Ricardo Christie will return to the World Surf League Championship Tour in 2019 in what will be an historic year for Kiwi surfing.
Christie mathematically qualified for the CT at the final major qualifying series event in Hawaii on Sunday, winning his round three heat.
Heading into the event seventh in the standings, the win improved Christie's season points haul to a point where it is not possible for him to fall out of a qualification spot. While a number of surfers can surpass him depending on results, eight of them need a top-four finish. With the top 10 on the QS guaranteed a spot on next year's CT, Christie has confirmed his return.
With Paige Hareb already confirmed for the women's CT, 2019 will be the first time a male and female Kiwi athlete have been on their respective tours at the same time.
Hareb also claimed her spot on next year's CT via the QS, after her return to the tour in 2018 didn't go quite as planned in terms of results.
For Christie, 2019 will be the beginning of his second tenure with the world's elite after competing on the 2015 edition of the CT.
With heats still to surf in the Vans Open of Surfing at Hawaii's Sunset Beach, Christie will now focus on clawing his way to a higher seed for the 2019 tour.
In his first taste of the CT, Christie was the bottom seed which saw him handed all the toughest match ups in elimination rounds. Finishing higher than 10th on the QS will mean he'll avoid the toughest assignments.