The future was yesterday!
Kelly Slater, Kelly Slater, Kelly Slater, etc. but did you really think the world’s greatest surfer would actually go away, could actually leave after becoming decapitated after the much ballyhooed mid-season cut?
After quietly changing the rules under cover of darkness, the World Surf League has come into the light and gifted our 11x champion a golden ticket into the season’s remaining events plus the entire beginning of next year’s campaign.
Per the sizzling hot press release:
MARGARET RIVER, Western Australia, Australia (Thursday, April 27, 2023) – Kelly Slater (USA) and Johanne Defay (FRA) have been awarded the WSL Season Wildcards for 2023/2024. The Season Wildcards gives Slater and Defay entry into Championship Tour (CT) events following the Mid-season Cut and entry into the first half of the 2024 CT season. Miguel Pupo (BRA) and Brisa Hennessy (CRC) have been awarded the 2024 WSL Season Wildcards, which gives entry to all competitions in the first half of the 2024 CT season.
Slater, as a former World Champion, and Defay, as a previous Final 5 competitor, will earn ranking points as the Season Wildcards and thus will be eligible for the WSL Final 5 rankings, where the Top 5 surfers on the men’s and women’s CT will compete in the Rip Curl WSL Finals to compete for the 2023 World Title. Slater’s ranking points will also give him the opportunity to compete for provisional qualification for the Olympic Games Paris 2024. Defay’s provisional qualification for the Olympics was confirmed last week at the Western Australia Margaret River Pro.
The WSL is the Tier 1 pathway to qualification for the world’s best surfers to the Olympic Games. Of the 48 athletes competing in the games, the Top 18 competitors (10 men and 8 women) will qualify via the 2023 WSL Championship Tour’s final rankings. Each country can only qualify a maximum of two men and two women.
While stupidity and questionable behavior reigns supreme in Santa Monica, Slater being allowed to continue to waffle around in the public eye was a foregone conclusion. The now obviously failing league clearly needs the world’s greatest surfer more than he needs it…
…oh hell. It’s a proper embarrassing junk show all around. Slater is only, and maybe not even anymore, a threat in heavily barreling lefts. One remains on tour. And while sitting champion Filipe Toledo is too afraid to paddle, is there any thought that Cocoa Beach’s finest has anything left in the tank?
What’s more, how does Jackson Baker feel about this wicked turn?
Let him, the greatest of all-time, prove me wrong, but I say he does not and the pandering to the past, instead of the future, lays the World Surf League absolutely bare.
Please share your opinion.