The stage is set in Lower Trestles, with the top five men and women touching down in San Clemente, California, ahead of the WSL Final Series holding period starting this week.
In what is to be a historic event with the new format seeing the finals running over one day and with two World Champions being crowned in the water in a winner takes all format.
“To win the third World Title is my biggest goal,” said two-time WSL Champion and World No. 1, Gabriel Medina. “It’s amazing to win the title. All the surfers I look up to have won 3 titles, so I really want to do that. I know it’s gonna be hard, but I’ve been training hard, surfing every day, and I want to make it happen.”
“It would be really special to win a World Title in this new format, here in Lower Trestles,” said four-time WSL Champion and Olympic gold medalist Carissa Moore (HAW). “I have four amazing women in the showdown, so I really have to put my head down and work for this one, but if it works out, it will be super special.”
The forecast for The Rip Curl WSL Final Series
For the opening days of the holding period, a small mix of southerly swells from the Southern Hemisphere should produce chest to shoulder-high surf.
The waves are expected to pick up on September 11 – 12. The forecast indicates that another strong South Pacific storm will develop over the following weekend, potentially sending a larger SSW swell for the 13 – 15.
The 2021 Rip Curl WSL Final Series New Format
The top-ranked male and female surfers, Medina and Moore, will have a major advantage over the other WSL Final 5 contenders as they will be seeded directly into the Title Match, a best-of-three showdown to determine the World Champion. The remaining surfers will enter the Rip Curl WSL Finals bracket based on their year-end rankings. The women will be the first to take the water with Match 1 and alternate with the men for the remainder of the day.
Match 1 will see Johanne Defay (FRA) take on 7X WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), followed by rookie Morgan Cibilic (AUS) and Conner Coffin (USA). Both matches will have a traditional heat format in a head-to-head competition. The winners will advance to Match 2, where they will face world No. 3 on the WSL Leaderboard: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and Filipe Toledo (BRA).
The winner of Match 2 will then face-off against the number two ranked surfers, the Brazilian duo Weston-Webb and Ferreira, in Match 3. The winners of Match 3 will move on to the best-of-three Title Match, where they will face the World Number 1 Moore and Medina in a head-to-head competition with a traditional heat format. The first surfer to win two out of three heats becomes the undisputed 2021 World Champion.