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Recently Cut Sally Fitzgibbons awarded with WSL wildcard

The WSL comment section is lighting up in their recent Instagram post regarding their choice of wildcards.

The WSL have given out their final four wildcards for the 2022/2023 season to Gabriel Medina, Yago Dora, Sally Fitzgibbons and Caroline Marks.

It was announced last week that we will see the return of three-time world champ Gabriel Medina at G-Land. It is understandable that the WSL will give leeway to one of the sport’s biggest stars. His fellow Brazilian Yago Dora gained the other men’s wildcard for 2023 as he suffered a foot injury earlier this year and was ranked ninth last year on the CT.  

On the women’s side, Caroline Marks picked up a wildcard and will compete at G-Land. The 21-year-old was sixth in the 2021 series and competed at Pipeline before withdrawing at Sunset citing health reasons. Marks is a rising star and has proved to be one of the world’s best with multiple CT wins. But perhaps more importantly the Olympian could be an important character for the next season of Make Or Break.

(Caroline Marks. Photo: WSL)

We have to take into consideration that the WSL are filming Make Or Break season two. They have been unapologetic in having the show as a main priority in their decision making. The drama of Medina entering the CT and causing a ruckus is good TV and having fan-favourite Sally Fitzgibbons could be considered desirable.

Who missed out?

Unfortunately for injured CT rookies Carlos Munoz and Liam O’Brien they did not get the call up. The Costa Ricans are not happy on Insta, former Aussie CT surfer Jack Freestone chiming in to support their claims “What about Liam O’Brien and Carlos Munoz”? I hope they get a chance”.

Jack brings up a good point, but Medina and Dora have already proved themselves as two of the world’s best. The WSL perhaps see it as risky to have rookies Munoz and O’Brien on tour next year, knowing that Dora and Medina are already established stars.

It is brutal however if O’Brien and Munoz need to re-qualify for the tour next year even though they were not fit to compete this year due to injuries.

Liam O’Brien on a Tracks trip.

Does Sally deserve the wildcard?

The only really questionable wildcard by the WSL is Sally Fitzgibbons. We all love Sally, she is a fan-favourite and a veteran on the CT. But If you look at it objectively, she was ranked 15th following the five events and compared to the injured surfers who missed events she had the opportunity to make the MYC. There was four women who were ranked better than her.

Hawaiian Malia Manual was not picked, she was seventh before Margaret’s and then after a poor performance fell to 11th . However, Manual was already given a wildcard at the start of the year and the same goes for Bronte Macaulay at 14th.

The WSL seem to have decided they will not give two wildcards to a surfer in one year, which seems fair.  

However we are still left with rookies Molly Picklum and India Robinson who were tied at 12th. Even though these two girls surfed better than Sally this year,  the veteran gets the nod due to her past achievements.

The subjective nature of the selections clearly see the WSL in control, with every wild card selection up for debate. The episode that covers the MYC in season two of Make Or Break hopefully will let us understand more the thinking behind these calls.

Who has made the cut?
Men’s
1. Felipe Toledo
2. John-John Florence
3. Jack Robinson
4. Ethan Ewing
5. Italo Ferreira
6. Kanoa Igrashi
7. Barron Mamiya
8. Callum Robson
9. Miguel Pupo
10. Griffin Colapinto
11. Caio Ibeli
12. Jordy Smith
13. Kelly Slater
14. Kolohe Andino
14. Nat Young
16. Seth Moniz
17. Samuel Pupo
18. Connor O’Leary
19. Matthew McGillivray
20. Jake Marshall
21. Jadson Andre
21. Jackson Baker
22. Gabriel Medina
23. Yago Dora (2023 Wildcard)

Women’s
1. Brisa Hennessy
2. Carissa Moore
3. Tyler Wright
4. Isabella Nichols
5. Courtney Conlogue
6. Lakey Peterson
7. Gabriela Ryan
8. Johanne Defay
9. Stephanie Gilmore
10. Tatiana Weston- Webb
11. Caroline Marks
12. Sally Fitzgibbons (2023 Wildcard)

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