Late September is when the Qualifying Series (QS) starts getting serious, as QS 10,000 events like the heavily weighted EDP Billabong Pro Cascais promises to blow up the entire Qualifying Series rankings. The annual gathering in Cascais is a Championship Tour (CT) stop for the women, but the men's event is just the third of five heavily weighted events on the QS season. A huge collection of Championship Tour surfers hoping to hang on to their precious seeds will be competing against a collection of the top ranked QS hopefuls vying to break into the bright lights of next year's Championship Tour roster.
This year the drama is as thick as ever, with a huge contingent of CT surf stars facing elimination from next year's Tour. At the elite CT level, only the Top 22 ranked surfers on the Jeep Leaderboard are guaranteed those same CT seeds for next year. That essentially means everyone ranked 15th to 36th on will be in Cascais trying to hedge their bets, because the only other avenue into next year's Championship Tour is to finish in the Top 10 on the Qualifying Series.
Josh Kerr, Leonardo Fioravanti, Jack Freestone, Jadson Andre, Conner Coffin and Joan Duru are just a handful of the Championship Tour surfers desperate to boost their QS rankings.
Meanwhile, a number of QS hopefuls are trying to make noise of their own. While Jesse Mendes and Yago Dora have all but secured spots on next year's Championship Tour by racking up over 19,000 QS points, Jorgann Couzinet, Keanu Asing, Michael February and Griffin Colapinto represent surfers from Europe, Hawaii, South Africa and California trying to break through.
The EDP Billabong Pro begins on September 26, and will be broadcasted live including replays at Worldsurfleague.com