Dean Bowen books spot on new WSL Challenger Series

BIG CHANCE: Gerroa's Dean Bowen will be looking to build on a strong 2019 campaign when the Challenger Series kicks-off in March. Photo: ADAM McLEAN
BIG CHANCE: Gerroa's Dean Bowen will be looking to build on a strong 2019 campaign when the Challenger Series kicks-off in March. Photo: ADAM McLEAN

TWO solid results in Hawaii has sealed the spot of Gerroa's Dean Bowen on the World Surf League's new Challenge Series, which will kick-off in March next year.

By claiming 180 points at both the WSL Qualifying Series' Hawaiian Pro and World Cup of Surfing, Bowen finished the season at 96, securing his spot on the revamped tour for next year.

The Kiama High School alumnus, who finished the year on 5,685 points thanks to two podium finishes in Chile, and the other 99 top 100 QS finishers for 2019 will be invited onto the Challenger Series, which was recently launched by the WSL.

The series is a new level of competition that will provide athletes more opportunities at the highest level to qualify for the elite Championship Tour (CT) - which contained Culburra Beach's Wright siblings (Owen, Tyler and Mikey) and Gerroa's Sally Fitzgibbons this season.

In 2020, the QS - the development and qualification tier for the CT - will feature two primary segments: the Challenger Series (events that award 10,000 points towards a surfer's QS ranking) and the QS 5,000, 3,000, 1,500 and 1,000 events, that will all contribute to a surfer's year-end QS ranking as they work towards qualifying for the CT. The CS will see the number of 10,000-point events increase from six to eight for the men and two to four for the women - with both genders receiving equal prize money.

"It's a really exciting concept and I can't wait to be involved next year," the Werri Beach Boardrider said.

"It gives more weight to those eight 10,000-point events, which in turn, gives everyone in the top 100 a shot at cracking the CT - which is the main objective and a real goal of mine."

The eight venues will be Sydney (Australia), Piha (New Zealand), Ballito (South Africa), Huntington Beach (United), Pantin (Spain), Ericeira (Portugal), Haleiwa (Hawaii) and Sunset Beach (Hawaii) - with the current top 100 invited to the first four events before the reseeding determines who gets invited to the last four.

"This new level of competition will provide greater opportunity for elite qualification for the next generation of surfers," said WSL senior manager tours and competition Travis Logie in a statement.