This year, the World Qualifying Series offers 38 events in 17 different countries for all the restless souls hoping to get a taste of the 2016 World Championship Tour. Those thirty-eight events are broken into 5 different categories, all based on how many points awarded for a win. Those categories are as follows:
So, you can win a WQS 1,000 and earn 1,000 points (and a gift certificate to Papa John's). Or you can win a WQS 10,000 and earn 10,000 points (and a very good shot at qualifying). Your top 5 event scores are factored into your year-end total and, according to Tour Manager and all-around mathlete Al Hunt, the golden number for qualifying this year will be somewhere around 18,000 points. In other words, if you collect 18,000 points over 5 events, you should start thinking about ready to picking your jersey number for next year's 'CT. Dare you to pick 69, Jack Freestone.
Simple enough, right? Win a 1,000 and you get pizza, win a 10,000 and you'll probably qualify. We decided to look a little bit deeper and see which countries offer the most points and which countries offer the most pizza. Here are the countries that offer the most points.
South Africa: 10,000
To make sense of that, Brazil hosts four stops this year: 10,000, 10,000, 6,000, 6,000. That's a lot of opportunity. The land of stars and stripes isn't too far behind and you might argue that when you combine Mainland USA with Hawaii, as does the US Government, it'd have more opportunity than anywhere. But that would essentially be arguing that Huntington Beach and Sunset Beach are similar, which means that your argument is invalid and go home, you get zero pizza.
So, Brazil. That’s where the points are at.
And could that be the reason why so many Brazilians are qualifying? Maybe. Maybe not. Regardless of national boundaries, the truth is that the majority of WQS heats are still surfed in mashed potato beachbreak conditions. So if you really want to qualify, you ought to get good at surfing a stubby (but not too stubby, unless you want your turns to look stupid) 5'9" and unleashing hell with three to the beach, or maybe two and a tail throw. That said, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to make sure your Brazilian visa is valid. —Brendan Buckley