How the race for Tokyo 2020 surf qualifying looks right now

At around the halfway stage of the WSL season, here's a rundown of the surfers in line to qualify for Tokyo 2020 and the ones who could miss out.

The World Surf League (WSL) Tour is pretty much halfway through and the 2019 title race is heating up.

But another race is brewing in the surfing world, the battle for qualification for the sport's Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.

At the end of the 2019 WSL Championship Tour season, the top 10 eligible men and eight women will earn places at the Games in Japan.

The other 22 places (10 men and 12 women) will be determined at the 2019 and 2020 ISA World Surfing Games, and the 2019 Pan American Games.

Only two surfers per gender can represent any one country.

The Corona Open J-Bay, which starts in South Africa on 9th July, marks the midway point for men's season with the women's schedule already at halfway.

We take a look at who would qualify for Tokyo 2020, as it stands right now.

Gabriel Medina to miss men's competition?

If the WSL's Olympic spots were decided today, some huge names would miss the cut.

Currently, Hawaiian John John Florence and Kolohe Andino are placed first and second in the world rankings and would qualify to represent USA.

But on 2nd July, 26-year-old Florence announced on his Instagram account that he had ruptured his ACL in Brazil and would undergo knee surgery.

"I'll be pulling out of J-Bay and likely the rest of the CT season." - John John Florence

That operation was a success, but his hopes of staying in the top two and making Tokyo 2020 are slim.

That leaves the door open for other American surfers with six Championship Tour events to come.

One is all-time great Kelly Slater who is currently seventh overall.

At 47 years of age, the 11-time world champion has had four top-10 finishes - including a third place in Bali - since a disappointing season-opener on the Gold Coast.

With surfers discarding their worst two results to get their final season total, he should overtake Florence in the race for the second USA place.

But he needs to maintain his good form to claim an Olympic berth with Connor Coffin and Seth Moniz close behind.

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WSL Championship Tour men's standings (after five of 11 events; current Olympic qualifiers in bold):

1. John John Florence (USA) - 32,160 points

2. Kolohe Andino (USA) - 27,760

3. Filipe Toledo (BRA) - 27,195

4. Jordy Smith (RSA) - 26,045

5. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) - 24,705

6. Italo Ferreira (BRA) - 22,150

7. Kelly Slater (USA) - 17,735

8. Gabriel Medina (BRA) - 16,895

9= Julian Wilson (AUS) - 16,810

9= Ryan Callinan (AUS) - 16,810

11. Conner Coffin (USA) - 16,035

12. Seth Moniz (USA) - 15,470

13. Michel Bourez (FRA) - 14,610

14. Wade Carmichael (AUS) - 14,405

15. Jeremy Flores (FRA) - 14,045

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After winning the Oi Rio Pro on 23rd June, Brazil's Filipe Toledo is up to third overall with he and Italo Ferreira currently in possession of the two Brazilian berths.

As it stands, defending world champion Gabriel Medina would miss out on Tokyo representing a huge blow for one of the world's highest profile surfers.

South Africa's golden boy Jordy Smith is on track for Tokyo but will be eager to push himself further up the ladder by gaining points on home turf at J-Bay from 9th July.

Japan are guaranteed a place as host nation and it looks set to go to Kanoa Igarashi.

The 21-year-old was runner-up at last year's ISA World Surfing Games, and claimed his first WSL CT win in Bali in May.

Watch Kanoa Igarashi as he surfs his way to victory in Bali

Watch Kanoa Igarashi as he surfs his way to victory in Bali

Australia have been preparing their national squad with several Olympic Readiness Camps since January 2018.

Julian Wilson and Ryan Callinan are currently in place to take their two spots with Wade Carmichael and Owen Wright missing out.

That leaves Frenchmen Michel Bourez and Jeremy Flores to take the final two WSL qualifying places.

Plenty can change over the next five months, and the men have six competitions left to accumulate as many points as possible.

Fitzgibbons leads tight women's race

The battle for women's places at Tokyo is intense, particularly for Australia and USA.

Sally Fitzgibbons is top of the standings and, right now, would represent Australia in Tokyo along with Steph Gilmore.

Surf stars ready to put on an Olympic show

Surf stars ready to put on an Olympic show

Seven-time world champion Gilmore lies third behind Hawaii's Carissa Moore who would represent Team USA.

The second American spot looks set to be a three-way tussle between Courtney Conlogue, last year's runner-up Lakey Peterson and 17-year-old Caroline Marks.

All three have won Championship Tour events this year making this far too close to call.

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WSL Championship Tour women's standings (after five of 10 events; current Olympic qualifiers in bold):

1. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) - 32,580 points

2. Carissa Moore (USA) - 31,175

3. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) - 30,320

4. Courtney Conlogue (USA) - 26,845

5= Lakey Peterson (USA) - 26,050

5= Caroline Marks (USA) - 26,050

7. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) - 22,510

8. Malia Manuel (USA) - 21,715

9. Brisa Hennessy (CRC) - 19,230

10= Johanne Defay (FRA) - 15,185

10= Coco Ho (USA) - 15,185

10= Bronte Macaulay (AUS) - 15,185

13. Nikki van Dijk (AUS) - 14,960

14. Silvana Lima (BRA) - 14,190

15. Keely Andrew (AUS) - 13,395

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Having switched allegiance from Hawaii last year, Tatiana Weston-Webb is all but a shoo-in to be Brazil's first female surfing representative.

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Costa Rica are on course to have a representative in the form of Brisa Hennessy.

The 20-year-old has three top-five finishes in her rookie year on tour and is ninth in the standings.

France's Johanne Defay - currently tied for 10th overall - is also in good shape to make Tokyo 2020

Silvana Lima could join Weston-Webb in the Brazil team after 13 years on the WSL tour.

She is 14th overall on 14,190, more than 4,000 points clear of New Zealand's Paige Hareb who is her nearest rival for the eighth and final WSL Olympic qualification spot.

Remaining WSL Championship Tour Events

2019 Men's CT Schedule

J-Bay Open: July 9 - 22, 2019

Tahiti Pro Teahupo'o: August 21 - September 1, 2019

Surf Ranch Pro: September 19 - 22, 2019

France Men's Pro: October 3 - 13, 2019

Meo Pro Peniche: October 16 - 28, 2019

Billabong Pipe Masters: December 8 - 20, 2019

2019 Women's CT Schedule

J-Bay Open: July 9 - 22, 2019

Surf Ranch Pro: September 19 - 22, 2019

France Women's Pro: October 3 - 13, 2019

Meo Pro Peniche: October 16 - 28, 2019

Hawaii Women's Pro: November 25 - December 7, 2019

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