World titles will be on the line at this week’s WSL Finals, but Olympic qualification will not.
All of the Championship Tour’s qualifications slots (10 for men, 8 for women) have been spoken for, except one. That final CT slot comes down to the American women: Caroline Marks and Caitlin Simmers. Whoever finishes higher at the WSL Finals joins Carissa Moore as the other American woman to qualify via the CT.
But USA’s women already earned a third slot for Paris 2024 by finishing first at the 2022 ISA World Surfing Games.
The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee has determined how that third slot will be filled – outlined on a selection criteria document published in April (but just recently discovered by the masses).
The selection criteria states that the surfer who reaches the semifinals at the 2023 WSL Tahiti Pro will be awarded the third USA women’s slot. Well, Simmers and Marks both made the final, and no other American woman made the semis. Therefore, whichever one does not qualify via the WSL Finals will earn this third slot.
Aside from the world title being on the line, there is still incentive to earn the CT Olympic slot to have a higher seeding for the Paris 2024 heat draw.
National Federations and National Olympic Committees (NOC) are not required to create such selection criteria, but the U.S. happens to be one of the NOCs with such a criteria in place. The same protocol would award Barron Mamiya – the only American to make the Tahiti Pro semis – a third slot if the U.S. men are able to win the 2024 World Surfing Games.
Brazil has also released parallel criteria, awarding any extra slot to the highest ranking athlete on the 2023 WSL CT. This would award a third Brazilian male slot to Gabriel Medina.