WSL Qualification and Injury Wildcards Will Be Mega Different This Year. A Beautiful Maurice Cole Doco, and the Epic Story of Travis Potter

10 Jan 2020 1 Share

Mike Jennings

Senior Writer


Ten Things from Surfing & the Internet on the Week That Was January 10, 2020

1. The Bushfire Stories Continue

At the top of this week's This Week In Surfing are the stories that are continuing to roll in from Australia's bushfire crisis that ravaged our coasts at the very very end of 2019 into the beginning moments of 2020. 

Nick Carroll has been doing exemplary coverage, and I can't suggest enough that you click up and read the stories he's filed the last five days. From the story of 300 surfboards being lost in the fires in one go, to Mallacoota local Dale Wynward's story of punching the shorey to save some hikers, to how the local South Coast surf shop Akwa Surf is faring in the wake of a tourist evacuation of the town, to ASP Tour legend Phil Macdonald's mad scramble to safety in Tomakin.

We've put up a page pointing to all the various places you can donate to to help.

But I'll highlight again that Ocean & Earth, a legendary independent surf company that is run and raised right in the heart of said South Coast bushfire crisis, has set up a GoFundMe with the aim of raising 100K to distribute to the local community and the orgs doing work there. That's not a bad spot to donate right there.

(Also, if you don't have the cash right now, you may be eligible to give blood, register at

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This past week the bushfires have devastated the South Coast of NSW, Australia. Here at Ocean and Earth we were lucky that all our employees were safe and none lost their homes. We were also lucky that the factory escaped the fires as well. However, many people in our community , family and friends, were not so lucky. People have lost loved ones, homes, businesses and now some people only have the clothes on their backs. Wildlife and forests have been completely destroyed and the fires still continue to burn. In the busiest time of the year for these local communities, it's now a ghost town, with most essential services like electricity, fuel, food scarce and major roads closed. The people of the South Coast relied on summer holidays for their income for the entire year and to get them through winter. It really is heartbreaking for our community. The South Coast people need your immediate help. Our aim is raise $100,000 through a gofundme campaign from the world surf community to disperse among the different local registered charity groups who are doing an amazing job on the ground getting these communities back on their feet. We also want to donate to the Rural Fire Service which has been working for over a month to contain these fires and save lives and properties. Without the RFS many communities would have been totally destroyed including ours. The RFS are all volunteers who risk their lives to save others. They are the true heroes of these fires. Besides donating money, one of the best ways you can help these communities is to book your next holiday on the South Coast. It's a beautiful part of the world, with some of the best beaches, restaurants, hotels and activities in the world. Also please buy South Coast produce from your local supermarket and restaurants. If they don't have it, then demand it! LET'S JOIN TOGETHER AS A SURF COMMUNITY AND GET THE SOUTH COAT PEOPLE BACK ON THEIR FEET! Thanks, the entire team at O&E Please click the link in our bio for the go fund me campaign! 🙏?? All 📸 @josh_burkinshaw

A post shared by Ocean & Earth (@ocean_earth79) on

2. Big Change For WSL Wildcards/Qualification Rumours

There's nothing I love more than putting on a pair of leather pants, bleaching my hair blond, slapping on some mid-90s Oakleys and then using my computer hacking skills to hack into the World Surf League main frame.

"I'm in!" I say, while staring at a black screen with green code scrolling down insanely fast.

Then I jam in a flash drive or USB and wait while the loading bar takes an excrutiatingly long time to... ahh... load.

"Let's go!" I shout, as I pull the flash drive out and rollerblade the hell out of there. On the flash drive? It's a classified email to the world's elite surfers detailing how soon there'll be no such thing as a double qualifications as they drastically overhaul the WSL Wildcard system.

Here's that email:

"Dear Surfers, As most of you are aware, there has been an increase in requests for WSL Season Wildcards, including as a result of an increase in the number of injuries at the CT level over the last few years and, with it, the need for the Tours & Competition Office to allocate WSL Season Wildcards for deserving CT surfers for the following season. Moving forward, we will continue to consider injury wildcard requests but we will also take into account other reasons that are in the “best interest of the sport” when deciding how to allocate wildcards. While the final decision will be WSL’s, we will be putting an advisory panel in place to assist in reviewing all requests. With that in mind, we are changing the QS Qualification Rule in 2020 to stop at Top 10 for the men and Top 6 for the women, regardless of whether there has been a Double Qualification (i.e., a CT surfer that qualifies for the following year’s CT season as (i) one of the top 22 men from the current CT rankings at the end of the current season and the top 10 men from the QS Ranking at the end of the current surfing season or (ii) one of the top 10 women from the current CT rankings at the end of the current season and the top 6 women from the QS ranking at the end of the season). These spots on the CT will come back to the WSL Tours & Competition Office. We believe this rule adjustment will allow us flexibility in allocating Season Wildcards. This rule change will also enable us to address situations, such as where a CT surfer has withdrawn from competition during the season due to a pregnancy. Full detail will be shared when we meet in March before Snapper."

