Call it mainstream marketing, or what you will… but professional surfing has a new face for the ASP World Championship Tour. The governing body of competitive surfing released a statement announcing that as of 2015, ASP will change its name to the “World Surf League.”
The change comes at a time of drastic improvements to the professional nature of the broadcasts, increased prize money for the competitors, and a goal for gender equality amongst the WCT surfers (equal prize money, and barreling waves for the female competitors to showcase their talents).
In a letter to the surfing community, Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) CEO Paul Speaker explains that the change is happening because the new name will help bring the sport of professional surfing to more fans, athletes and partners worldwide. The ASP will continue to operate under the existing name until the end of 2014.
Read the official statement from ASP CEO, Paul Speaker, below:
To the ASP community,
At the start of the 2015 season, we will change our name to the World Surf League (WSL). We’re making this change because we believe the new name is easier to understand, and gets us on a better track to serve our fans, athletes and partners, and to grow the great sport of professional surfing worldwide.
There’s been a lot of change in the last two years. Part of it you can see, such as new venues and enhanced live broadcasts. Some of it is behind the scenes. All of it is driven by the twin goals of preserving the heritage and culture of surfing while, at the same time, creating an even better foundation to grow our sport in the future.
We want you to know that changing our name was a carefully considered decision for us. We felt it was important to share this idea with as many people in the ASP community as we could, from athletes to past world champions to event partners. In the end, we were greatly comforted by the fact that not a single person we spoke with opposed changing names to the World Surf League. Not one.
We understand that for many of you reading this, the letters “ASP” have significant meaning and that this news might be unsettling. We hope you will give us the benefit of the doubt and that, over time, you will come to see this change as positive for the sport we all love. At the end of the day, professional surfing’s DNA remains intact: we’re about the world’s best surfers in the world’s best waves. That will never change.
From day one, our commitment to you has been that we will do everything in our power to improve the overall experience for fans, athletes and partners. Of course, we still have a lot of work to do, but we are confident that we are heading in the right direction.
We want to salute everyone upon whose shoulders we stand, from the creators of the ASP to their forefathers at what was originally known as the International Professional Surfers (IPS). It was the hard work of all of these people that provided the platform that we all share today and it is with them, and with you, that we look forward to ushering in the new era of the World Surf League.
Chief Executive Officer
The Hurley Pro at Trestles and the Swatch Women’s Pro Trestles are currently underway. The events run from Tuesday, September 9, until Saturday, September 20, 2014 and are webcast LIVE at www.aspworldtour.com.
The ASP Top 34 and Top 17 each have three events remaining on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour (WCT).
Quiksilver Pro France – September 25 to October 6
Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal – October 12 to 23
Billabong Pipe Masters – December 9 to 20
Roxy Pro France – September 23 to 29
Cascais Women’s Pro – October 1 to 7
Target Maui Pro – November 22 to December 6