Nick Carroll: In With a Shot!

14 Nov 2019 4 Share

Nick Carroll

Senior Writer

Is this the year Jack Robinson graduates to the CT. Photo: WSL

Is this the year Jack Robinson graduates to the CT. Photo: WSL

COASTALWATCH | NICK CARROLL

Or are they? Australia’s hopes in the Hawaiian QS big time.

We’re getting squeezed again.

In the next three weeks, two major QSs — Haleiwa and Sunset — will finish the men’s WSL qualifying year. They’re the best and most daunting events on the qualifying calendar. Both are insanely complex and hard on the body. Neither give you any slack at all.

If you want to qualify for the 2020 CT, you’re gonna need about 21,000 points, give or take. Haleiwa and Sunset will both give their winners 10,000, but the points drop off pretty quick after about fifth place.

Only four surfers are a lock to qualify, and they’re all Brazilian: Jadson, Yago Dora, Alex Ribiero and Miguel Pupo. Everyone else has to do something in Hawaii.

Nine Australians are in the QS top 30, and thus within feasible range of qualifying. They’re a tricky and interesting bunch, a blend of CT guys on the comeback, young almost-knowns, and much claimed potential super-surfers. We’ll follow their fortunes throughout these two events, see if they get a shot. We’ll also track Jack Freestone, who’s in the same slot but has a good chance of qualifying via the CT.

CONNOR O’LEARY
Current QS rank: 8
Points: 17,150
It’s all about the low score for these guys. What have they gotta drop in order to improve? Connor has a low score of 1100. If he makes a final in Hawaii he’s easy in. If he gets a fifth he’s probably in. We all know this guy, he is strong and accurate with plenty of heat savvy and has an excellent chance of making it back into the big show.
 
MATT BANTING
Current QS rank: 11
Points: 16,750
I dunno whether to talk Banting up or just shut up, because he clearly likes flying under the radar. Needs a bit more than Connor in order to make certain of a CT place because he’s gonna drop a 2200 low score. Totally competent to pull it off though. 
 
LIAM O’BRIEN
Current QS rank: 13
Points: 14,350
Burleigh boys tend to do well at Sunset so Liam has that on his side. He has lows of 1550 and 1050 and unless he wins an event, he’ll have to replace both of ‘em. It’ll be a career high effort if he can pull it. 
 
STUART KENNEDY
Current QS rank: 15
Points: 13,925
Sorta similar situation to Liam, Stuey has two low ones and will need to bump both of ‘em. Very different surfer though, has been in a lot of good heats at CT and QS level. Everybody rips now, but they don’t all have Stu’s background.
 
MORGAN CIBILIC
Current QS rank: 16
Points: 13,850
Morgan is kind of on fire, blew up in the Euro 10,000 leg and jumped way up into contention pretty much right out of the junior ranks. He recently tore his left MCL but went to Hawaii anyway, you don’t miss chances like this one. Has two tiny throwaways and could make ground quickly with a good result.
 
JACK ROBINSON
Current QS rank: 20
Points: 13,190
Everyone expects a lot of Jack, but right now he doesn’t have a 10,000 result of any kind. Really needs a final and something else. He’ll probably have the best quiver (Eric Arakawa) and definitely has the chops to pull it.
 
JACOB WILLCOX
Current QS rank: 23
Points: 11360
Got a string of CT wildcards early this year and looked pretty good employing them but man it’s a long way from here to 21,000 points. Goofy can be a good thing at Sunset, maybe not so much at pinchy ol’ Haleiwa.
 
CALEB TANCRED
Current QS rank: 24
Points: 11,250
2020’s gonna be a great year for high ranked QS crew, they’ll have access to a much stronger 10-event 10,000 round the WSL is calling the Challenger Series. Caleb’s probably a bit short of breaking the CT here but can for sure set up a profitable year ahead.
 
JORDY LAWLER
Current QS rank: 27
Points: 10,850
Only a huge rally will get our featured QS mid-year guy over the line here, Jordy’s low scores are pretty low though so one good result will advance him into the QS upper deck for next year.
 
DANGER MEN: Oh man, like we said above everyone rips now, but there’s some huge names lurking and a few of them have big North Shore games. BARRON MAMIYA at 12th really feels like the man in the box seat, he’s one of the best surfers in the world at both Haleiwa and Sunset and has a scrawny 1500 throwaway upon which he will for sure improve. Saffer MATTHEW McGILLIVRAY, at 14th, has a 900 low score and surfed a few scorcher heats in last year’s Triple Crown. ETHAN EWING’S way off it at 41st, too good to be written off though but if he doesn’t make a final at Haleiwa that’ll end. But the big shark here is EZEKIEL LAU. Zeke is on 48th with around 8000 points, but he is on a re-qualification mission and not many people will want to stand in his way.
 
SURF: Looks very good indeed, heavy thick NW and W swells for Haleiwa in the 8-10’+ range over the coming weekend, they could rip through the event very quick. We expect the enlivened Nth Pac to continue throwing ideal sized and well angled surf at Sunset too. Light to moderate trades, maybe sea-breezy in the afternoons at Haleiwa.

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