WSL Finals Bracket Announcement Explodes with Debate Over Australian Surfer’s Back-Breaking Injury

It’s been a long strange trip, this 2023 WSL Championship Tour season.

There’s been loads of controversy surrounding the judging criteria; there’s been shake-ups in the standings, with a return of Australian and American authority after years of Brazilian dominance; there was the shocking, as-of-yet-explained removal of CEO Erik Logan; and there’s been a curse with wave quality at Tour stops (read: dogshit).

But it’s not done yet – and the drama continues on until the Finals.

In an Instagram post in anticipation of the WSL Finals, surfing’s home for competitive surfing showcased the matchups leading into the decisive event.

(Yes, they spelled “Jack Robinson” correctly this time.)

Fifth place will surf against fourth, then the winner will take on number three, and so on and so forth, until the final final, in which the surfer who beats everyone else will face the number one ranked surfer in a best-of-three deathmatch for all the marbles.

That change to the format, implemented in 2021 under E-Lo’s reign, is still controversial in its own right. But what’s more divisive, this year in particular, is the fact that the number three ranked surfer on the men’s side, Ethan Ewing, will likely not surf in the WSL Finals due to a back-breaking injury sustained while freesurfing at Teahupo’o; and there will likely not be a replacement, i.e. the next ranked surfer down, Gabriel Medina.

Comments on the post reflected this conundrum:

“This is starting to feel like you’re just passive aggressively trolling Ethan”

“Wtf Ethan Ewing won’t recover in time everybody knows you better update the rule book and tell us if Medina replaces him or if it’s gonna be a 4 men’s final, you act so silly sometimes”

“So is EE going to compete as a bodyboarder or how is he supposed to surf with a broken back?”


The drama continues.

Up until the very last curtain drop.

See you at Finals Day!

(Well, probably not you, Ethan…or Gabe. Sigh.)


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