The Inertia for Good Editor

The Inertia

With at least one more event to go on the WSL’s Challenger Series calendar, the 2023 men’s Championship Tour roster is finally starting to take form. Rio Waida, Ryan Callinan, and Leo Fioravanti became the first three to qualify for the CT via this year’s Challenger Series.

Waida’s qualification is a historic one as he’s now the first Indonesian surfer to ever qualify for the world tour. And it caps off an exceptionally productive year for the 23-year-old who’s spent seven years competing on the QS and now CS. In fact, Waida made a massive leap competitively in 2022, notching his first wins on either circuit. The first came in March in the QS Vans Bali Pro and then Waida caught real momentum with back-to-back Challenger Series wins at the GWM Surf Sidney Pro and Ballito Pro. He also got his third career CT wildcard in the midst of that run and appeared in May’s Quiksilver G-Land Pro, besting Nat Young and Filipe Toledo in the Opening Round of the event and then falling to Toledo later in the Round of 16.

“I’m not expecting myself to work harder or finish top five next year,” he says about jumping up the ranks in 2023, “I’m just gonna go out there and try to learn as much as I can and just keep chasing the dream.”

Meanwhile, Fioravanti’s and Callinan’s qualification earns them each a return to the CT.

Fioravanti spent his first year on tour in 2017, ground through 2018 on the QS to re-qualify, withdrew from five CT events with an injury in 2019, the WSL canceled its 2020 season due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and then Fioravanti finished 13th on the CT in 2021. He was below this year’s cut line after the Margaret River Pro but has dominated much of this year’s Challenger Series, winning the EDP Vissla Pro and cementing his return to the Dream Tour. Resilience could be a fair middle name for the Italian surfer.

“I think I was feeling pretty confident before anyway, but it definitely helps just to take the pressure off,” Callinan said when he qualified by making the final against Fioravanti at the EDP Vissla Pro. Callinan spent two full seasons on tour in 2019 and 2021, finishing 15th in 2021 and missing the midseason cut this year.

That means seven roster spots are available among the Challenger Series competitors with the Corona Saquarema Pro and Haleiwa Challenger coming up.


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