Women’s WCT Class of 2015

The 2015 women’s World Championship Tour (WCT) is set. According to ASP rules, the women’s WCT is comprised of its top 10 surfers, the top 6 on the Qualification Series rankings, and one season wildcard. After the conclusion of the final elite Tour event, the Target Maui Pro, the results are in.

women's-locker-roomPhoto: ASP

Check out the roster of women who will compete for professional surfing’s ultimate prize.

No. 1 Stephanie Gilmore

After a down-to-the-wire Championship race, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) walked away with the 2014 World Title, her sixth. And from the looks of it, she’s just getting started. Gilmore finished the 2014 season with three event wins — the Roxy Pro, the Swatch Women’s Pro Trestles and the Cascais Women’s Pro Portugal — and 64,200 points. With the exception of a 13th-place finish in Rio, Gilmore made the Quarters or better at every stop, including seven Semifinals. With veteran knowledge and a sixth World Title, Gilmore will continue to be a force to be reckoned with.

No. 2 Tyler Wright

Tyler Wright (AUS) finished 2014 with 14 nine-point rides, tying Moore for the most nines awarded on the women’s Tour. Wright showed off some of the most exciting progressive surfing this season, including an unmatched feat of four consecutive nine-point rides in the Roxy Pro France Final. Her tear through the last event of 2014 pushed the Title race to the final horn, and you can bet she’s keen on it going her way next year.

No. 3 Carissa Moore

Carissa Moore (HAW) looked prime to three-peat this year with another World Title. She led through the late-season European leg, and earning massive scores and tying for the highest heat total of the season (a 19.50 in Round 3 of the Roxy Pro Gold Coast). While she didn’t manage to win another Championship this year, she finished strong with a win in Maui, showing off the flawless, powerful surfing for which she’s known. At 22, Moore has more growing and more winning to do and her 2015 campaign is sure to include some fireworks.

No. 4 Sally Fitzgibbons

The World Title continues to elude Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), who has been WCT runner-up three times (2010, 2011, and 2012). But given the way she’s been surfing, it may only be a matter of time. The Australian won back-to-back events at Rio and Fiji and wore the the World No. 1 jersey through both contests in Europe. Her heat wins have been dominant and her surfing refined. Expect another great year for Fitzgibbons in 2015 — she’ll likely return next season with renewed determination.

No. 5 Malia Manuel

Malia Manuel (HAW) had a roller-coaster season but remained relatively stable in the middle of the Top 10. Manuel has proven she has what it takes to charge at the elite level, finishing the women’s inaugural Fiji contest in equal third. But she finished the season nearly 17,000 points behind Number 1. Manuel will have to use her talents on a more steady basis in 2015 if she wants a shot at the Title.

No. 6 Lakey Peterson

With two Semifinal finishes and two last-place finishes, it has been difficult this year to predict how Lakey Peterson (USA) would do at any given time. Ultimately, she managed to make enough Quarterfinal heats to solidly a spot in the Top 10 by the year’s end. Peterson has what it takes to climb the rankings ladder next year, but to break into the Top 5, she will need to figure out how to consistently perform like she did at Snapper and Rio.

No. 7 Bianca Buitendag

Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) has had some stunning moments on Tour this year. The only South African on the women’s Tour, Buitendag scored two nine-point rides at Trestles, earned three excellent-range scores on her way to a Quarterfinal finish in France, and showed off an impressive backhand attack at the Target Maui Pro. By the end of the year, Buitendag was back to the form that landed her in the Final at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast, a warning flag for the Class of 2015.

No. 8 Johanne Defay

2014 Rookie of the Year Johanne Defay (FRA) is the only freshman surfer on Tour to requalify. Her success has been a surprise: Defay’s best result from the first four events of 2014 was a ninth-place finish at Margaret River. But starting at the Tour’s fifth event, in Fiji, Defay made her way into every Quarterfinal (or better) for the rest of the season. Her career seems to be moving very quickly in the right direction.

No. 9 Courtney Conlogue

Courtney Conlogue (USA) made an astounding comeback in the backend of the 2014 season. After missing three WCT events due to injury, she broke back into the Top 10 after placing second at the Roxy Pro France. The Californian is the only women’s WCT competitor to miss any events this year, but her competitive drive landed her in two Semifinals and a Quarterfinal to boost her above the requalification cutoff. A fully healed Conlogue in 2015 will be difficult to stop. (Watch the video on Conlogue’s road to recovery.)

No. 10 Laura Enever

Laura Enever (AUS) made Quizon (HAW) very happy when she requalified with her WCT points at the eleventh hour in Maui: Because the Aussie didn’t need to use her QS spot, Quizon was able snag the last qualification spot on the QS, No. 7. Needless to say, Enever’s success stemmed from a very busy year, competing in 23 events overall. Next year, perhaps she’ll focus on some fine-tuning at WCT events.

No. 11 Silvana Lima

Plagued by injury, Silvana Lima (BRA) fell off the women’s Tour last season. But the Brazilian charger returned with a vengeance: She took the Port Taranaki Pro by storm in April and solidified her spot at the top of the QS rankings with another win, at the 6-Star Pantin Classic. She finished the season 1,500 points above Ho, one of the largest point differentials between any two surfers on the QS. Healed and healthy, just imagine what she has in store for next season. You’ve been warned.

No. 12 Coco Ho

Another surfer who struggled on the main stage this year is Hawaiian Coco Ho. On the QS, however, she earned points when they counted most: Wins at the 6-Star Los Cabos Open of Surf and the 5-Star Oceano Santa Catarina Pro kept her in good standing to qualify with her QS ranking. She will need to take her talents farther than Brazil next season, however, if she wants longevity on the WCT.

No. 13 Sage Erickson

Sage Erickson (USA) claimed a crucial midseason victory at her home break when she won the Supergirl Pro, a 6-Star event worth 3,500 points. She had previously spent back-to-back seasons as an elite Tour competitor, but fell off at the end of 2013. With Erickson and Silvana Lima (BRA) back on Tour in 2015, top seeds should be wary of the competitors looking to make up for lost time.

No. 14 Nikki Van Dijk

Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) had a rough season on the WCT: She earned a shiner at Margaret River and had to bow out of Fiji after splitting her lip. But Van Dijk is a tough competitor and a victory at the 6-Star Swatch Girls Pro France put her in the Top 4 on the QS. If she can stay injury-free, her drive will bode well for the 2015 WCT season.

No. 15 Tatiana Weston-Webb

Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) competed in three elite Tour competitions this season as the injury replacement for Courtney Conlogue (USA). In each of those three events — which included the women’s WCT first trip to Fiji — the Hawaiian knocked out an elite surfer in Round 2. She was also ranked in the Top 10 throughout the QS season. With her success on the QS and the exposure to elite-level competition in 2014, Weston-Webb will make an excellent addition to the WCT lineup next year.

No. 16 Alessa Quizon

With two runner-up finishes at the season’s opening 6-Star events, Alessa Quizon (HAW) was among the Top 10 QS surfers for most of the season. But she cut it very close. Without Laura Enever (AUS) in the WCT Top 10, Quizon would be back on the QS circuit next year. In the end, Quizon made three QS Finals and two Quarterfinals. Hopefully she can bring that confidence to the elite Tour when competition kicks off in 2015.

Sources: aspworldtour.com

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