After nearly a year without a competition, the 2021 World Surf League Championship Tour gets underway today in Hawaii. The Maui Pro will kick off the women’s schedule for the new year, running from December 4-15 in Honolua Bay with 18 of the world’s top surfers battling it out in what should be a monumental year for the sport.
Surfing will officially become an Olympic sport this year with the postponed Tokyo Summer Games, elevating the sport to new heights and throwing it into the public eye more than ever before. Lovers of surfing have been waiting for this moment for a long time, so the leadup to the games as surfers fight for the remaining Olympic qualifying spots is sure to be intense.
Another big change for the 2021 season is the shakeup of the tour schedule. This year’s globetrotting tour will run in a different order than we’ve seen in the past, starting rather than ending in Hawaii and wrapping up in California next September. This could let the competitors see some different surf conditions than what they’re accustomed to for this Championship Tour, and should make for an exciting experience for fans.
Several of the biggest names in surfing will be out this week, including seven-time WSL champion Stephanie Gilmore. She will compete with other greats like Caroline Marks, the 18 year old who finished second in the world WSL standings in 2019, and Carissa Moore, the 2019 WSL champion who also holds four world titles of her own.
There will be several notable rookies out there as well, including 2015 World Junior Champion Isabella Nichols and Amuro Tsuziki, who is the first woman from Japan to qualify for the Championship Tour. After nearly a year off on WSL competition, these newcomers will be looking to shake things up for the veterans.
The competition is following strict safety protocols to protect the athletes and staff from COVID-19, and no spectators will be present, but the event is being presented as a live film event. Fans can keep up with the action live at WorldSurfLeague.com and on the WSL app.
This is a year of high stakes for the surfing world with their first ever Olympics coming in the midst of a global pandemic, so be sure to tune in to see these surfers rise to the challenge as they get ready to take the world stage.