How to watch WSL surfing live and free in Australia
With over 50 athletes competing across 11 events in seven different countries, the 2020 World Surf League is going to be epic. Here's how you never miss a wave.
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Who will win the 2020 World Surf League Championship Tour? And where can you watch every surfing event live online? These are the two big questions faced by all of us who love the sun and the waves.
The Men's WSL championship sees four former world champions (John John Florence, Adriano De Souza, Gabriel Medina and reigning titleholder Italo Ferreira) in the hunt. Well, there may even be five. There is still the will he, won't he retire flip-flopping from Kelly Slater to deal with. Is the veteran going to go through with his retirement, or will he go around one more time?
Either way, all these men will need to face off against a field that includes a number of perpetual bridesmaids. The likes of Julian Wilson, Jordy Smith, Owen Wright and Felipe Toledo are eager to feel what it's like to be on top. They've all shown they are just one timely win away from the coveted WSL championship trophy.
But more importantly, will we see the title decided in the last round of the last event like we did in 2019? We can't wait to find out.
Over on the Women's WSL championship tour, there is also plenty of intrigue. Reigning four-time world champion Carissa Moore has shocked the league by pulling out of the 2020 tour to take a break, leaving the door wide open for a new champion. And after missing most of 2019 with injury, Tyler Wright returned for the final Maui Pro event and came second, proving the dual world-title holder remains a genuine threat.
Then there is living legend Stephanie Gilmore, gunning to eclipse Layne Beachley's record of seven world championships. She'll need to fend off the likes of Lakey Peterson, Tatiana Weston-Webb, Sally Fitzgibbons, Caroline Marks and Johanne Defay if she is going to achieve that goal. It's going to be some year.
You can browse the complete WSL schedule of events here.
How to stream the WSL online for free
If you want to watch the World Surfing League for free, it is possible. The WSL offers its own stream via a web browser or mobile app. This includes Championship and Challenger events, as well as longboard and Big Wave At Large tournaments. While the quality of this stream is solid, the lack of pause and rewind features is very annoying.
In 2020, the WSL signed a deal with Channel 7, too. Each event will be broadcast live on 7Plus, in addition to highlights packages on-demand. There will also be a World Surf News Weekly show on 7Mate, too. Obviously, the big downside with watching WSL on free-to-air is the advertisements. On 25 November 2020, the WSL-Channel 7 deal was extended through 2021.
The best way to stream WSL online
In Australia, the World Surf League events are also broadcast on the Fox Sports channels through either Foxtel or Kayo Sports. Given the nature of the WSL events, which are dependent on daily weather and surf conditions, it can be a little tricky to judge from the TV guide alone when the competition is on. However, there are replays and rewind features built in to these systems if you miss the start.
Our pick is Kayo Sports. As well as a live stream of the WSL events, you can rewind many hours with ease, access replays and enjoy supplementary content (such as surf documentaries). Kayo Sports also has many unique sports viewing features, include a picture-in-picture mode perfect for watching the WSL when at work, SplitView, hide scores, jump to key moments and more.
Kayo Sports can be streamed to almost any device, and to a TV via ChromeCast. There is a more detailed analysis in our full review, but the other big defining characteristic worth noting here is its price. At $25 per month, with access to over 50 other sports on top of the WSL tournaments, it's great value. Thankfully there is a 14-day free trial so you can experience it for yourself.
WSL on Foxtel
Foxtel also remains an option, either through the Foxtel IQ traditional set-top box experience, or via the Foxtel Now streaming service. Neither of these services, however, offer the extensive feature-set provided by Kayo Sports, and they're priced at $72 and $54 per month respectively.
It's worth noting that for the extra price you do get additional non-Sport content, which is a situation that may be better suited to your needs. Plus, in the case of Foxtel IQ, the ability to watch 4K content. So, these services are not without their merits and we have more information available to read here.
However, if you're simply looking for a better way to watch the WSL online than Facebook and you're keen on other sports like Cricket, Rugby League, AFL or the V8 Supercars, Kayo Sports is your best bet.
Has the WSL Big Wave World Tour been canceled?
After a decade of struggle, the WSL has pulled the plug on the Big Wave World Tour and the Big Wave World Championship. It is no more, at least in its preexisting format. There will be a standalone paddle-only event at Jaws, and a standalone tow-only event at Nazare. The Big Wave Awards will still happen, too. Plus there will be a new competition called Strike Missions that will allow for big wave surfers to go head to head at places like Cape Fear, Shipsterns and Teahupo'o.
So we'll still get to watch some Big Wave events through the WSL website and app. However, the Big Wave Tour as such won't happen and no Big Wave World Champion will be crowned.
List of 2020 Men's WSL tour surfers
|3||Jordy Smith||South Africa||No|
|5||Kolohe Andino||United States||No|
|7||John John Florence||Hawaii||No|
|8||Kelly Slater||United States||No|
|16||Griffin Colapinto||United States||No|
|20||Conner Coffin||United States||No|
|25||Matthew McGillivray||South Africa||Yes|
|26||Jack Robinson||South Africa||Yes|
|33||Adriano de Souza||Brazil||No|
|34||Leonardo Fioravanti / Mikey Wright||Italy / Australia||No|
List 2019 Women's World Surf League surfers
|9||Nikki Van Dijk||Australia|
|13||Brisa Hennessy||Costa Rica|
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