OTTON ESCAPING LINE OF FIRE
Relief: Kai Otton's PRIME victory has him clawing out of World Tour relegation zone. Image: ASP/Monteiro
GETTING LEFT BEHIND
Wallowing in 56th place on the ASP World Rankings things looked pretty bleak for Kai Otton’s chances of staying on the ASP World Tour come the dreaded mid-year top-32 cut-off. But the Australian has just taken out the Oakley Saquarema PRIME event in Brazil, and now rockets up the rankings to a respectable 38th - not far off where he needs to be come the big chop.
Otton is one of several World Tour surfers now relying heavily on these PRIME rated events to keep their World Tour dreams alive. As Otton has just enjoyed, finishing first in an ASP PRIME event is the equivalent to finishing third in a coveted ASP World Tour event (6500 points).
Along with Otton, currently sitting in equal 30th position in this year’s ASP World Title race, are Bobby Martinez (USA), Freddy Patacchia (HAW) and Gabe Kling (USA), and like Otton each of these current World Tour surfers are sitting outside the top-32 in the all important World Rankings that decide who stays and goes from the Tour come the mid-year cut-off. Meaning, they all have work to do – particularly Kling, who’s World Ranking has slipped to 47.
While the new cut-throat system of generating a changeable World Tour field twice a year ensures a highly competitive environment – arguably a plus for spectators, when it emerges that under this new system current World Tour talents such as Jordy Smith and Dane Reynolds would not have survived the chop in their rookie seasons, perhaps you need to question if this is necessarily a win for the fans. Let’s hope the likes of Julian Wilson isn't dealt this fate in his first year on tour.
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ASP World Title rankings, mid-year cut-off 2011, surfing, ASP World Tour, surfers
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