With just one more event before the World Surf League crowns 2015 surfing Champions, fans have been asking why Julian Wilson (AUS), who is ranked World No. 7 on the Jeep rankings and has 41,450 points, is in the Title race but Italo Ferreira (BRA), who is ranked World No. 6 with 41,600 points, is not.
The reason lies in the WSL throwaway rule: Article 11.01 in the WSL Rules (download the full rulebook here; article 11.01 is on page 10) has surfers drop their two lowest contest results of the year before calculating their overall, season-end standing.
In the case of the 2015 World Title race, Deputy Commission Renato Hickel explained, "Italo is dropping a 13th, therefore, even with a win at Pipe, the maximum points he can reach is 49850. This would be behind Mick [Fanning] by 50 points, even if Mick doesn't even paddle out for the Billabong Pipe Masters.
"Julian, on the other hand, is dropping a 25th. With a win at Pipe he could reach 50950 points, beating Mick by 1050 points if Mick gets a 25th (and everyone else between the two does not perform)."
"Italo vai cancelar uma 13ª posição, portanto, mesmo com uma vitória em Pipe, o máximo de pontos que ele pode alcançar é 49.850, deixando ele atrás de Mick por 50 pontos, mesmo se Mick nem entrar na água no Pipe Masters Billabong.
"Julian, por outro lado, vai cancelar uma 25ª posição. Com uma vitória em Pipe pode chegar a 50.950 pontos, superando Mick por 1.050 pontos se Mick chegar em 25ª (e todos os outros entre os dois não mudarem)."
Where does all this leave the competitors and fans? Eagerly awaiting December 8, when the last stand to take the 2015 Title begins at the Billabong Pipe Masters. As for Ferreira? The high-flying phenom will have all of 2016 to try again.