Carissa Moore is one of four women to have already made the cut on the WSL Championship Tour ©Getty Images

The mid-season cut looms large as the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour visits Margaret River for the fifth leg of 2022.

On the women’s circuit, just four surfers have already qualified for the second half of the season - reigning Olympic and WSL champion Carissa Moore, who competes under a Hawaiian flag, Costa Rica’s Brisa Hennessy, Tyler Wright of host nation Australia and American Lakey Peterson.

On the men’s side, where the cut line is below the top 22 athletes in the standings, rather than 10 for the women, 13 surfers have already made the cut.

Brazil’s Olympic champion Italo Ferreira and season leader Filipe Toledo are among the 13, as is Olympic runner-up Kanoa Igarashi from Japan, 50-year-old American icon Kelly Slater - a record 11-time WSL champion - and Hawaii’s John John Florence, the overall winner in 2016 and 2017.

The Margaret River Pro is due to begin tomorrow, if conditions allow, and could run until May 4.

Florence has fond memories of this wave off the coast of Western Australia, tasting victory on it in 2019 and 2017.

Toledo, who leads the season standings after victory at Bells Beach last time out, was the winner at Margaret River last year, overcoming Jordy Smith in the final.

South Africa’s Smith is 14th in the standings this time around, so the top-ranked man not to have yet qualified for the second half of the season.

There was a Brazilian double at this venue in 2021 as Tatiana Weston-Webb claimed the women’s victory.

Having also won the Championship Tour leg in Peniche in Portugal this season, Weston-Webb is sixth in the women’s standings and positioned well to make the cut - but not quite there yet.

Peterson, Moore and Wright are all also past winners at Margaret River, as is American Courtney Conlogue, who enters the event just 570 points above the cut line in a tie for ninth spot.

Filipe Toledo was a Margaret River winner in 2021 ©Getty Images
Filipe Toledo was a Margaret River winner in 2021 ©Getty Images

Conlogue is level on points with seven-time WSL champion Stephanie Gilmore.

Indian Robinson, like Gilmore an Australian, is the only rookie in the top 10 entering Margaret River.

After the mid-season cut comes into force, two wildcards will be added to both the men’s and women's fields for the next five Championship Tour legs, before the finals in San Clemente in California.

Gabriel Medina, the reigning men's champion, is expected to be among these wildcards as the Brazilian returns to professional surfing following a break for reasons of mental health.

The cut has been criticised by some surfers, but the WSL claims it will ensure the second half of the season can exist within the most optimal swell cycles and mean more head-to-heads between the best surfers in the world.