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Jacob Willcox and Bronte Macaulay left to Challenger Series as World Surf League unveils 2023 season

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Margaret River Pro local contenders Jack Robinson and Bronte Macaulay with Deputy Premier and Tourism Minister Roger Cook in April this year.
Camera IconMargaret River Pro local contenders Jack Robinson and Bronte Macaulay with Deputy Premier and Tourism Minister Roger Cook in April this year. Credit: Warren Hately

Despite their best efforts, Margaret River-based surfers Bronte Macaulay and Jacob Willcox have missed their chance to make this year’s World Surf League Championship Tour, which starts again next month.

Margaret River star and local Pro winner Jack Robinson remained the only local talent on the top tour, though he goes into 2023 as the world No.3 behind Brazilians Felipe Toledo and Italo Ferreira.

The rankings news comes as the WSL confirms the Margaret River Pro, scheduled for May, would continue hosting the contentious midyear cut.

A WSL spokesman told the Times Willcox and Macaulay fared well in their contests and might still make the top tier depending on how 2023 played out.

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The CT rankings included wildcard spots as well as replacement for injury positions.

Macaulay and Willcox would continue on the undergraduate Challenger Series, vying to increase their points for another shot at the Championship Tour.

“Bronte and Jacob unfortunately finished in 8th and 13th respectively, (with) both three spots outside of qualification,” the WSL said.

“Being so close means they might get opportunities earlier in the year as an injury replacement — if a number of people are injured similar to last year — and neither of them have to compete on the regional Qualifying Series as they automatically end up back on the Challenger Series in 2023.”

Challenger events would be held in Australia, Portugal, France, Brazil, South Africa and Hawaii.

Margaret River young gun Willow Hardy was also working hard on her resume after a career-best third-place finish in Taiwan last month, boosting her chances of making the Challenger Series.

WSL vice-president of tours and head of competition Jessi Miley-Dyer said men and women CT surfers would vie for equal prize money in 2023.

Miley-Dyer noted Ramzi Boukhiam would represent Morocco and Rio Waida Indonesia for the first time.

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