The Inertia for Good Editor

Photo: Matt Dunbar//WSL

The Inertia

Morgan Cibilic’s professional surfing career was on a meteoric rise in 2021. In just his second Championship Tour event as a 21-year-old rookie, the Australian marched right into the semifinal round. A month later he made his first final. By the end of that season, he was competing in the inaugural Rip Curl WSL Finals.

“Everything was going perfectly — earning good coin, being able to do whatever you want to do, travel, and have a hell time with all of my friends,” he says of that rookie season. “(I) couldn’t have asked for a better start to my career.”

The dominoes started falling differently in his sophomore season. He missed the mid-year cut in 2022 and was relegated to the Challenger Series.

“After that (first mid-year cut), I had no doubt in my mind I was gonna get back on. Then I didn’t and it really hit like, ‘Shit. What am I gonna do?'”

Three years later and he admits the coin isn’t as great when you’re not on the CT. The change prompted him to start thinking about getting another job, and that’s when he sought out training to become a surveyor with the energy and infrastructure company Acciona. He is now in his third season on the Challenger Series, and it appears Morgan Cibilic is balancing the pursuit of getting back to the Championship Tour with a nine-to-five.

His story paints a picture of life for athletes vying for spots on the CT. In this case, it’s a surfer who was within arm’s reach of a world title just a few years ago. The refreshing part is that he seems to carry a positive outlook about getting back to the top. He has yet to break out of the quarterfinals in a CS event through full 2022 and 2023 seasons but if qualification trends hold up, one win is typically enough to support a Top 10 season and punching a ticket to the Dream Tour.


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