Currently, nine championships have already been contested on the 2023 Championship Tour. Only one championship remains and 7 out of 10 surfers have already qualified for the Rip Curl WSL Finals.
On July 19, the penultimate championship of the season ended with two winners at the Corona Open J-Bay in South Africa. In the men's category, Filipe Toledo returned to triumph in South Africa, one of his favorite championships and won his third victory of the season. This victory consolidates his position at the top of the ranking.
As far as the women's category is concerned, we had a new winner, who had not won any trophy so far in this 2023 season. Lakey Peterson takes the win in South Africa and gets right into the fight to get into the top five of the ranking. This victory has moved her up two places in the rankings and she will arrive in Tahiti, the last competition, with a chance to get into the Rip Curl WSL Finals.
The 28-year-old American, gets a victory in the Women's Championship Tour 3 years later. Her best season was in 2018, when she placed second overall behind Australian legend Stephanie Gilmore. In addition, Peterson was the highest-ranked U.S. surfer for the world championship tour of the year.
The next championship, SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro, will take place in French Polynesia from August 11. This will be the last championship of the regular season before the finals where we will know the best and the best surfer of the year. In Teahupoo, Tahiti we will know the 10 qualifiers for the finals, 5 male and 5 female surfers.
At this point, 7 surfers out of 10 have already qualified for the finals.
In the case of the women's category, four out of five have already qualified. There is only one place left. Depending on the performances of the last contest, 3 surfers are eligible for this fifth position: the one who currently holds this last spot, Caitlin Simmers; the one who just won this last contest, Lakey Peterson; and possibly one of the best surfers of all time, Stephanie Gilmore. There is even a possibility, however slim, that one more will join the party. In this case we are talking about Tatiana Weston-Webb, who has also recently qualified for the Olympic Games with Brazil.
So it is expected to be a super competitive and intense last date to achieve this place in the finals. Some of these surfers will join the already qualified, Carissa Moore, Tyler Wright, Caroline Marks and Molly Picklum.
In the case of the men's ranking, there are three surfers who have already secured their place in the finals: Filipe Toledo, Ethan Ewing and Griffin Colapinto (despite having considerably lowered their level in the last two championships). In this case, unlike the women's section, the men still have two places left to qualify.
Currently, the fourth and fifth places go to Brazilians Joao Chianca and Yago Dora, respectively. There is a relatively big difference between fourth and fifth place, so, barring a catastrophe, Joao Chianca should compete in the finals in California. The fifth place, will be much more disputed, and is that another Brazilian, Gabriel Medina, is sixth and very close to Yago Dora, so it could reach that last place perfectly. As well as the Hawaiian John John Florence and the Australian Jack Robinson.
A little further back, as a more remote but not impossible option, the Italian Leonardo Fiovaranti (recently qualified to play the Olympic Games with his country) and Ryan Callinan could also opt for that fifth place.
In conclusion, in about three weeks approximately, we will live an exciting closing of the regular season with the last championship in Teahupoo, Tahiti, a place that is known for having one of the most impressive waves in the world. Without any doubt, it will be an amazing tenth championship in which we will already know all the finalists who will compete for the title in California from September 8.