LOS ANGELES, Calif., USA (Monday, March 20, 2023) - Today, the World Surf League (WSL) releases the schedule for the 2023 Challenger Series, the ultimate battleground for surfers to showcase their talents for the chance to qualify for the elite Championship Tour (CT) for 2024.
The 2023 Challenger Series gets underway following the conclusion of Stop No. 5 on the CT (the Western Australia Margaret River Pro), with two events in Australia: the Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro and the GWM Sydney Surf Pro. Surfers will then reconvene in July in Ballito, South Africa, followed by the US Open of Surfing Presented by Pacifico, which returns to its regularly scheduled spot in late July. The Series rounds out in October with events in Portugal and Brazil, after which the top 10 ranked men and top five ranked women will qualify to join the world's best surfers on the 2024 Championship Tour. Competitors will count their four best results out of the six events.
2023 WSL Challenger Series Schedule:
- Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro Presented by GWM (Queensland, Australia): May 6 - 13, 2023
- GWM Sydney Surf Pro Presented by Bonsoy (New South Wales, Australia): May 17 - 24, 2023
- Ballito Pro Presented by O'Neill (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa): July 2 - 9, 2023
- US Open of Surfing presented by Pacifico (Huntington Beach, USA): July 29 - August 6
- EDP Vissla Pro Ericeira Presented by Estrella Galicia (Ericeira, Portugal): October 1 - 8, 2023
- Corona Saquarema Pro (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil): October 14 - 21, 2023
For 2023, the Challenger Series fields will be reduced from 96 to 80 men and 64 to 48 women, enabling competitions to take advantage of more optimum swell cycles at each respective location. Most of the reduction comes from the prior allocation for CT surfers who made the Mid-season Cut. Starting this season, those CT surfers will not be required to compete at two Challenger Series events; though, they can apply for an event wildcard if they wish to compete. The 12 men and seven women who were on the CT at the start of the season, but fell below the cut line and missed CT requalification, will automatically qualify for all Challenger Series events.
"After an exciting start to the 2023 Championship Tour season, it feels great to announce the schedule for the Challenger Series," said Jessi Miley-Dyer, WSL Chief of Sport. "These six events play a big role in determining the lineup for the 2024 Championship Tour, by offering a pathway for new talent to join the CT, as well as a second chance for CT surfers who missed the Mid-season Cut to rejoin the Tour. With the new field sizes, everyone who's competing will be focused on CT qualification and we're also going to be able to make the most of the best conditions at each location, so I'm excited to see how these events play out."
The Challenger Series, which is the second of a three-tier competition structure, will host 80 men and 48 women at each event, comprised of athletes from the following:
- 12 men and seven women from the CT who did not make the Mid-season Cut,
- 10 men and five women from the previous year's Challenger Series rankings,
- Three men and two women who were CT surfers in the prior season that did not requalify for either the CT or the Challenger Series,
- 49 men and 30 women as allocated by the seven WSL regions (Australia/Oceania, Asia, Africa, Europe, Hawaii/Tahiti Nui, North America, and Latin America), and
- The men's 2022 World Junior Champion,
- The women's 2022 World Junior Champion, and
- Five men's and three women's wildcards per event.
The Challenger Series will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, the free WSL app, and the WSL's YouTube channel. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL's broadcast partners.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.