The Inertia for Good Editor
Ethan Ewing of Australia prior to surfing in Heat 2 of the Opening Round at the Corona Open J-Bay on July 13, 2023 at Jeffreys Bay, Eastern Cape, South Africa. (Photo by Beatriz Ryder/World Surf League)

Photo: Beatriz Ryder//World Surf League

The Inertia

Ethan Ewing’s availability for September’s Rip Curl WSL Finals has been in question since the Australian withdrew from the Tahiti Pro. He was sitting at number two in the CT season rankings when he reportedly fractured his L3 and L4 vertebrae during a free surf at Teahupo’o and little to nothing has been shared about his status since.

Surf fans threw themselves into their favorite state of discontent Wednesday when the WSL included Ewing in a post of the heat draw for September’s Finals Day. Two main talking points stuck out in the comments section: first, The assumption that Ewing won’t be ready to go when the event gets the green light sometime between September 8-16. And second, that the WSL should (according to a handful of fans) invite Gabriel Medina out to Trestles to take his spot. The league put at least one of those debates to bed today.

“Should a surfer not be able to compete in the Finals, there would be no replacement. Only the surfers who are ranked in the Final 5 are eligible to compete in the Finals,” the WSL told The Inertia Thursday.

When asked about Ewing’s status for the WSL Finals, the spokesperson simply said there’s been, “No word from Ethan yet, and he’s still in the draw.”

So, the WSL wasn’t trolling Ethan Ewing by promoting him in the heat draw because as of now, they’re expecting him to be ready to go. Without specific details about the injury, the words “fractured vertebrae” can sound worse than they actually are, ranging from athletes needing surgery and a six-month recovery to NFL players getting back on the field within a week. We won’t know until the WSL or Ewing confirm one way or the other.

But we do know that Gabriel Medina won’t be there, no matter what happens.

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