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by Tru Starling

With our toes hanging right on the edge of the start of another year of the WSL’s surfing circuit (Regional Qualifiers, Challenger Series, Championship tour and World Title Surf Off) we had a few thoughts….

  1. Is it possible for anyone to surf all 4 divisions in 12 months? To our understanding this is the first year this could happen?
  2. How will the WSL balance the Challenger Series and Championship Tour for surfers trying to requalify in the same year?
  3. How much would this actually cost a surfer to do the 2 divisions (regional qualifier and Challenger Series) in one year to qualify for the CT?

We had heard rumours of the 4 challenger series events last year in 2021 costing athletes anywhere from $25k Australian Dollars and upwards. If we assume that is right, that is $6250+ per event for entry fee, travel, accommodation food and anything else on-top. Now most of the Challenger Series competitors in 2021 had to fund this out of their own pockets due to the lack of sponsor dollars spread out amongst the industry teams. 

We did hear some of the big brands like Rip Curl, helped by organising group accommodation for their team riders but not everyone was in that boat.

If we look at 2022 and apply that amount across all events and deduct some dollar amounts based on the assumptions of airfares being cheaper due to a higher volume of travel now, home quarantining ending in most countries and some events being held in locations closer to one another we came up with the following amount.

A quick disclaimer though. We haven’t added a prize pool amount mostly due to the fact that we don’t have the prize pools released yet. Assuming someone does qualify through both divisions to make the CT then they would be making quarter finals or above which would mean they would make some decent prize money.

Okay… So with all being said, here is our pricing based on the above, we have also included equipment and training. We have based the price from an athlete living in NSW, Australia so prices will vary based on where you live.

Pre Contest Amounts

To make sure you are fit, your equipment is ready and you are actually using it right you’re going to need a few things… So let’s stick with the basics here. We have allowed 2 months worth of pre-contest training for the sake of a budget.

A good surf coach can make all the difference to your career. pic. surfphotosofyou

A surf coach: For us this is a must. Someone who you work with to develop your surfing game, your competitive strategies and advise you on the days of the events etc. We have allowed 1 training session a week with a coach @ $100 a session. *Note* this price varies but we have used $100 as an average

8 weeks @ $100 a session = $800


A Fitness coach: As important as it is to have a surf coach, it can all be pointless if you don’t have the fitness and strength to turn hard and last through a lot of heats (and you’re going to surf a lot of heats). Remember you could be stuck in a sweep for 25 minutes or running up the beach to get back into the line-up so fitness is everything here!

We have allowed 3 training session a week with a coach @ $25 a session

8 weeks @ $75 a week = $600


Surfboards Accessories and Wetsuits: Like the last 2 points this is the critical third piece of the puzzle. We have allowed for wholesale pricing here to balance out sponsored and non sponsored surfers.

You’re going to need a fair stack of surfboards to deal with all of the conditions from wave height to wave face and steepness. We have allowed 4 shortboards and 3 step-ups. We have allowed $450 per board. We have also allowed for 5 wetsuits, 2 steamers, 1 short arm steamer and 2 long arm springsuits. For accessories we have allowed $500. This will cover grips, legropes, board bags, wax and zink.

7 boards @ $450 a board = $3150

5 Wetsuits (averaged out) @ $100 a suit = $500

Accessories = $500

Total of pre-comp fees: $4750

regional qS surfer and 2022 carve pro champ nyxie ryan. pic. Surfing nsw

Regional Qualifyer

We are basing the regional qualifiers on the Australian draw which is 7 events, of which 6 of the events are based in one state (NSW). Our thought was let’s look at only doing the 6 events in NSW to cut costs for travel.

So we broke down the cost for the regional qualifying events in the following points. Entry Fees, Travel, Accommodation and Food. 

Now we don’t want to seem like we are crazy spenders to you all so we have split the cost in half based on travelling with another competitor. That way (with the exception of the entry fee) everything cost wise is split in 2.

