World Surf League Championship Tour: Surf Ranch Pro
It's the first EVER artificial wave on tour... you got it it's time for the Surf Ranch Pro!
It's the event we've been patiently (and nervously) waiting for all season. Ever since Kelly's wave came into existence it's been a huge topic of conversation, which inevitably meant the addition of the Surf Ranch to the tour came with a lot more questions... could this wave really live up to that of the ocean? Would this competition be as gripping as the other stops on the tour? ... and ultimately, what does this mean for the future of surfing?
Since then we have had the Founder's Cup... and a hell of a lot more conversation about what this wave means for surfing... we may not have all of the answers to that but we do know it's making the tour pretty exciting (and a tad controversial!)
Over the last few months, the CT surfers have been trying to get as much time as possible on this wave to work out the intricacies of how to take it on. These pros need to know exactly what it will take as for the first time they will be competing in a pre-determined time slot, on an even playing field where priority and paddle-battles mean nothing... the pressure truly is ON!
It's stop eight on the tour and it's providing a whole NEW challenge for our pro surfers... and with every new challenge comes a new format to follow. This will be the first time CT points have been awarded at the Surf Ranch and there is a winning formula to follow.
Each athlete will surf 6 waves... that's 3 lefts and 3 rights, over 3 runs. Their best right and best left will then make up their total score. At the end of the Qualifying round (run 3) the top 8 men's surfers will proceed to the final where they will each surf another 6 waves over three runs. The top 3 women's surfers will proceed to the final following the same format.
Both the women's and men's competitions will take the best right and left from each surfer to make up their total score... and from this, we will have our first EVER men's and women's Surf Ranch Pro winners!
So, in a nutshell, this is the first CT event ever where competitors won't be scored on waves but on runs which means their manoeuvres are so much more important.
... and as for the forecast!? We hear it's looking better than ever! The Surf Ranch is the home of the longest ever engineered open barrel wave in the world, BUT it's also a functional prototype which means the wave is constantly improving and evolving. Since the inaugural Founders Cup in May the waves settings have been fine-tuned, just in time for September 6th.
The World Title Race
As for the competition side of things, we all know that Tahiti saw some big moves on that leaderboard and the Surf Ranch will see the World Title Race heat up even more! With Toledo still firmly at the top of that leaderboard, he will be looking to prove himself at the Surf Ranch... but he's not the only one!
With Julian Wilson's early Tahiti exit, Gabriel Medina had all the room he needed to jump up the World Title runnings which means he is now sitting in second. Both Medina and Toledo have a good history at the Surf Ranch. Medina won that secret event held here last September, and Toledo got the first ever perfect score in the Founders Cup's short history.
We know Julian Wilson will be looking to redeem himself after his early exit at Tahiti but as far as we can tell he is yet to surf a wave at the Surf Ranch putting him at a disadvantage compared with Toledo and Medina who already know how the wave works.
Although let's not discount current world no.7 Jordy Smith who led the World Team to victory in the founder's cup, beating both Gabriel Medina of the Brazil team and Kelly Slater from the USA team. Speaking of Slater how could we not mention the GOAT himself... while his place hasn't yet been confirmed we have a feeling he will be fighting injury to compete on his own wave. This is HIS wave and he's spent more time on it than anyone, so injury aside we think he'll be delivering a strong performance.
On the women's side of the competition it has mostly been a two horse race all season between Steph Gilmore and Lakey Peterson, but after the Vans US Open of Surfing, Steph has put a nice 5000 points between her and Lakey. Gilmore knows how to surf the wave ranch which means a win here could put her in a firm position to win her 7th world title.
While Gilmore is certainly coming in hungry for her 7th world title, she will still have some strong competition against her at the Surf Ranch Pro. Joanne Defay is currently world no.4, she was Team Europe's captain in the Founders Cup and while they may have finished in 5th place that didn't stop her bringing back two 7-point rides.
....and how could we not mention current world no.5 Carissa Moore who stole the win away from Gilmore back in the Surf Ranch test event last September. While there may not have been any points announced from that for us to on... that win alone is another to see Moore as a threat in the Surf Ranch Pro.
There's no waiting period this time... Kelly and his wave mean business! Want to watch history be made on the perfect artificial wave? Well then make sure you tune in on September 6th!
If (like us) you just can’t wait for the start of the Surf Ranch Pro then make sure you get involved in ALL the action as it unfolds! All you need to do is get picking your favourite surfers in your Fantasy Surfer team to be a part of the event with WSL.
It’s easy to get involved and with Fantasy Surfer you get to be the commissioner of your very own team. Surfers are categorised into three tiers based on their current rank, you then create your team with picks from each tier. Once your team is ready and the competition starts, their real heat scores will count as points for your fantasy team.
It’s an open playing field for all the surfers right now but we’ve put in our predictions for who we think is going to pull away from the rest… Get involved with our Men’s and Women’s WSL leagues! We’ve created our own league under the name ‘Ann’s Cottage Surf‘ and with our code ‘Annscottage‘ you can play against us for free… We’re not sure it gets much better than that!
So if you’re up for the challenge then you can follow this link to join our tour league http://fantasy.worldsurfleague.com/ All you need to do is pick your team, click on leagues, search ‘Ann’s Cottage Surf’ and then join our league with the code ‘Annscottage’. It’s as simple as that!
So, what are you waiting for? Get your picks in now and be a part of the action!
* Winner is awarded full bragging rights