Competitive surfing at the elite level these days is incredibly fun; the best surfers in the world are pushing the boundaries like never before.
The World Surf League organises a great tour, but there’s no question they over-complicate the official app, which is truly a nightmare to use.
You basically need a science degree to navigate to the information you’re looking for.
And its flawed format isn’t much better; 12 men’s and six women’s surfers are arbitrarily cut mid-season. It makes absolutely no sense.
So we’re here to help fans understand what’s going on, what it means… PLUS outline the key dates for the full season.
Save this page — here’s your WSL 2024 Guide; key dates and every stop on the tour.
WSL 2024 events Guide: Every stop on the Tour
Banzai Pipeline, Hawaii
Event period: January 29 – February 10
The first two events on the WSL 2024 calendar are in Hawaii, a recent change absolutely nobody asked for. ‘Surfing’s Wimbledon’ – Pipeline – used to be a truly elite final stop on the pro tour and created all kinds of late-season drama, as surfers tried to secure elusive world titles.
But the tour now starts in Oahu’s north.
Sunset Beach, Hawaii
Event period: February 12 – 23
Unlike previously, Australia has to wait a little longer for its time in the sun. After Pipe, the tour cruises over to Sunset Beach for stop number two.
Event period: March 6 – 16
The WSL detours to Europe before heading down under, as the world’s best attack Supertubos. If you want to get your world title tilt off to a good start, you better be good at riding barrels.
Bells Beach, Victoria
Event period: March 26 – April 5
We just referenced Pipeline as surfing’s Wimbledon and we don’t have to be too creative or travel too far for the comparison here — this is the Melbourne Park of the tour. If surfing had ‘majors’, Bells is undisputedly one of them.
Margaret River, Western Australia
Event period: April 11 – 21
Pending swell and conditions, Margs can undeniably be one of the most epic locations on the tour, with multiple break alternatives at the ready. The main A-frame at Margaret River is the default break, but there’s ‘the box’ just to the north and others… if Mother Nature truly delivers inside the event period window.
*The mid-season cut
*Not a tour event
Before we return attention to the tour, a quick little detour.
The WSL introduced a mid-season cut, where the 36-man field drops to 24 surfers and the 18-female group drops to 12. It means that big-name surfers you probably wanted to watch may well get brutally and unnecessarily trimmed.
It would be cool if we could explain why the league decided to implement this, but unfortunately we cannot.
Event period: May 22 – 31
Sticking with the ‘majors’ vibe, or which surfing events would be classified one of the four tennis Grand Slams equivalents, ‘the French Open’ is in French Polynesia. Teahupo’o is, of course, one of the most iconic waves on the planet and, not to mention, one of the fiercest as well.
And just like the clay of Roland Garros, there are no breaks as easily identifiable as ‘Chopes’.
Punta Roca, El Salvador
Event period: June 6 – 15
While there’s not a huge amount of history with the World Surf League going to El Salvador, the wave is one of the planet’s crown jewels — one of the most pristine right-hander point breaks on earth.
The tour doesn’t go to J-Bay in 2024; but this stop may well scratch that itch… without quite the same level of shark danger.
Saquarema, Rio de Janeiro
Event period: June 22 – 30
Brazil runs surfing these days. There are so many elite surfers coming out of the South American country, it’s not funny. So it’d be a crime for the WSL to overlook the home nation of many of its top athletes.
Rio is a fun wave that encourages the world’s most explosive surfers to take flight and fill up highlights packages. Aussie 20-year-old Joel Vaughan’s air there last year was truly ridiculous.
*2024 Paris Olympics
*Not a WSL tour stop
Olympic surfing schedule: July 27 – August 5
Now that surfing’s also an Olympic sport, the world’s best will head from Brazil back to Europe for the Paris Games. This means that while there’s silverware up for grabs, there’s a brief pause on the tour formalities.
Event period: August 20 – 29
Cloudbreak is one of those other waves that certainly sorts out who’s at the top of their game and who isn’t. Great to see it’s back for another year.
Lower Trestles, San Clemente — the WSL Finals
Event period: September 6 – 14
Surfing’s organising body certainly saves its biggest head-scratcher for last. Somehow, ‘the Finals’ is still a thing.
The top five men and top five women battle it out in a winner-takes-all knockout event that determines who becomes world champion, while simultaneously completely de-valuing the rest of the tour.
We’re left wondering what all the fuss was about… particularly when Trestles provides underwhelming conditions that leave us all wanting more from what’s supposed to be the tour’s crescendo event.
Let’s hope the WSL comes to its senses and 2024 is the final year we’re subjected to this formatting.
Don’t hold your breath, though.