UPDATE: British Surfing have now responded to our request for comment. Read what their explanation here.
British surf fans are spitting feathers after it was revealed that Luke Dillon, the highest ranked British male surfer on the QS, will not be included in the British surf team for the 2019 ISA world games- a vital qualification event for the 2020 Olympics.
The qualification criteria state that the first and second place finishers at the British nationals qualify automatically, with the third remaining spot awarded either to a wildcard, or the third-place finisher, at the discretion of the judging panel- which is made up of the home nation head coaches.
Rather than take the decision to award the wildcard spot to Dillon- who has been competing tirelessly on the QS for the last five years and currently sits in 97th on the world ranking, the panel opted to give the spot to Nathan Elms from the Channel Islands, who came third in the Nationals, but according to the WSL website has not competed in any QS events in recent years. The criteria states that a wildcard would only be awarded if ‘exceptional results’ are achieved ‘in European events/WCT/WQS or other significant international surfing event.’ Before adding that what constitutes an exceptional result will be determined solely by the discretion of the judging panel.
The decision has elicited widespread outrage and confusion among British surfers on social media, with a comment thread on the British surfing facebook page garnering 72 comments since it was published yesterday.
We have reached out to the selection panel for clarification as to why Dillon was not awarded the wildcard and will update you with their response.