Coffin clinches coveted WSL World Tour slot

Conner Coffin - WSL

Conner Coffin at Sunset Beach, Hawaii. (WSL/Scholtz)

Santa Barbara’s Conner Coffin will be surfing on the World Surf League’s Championship Tour in 2016 after qualifying on Thursday at the World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach in Hawaii.

Coffin, 22, reached the semifinals in the final Qualifying Series event of the year to solidify his placement. He placed third in his semifinal heat behind eventual champion Mick Fanning and John John Florence. Coffin picked up a 6.0 – the highest single-wave score of the heat – but failed to add another and was denied a spot in the final by less than a point.

Fanning went on to win his first title at Sunset Beach, earning a 15.20 to Julian Wilson’s 12.57. Florence was third and Matt Wilkinson 4th. Coffin matched Fanning in the quarterfinals to eliminate Dane Reynolds and Ricardo Christie.

The result leaves Coffin No. 9 in the QS rankings at season’s end.  Also qualifying for the 2016 Tour through the Qualifying Series is Caio Ibelli (BRA), Jack Freestone (AUS), Kolohe Andino (USA), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Alejo Muniz (BRA), Kanoa Igarashi (USA), Alex Ribeiro (BRA), Davey Cathels (AUS) and Ryan Callinan (AUS).

Coffin’s best results in 2015 were today’s equal-5th at Sunset, another 5th at the Allianz Billabong Pro Cascais in Portugal, a 9th-place at the Oakley Lowers Pro, and a 3rd and 9th at two events in Brazil.

The 2016 Championship Tour begins on the Gold Coast in Australia on March 10. Coffin and the world’s best 34 surfers will be in California in September for the Hurley Pro at Trestles, the only North American contest on the 11-event tour.