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With little fanfare, Ethan Ewing, currently number two on the world rankings, has withdrawn from Teahupo’o after an undisclosed injury.

“Ethan Ewing has withdrawn following an injury sustained while practicing at Teahupo’o,” reads the quick WSL Instagram post, leaving much to the imagination. “He will be replaced by Mihimana Braye, the next highest Tahitian surfer on the Challenger Series rankings.”

Word on the internet is that Ewing injured his back during practice but we haven’t been able to confirm that. Bettylou Sakura Johnson also withdrew from the contest because of an undisclosed injury and will be replaced by Aelen Vaast.

Bettylou is sitting at number 10. Her chances of making the Final Five were slim to none. So that’s basically a wrap on her season. Ewing on the other hand has solidified his spot in the Finals, regardless of his finish at Teahupo’o. He could get knocked down a few rungs in seeding, depending on his peers’ performance.

With two spots open in the Final Five at trestles in September, that will be one of the main story lines on the men’s side during the Tahiti event – who nabs those last two seeds? Gabriel Medina and John John Florence are both neck and neck, just behind Joao Chianca and Yago Doro, with Jack Robinson also lurking at number eight. Unfortunately, the forecast for Tahiti during the window doesn’t look spectacular, which if it had, would have boded well for one John John Florence. But with those two spots still up in the air, it’ll make for an interesting finish to the 2023 season.


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