So here are the RQS numbers:

Entry Fees: 

3 x 1000 Point Events @ $230 entry fee = $690   

1 x 3000 Point Event  @ $287.38 entry fee = $287.38

2 x 5000 Point Event @ $344.85 entry fee = $689.70

Total RQS Entry Fee: $1667.08


5 x tanks of petrol @ $60 per person = $300


27 nights of accommodation @ $100 per person = $2700.


27 days of food @ $35 a day per person = $945

Total RQS Contest Costs = $5612.08

So as it stands to qualify for the challenger series as an example from here in Australia your out of pocket expenses would estimate to $10,362.08.

Now as previously mentioned, to qualify for the 2022 Challenger series you would have to make the quarter finals or above in the 3000 and 5000 events and the prize pool amount would significantly better the $10,362.08 costs position and you could quite easily come close to break even or actually make a little money!


Challenger Series

This is where the money will kick up a fair amount. But remember, this scenario is about qualifying for the CT so there will be some money to make back.

Here are the CS events for 2022:

  • Gold Coast – Australia 
  • Manly Beach – Australia
  • Ballito – South Africa
  • Huntington Beach – USA
  • Ericeira – Portugal
  • Hossegor – France
  • Piha – New Zealand
  • Haleiwa – Hawaii

We have applied the same reasoning from the Regional Qualifying series to the Challenger Series (entry fee, travel, accommodation and food). Split the costs in 2 with another competitor and made an assumption of an entry fee of $750 per event. So here we go.


2 events @ $750 an event = $1500

4 x tanks of petrol @ $60 per person = $240

15 nights of accommodation @ $100 per person = $1500.

15 days of food @ $35 a day per person = $525

Total: $3765

South Africa

1 event @ $750 an event = $750

Airfare @ $1500

4 x tanks of petrol @ $60 per person = $240

10 nights of accommodation @ $100 per person = $1000.

10 days of food @ $35 a day per person = $350

Total: $3840


1 event @ $750 an event = $750

Airfare @ $1200

Return Airfare to Aus @ $1200

3 x tanks of petrol @ $60 per person = $240

10 nights of accommodation @ $100 per person = $1000.

10 days of food @ $35 a day per person = $350

Total: $4740


2 events @ $750 an event = $1500

Airfare @ $1200

Return Airfare to Aus @ $1200

8 x tanks of petrol @ $60 per person = $480

22 nights of accommodation @ $100 per person = $2200.

22 days of food @ $35 a day per person = $770

Total: $7350

New Zealand

1 event @ $750 an event = $750

Airfare @ $500

Return Airfare to Aus @ $500

3 x tanks of petrol @ $60 per person = $180

8 nights of accommodation @ $100 per person = $800.

8 days of food @ $35 a day per person = $280

Total: $3010


1 event @ $750 an event = $750

Airfare @ $800

Return Airfare to Aus @ $800

3 x tanks of petrol @ $60 per person = $180

14 nights of accommodation @ $100 per person = $1400.

14 days of food @ $35 a day per person = $490

Total: $4420

So….. For a total of 14 events, 106 days, 10 flights and 30 tanks of petrol your total cost to achieve your dream of making the CT via the challenger series is…..

Pre RQS: $4750

RQS: $5612.08

CS: $27,125

Total: $37,487.08


Now at the risk of sounding like we’re banging on about it, we haven’t allowed for prize money in any of this. We feel that if you were to qualify in 2022 all the way from the RQS then you’re definitely going to be making money. We think more than enough to cover your total outlay of $37,487.08 but… you are going to need to apply this checklist. You’re really going to need to knuckle down, train hard, have the right team and be on the right equipment, be healthy and most importantly happy…

Because if one of the things on that checklist aren’t strong then it’s going to cost you in time and money. But the bright side is, look at the amazing places you will see, the amazing people you will meet and the crazy waves you will get to surf.

And for those of you who have always thought that it was easy to compete in contests and qualify for the world tour…… Go back to the top of this article and read it again!!!

We wish everyone the best in the competitive campaigns for 2022. We hope you all rip in and achieve at least one of your goals.

Bring it on!!!


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