Aussies to Watch as WSL Challenger Series Kicks Off

Published on 04/05/2023

The first leg of the WSL Challenger Series kicks off this weekend at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast.

It follows the Championship Tour’s brutal Mid-season Cut, which saw the men’s field cut to 22 and the women’s to 10 at the halfway point of the CT season.

The second-tier of world surfing, the Challenger Series will feature competitors hoping to return to the elite CT in 2024, as well as new faces looking to achieve their dreams and qualify for the first time.

The Aussies hoping to win back their spots are Jackson Baker (Merewether, NSW), Sally Fitzgibbons (Gerroa, NSW), Macy Callaghan (Avoca, NSW), Sophie McCulloch (Alexandra Headland, QLD) and Isabella Nichols (Coolum Beach, QLD). Others like Nikki Van Dijk (Phillip Island, VIC) and Bronte Macaulay (Gracetown, WA) are Tour veterans who booked their spots on the Challenger Series thanks to their efforts either last year or in previous seasons.

Some 80 men and 48 women will battle it out in the six-competition series. At its conclusion, the top 10 men and top 5 women on the Challenger Series rankings will qualify for the 2024 CT season. Out of the six comps, only the top four results will count toward their end-of-year rankings.

Aussie Challenger Series Athletes:

CT Surfers Below the Cut
Jackson Baker (Merewether, NSW)
Sally Fitzgibbons (Gerroa, NSW)
Isabella Nichols (Coolum Beach, QLD)
Macy Callaghan (Avoca, NSW)
Sophie McCulloch (Alexandra Headland, QLD)

Qualified Through 2022 Challenger Series and/or Former CT Surfer
India Robinson (Jan Juc, VIC)
Dylan Moffat (North Narrabeen, NSW)
Morgan Cibilic (Merewether, NSW)
Jacob Willcox (Margaret River, WA)
Bronte Macaulay (Gracetown, WA)
Nikki Van Dijk (Phillip Island, VIC)

Jarvis Earle (Cronulla, NSW)
Reef Heazlewood (Moffat Beach, QLD)
Alister Reginato (Alexandra Headland, QLD)
Joel Vaughan (North Shelley, NSW)
George Pittar (North Steyne, NSW)
Mikey McDonagh (Lennox Head, NSW)
Kalani Ball (Stanwell Park, NSW)
Kobie Enright (Coolangatta, QLD)
Ellie Harrison (Barwon Heads, VIC)
Nyxie Ryan (Lennox Head, NSW)
Zahli Kelly (Pumpenbil, NSW)

2023 Challenger Series Schedule:

  • Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro Presented by GWM (Queensland, Australia): May 6 – 13
  • GWM Sydney Surf Pro Presented by Bonsoy (New South Wales, Australia): May 17 – 24
  • Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa): July 2 – 9
  • US Open of Surfing presented by Pacifico (Huntington Beach, USA): July 29 – August 6
  • EDP Vissla Pro Ericeira Presented by Estrella Galicia (Ericeira, Portugal): October 1 – 8
  • Corona Saquarema Pro (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil): October 14 – 21

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