'll see how he handles the progression-focused Surf Ranch. Cibilc blitzed his way through the Aus leg with serious power surfing, though a different approach will be needed in the tub.
Off To El Salvador
Many Championship Tour athletes are headed straight to El Salvador, where the ISA World Games will take place between May 29 and June 6. While attending and competing is enough to ensure Olympic qualification, athletes will still want to do well, meaning they'll be backing up after a long Australian leg, and then heading from El Salvador to California for the Surf Ranch event.