This change comes in light of a truly unique wildcard system taking place this year where two surfers who suffered injury plagued seasons last year, Leo Fioravanti and Mikey Wright, will be given the opportunity to surf the first three events of the year in 2020, by the end of which the better ranked surfer of the two will be allowed to surf on for the remainder of the season.

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Looks like we’re doing it all over again next year! Not exactly the way I wanted it to be but it is what it is. Mikey and myself will be competing in the first 3 events of the year and whoever finishes higher in the rankings after the third event will get the @wsl wildcard. I’ve always worked hard to earn my spot there and I will continue to do so. I’m not preparing for the first 3 events, I’m preparing for the whole year. Thank you! 🙌 || Si riparte nel 2020! Non esattamente come avrei voluto ma non fa niente. Sia io che Mikey participeremo nelle prime tre tappe dell’anno e chi finisce più alto in classifica dopo la terza riceverà la wildcard @wsl per tutto l’anno. Ho sempre dato il massimo per essere lì e lo farò ancora una volta. La preparazione non sarà per le prime 3 tappe ma per tutto l’anno. Grazie per il supporto! Facciamogli il c.... 😎🇮🇹 @quiksilver @redbullitalia @euroglass

A post shared by Leonardo Fioravanti 🇮🇹 (@lfioravanti) on

3. Weird Waves Season 2 Is Here: Alaska

Yesssss, Dylan Graves and his super well put together web series – thanks to his shoe sponsor, Vans – is back with a second season. Weird Waves Season 2 Episode 1 takes us to Alaska for some tidal bore waves and a wave caused by falling chunks of glacier. Shouts to John the construction worker from Alaska! It's good shit.

4. Episode 2 of Hurley's "In and Around the Water" Series

Brett Simpson, Reef Heazlewood and Hiroto Ohhara get around Southern California (Trestles!) with cameos of Kolohe Andino and Filipe Toledo. It's kinda funny/weird that A) This is episode 2 in a series where Episode 1 was released eight months ago. I genuinely thought they had forgotten about it. And B) This clip comes the week that rumours abound that Hurley's new owners will be slicing up the company and its team of surfers, like the ones featured here, as soon as they can.

5. Julian Wilson In Cloudbreak

Shame on me for missing this last week, but here is 2020 Australian Olympian Julian Wilson surfng at Fiji's Cloudbreak. It is very good. He is very good. Life is very good. P.S. I saw some comments calling this the worst song on a surf clip in forever, but oh man, I thought it was incredibly rad. Props to ya, Jules and Jimmy Lees (filmer/editor)!

6. The First Wave: Maurice Cole

Speaking of videos that didn't come out this week, this beautiful short film on Maurice Cole came out in 2017, but is getting a lot of love right now, I think because it might have been made publically available online this week for the first time (after winning the London Surf Film Fest for Best International Short yonks ago). And why the hell not, it's great. Get around it.

7. Jackon Dorian's 2019 Reel

SOS (Son of Shane) cuts up a best of the year clip taking in all his surf travels of the last 12 months around Australia, Indonesia, the Maldives, Mexico and Texas. According to, Jackson is 13 years old and is the fourth most popular person on the website with the first name Jackson.

8. A New O’Riginals, Travis Potter

The O'Riginals from O'Neill brings us another banger with the story of Travis Potter – as core lored as core lords get. His story, heading into the jungle to live off the land and chase barrels, is the absolute stuff of legend.

9. The QS Got Started In China This Week

It's a QS 5000 and it's called the "Corona Open China Hosted by Wanning". This guy became the first surfer representing China to get through a heat in a major QS, which is news. In 25 years, when China has five of the top ten surfers in the world, remember this moment. Or don't, it doesn't matter, you'll be living in 2045! Who knows what you'll be up to!?

10. Let's Re-Meet Mateus Herdy

The Brazillian, 2018 World Junior Champion (nephew of Guilherme Herdy) drops a bit of hype/talk/hype clip. It's okay. Just okay.

And that was this week in surfing. Have a good weekend everyone.

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