First we had the new format debate, now things have moved up a gear and all the talk’s about a whole new tour. It’s been tried before, back in 2000, with nothing coming of it, but the general opinion seems to be that the Tour needs to be made more accessible to the masses, and surfers need to be rewarded more for progressive surfing, in a similar way to how it was back in the 70’s. This time round it seems Kelly Slater is the driving force behind the plans for 2010, which makes the whole thing way more likely to come off. Check Phil Jarratt’s take on the story in the THE NOOSA JOURNAL.
When Surfline contacted Kelly on Tuesday, he explained, “We’ll think and talk this thing out as much as needs to be done. There’s no plan to get rid of ASP as far as I know. It seems very necessary to work with them, but the WCT is not ever going to truly evolve with the platform and agreements we have with the events owning the tour and our product being handled the way it has been for all these years. There is talk about money and all that, but it’s secondary. The real issue is packaging what we have and what we do properly for people to enjoy in the best way possible. Obviously, it goes without saying it has to make sense and be good for all involved but things don’t always appear that way when people first hear about something. Once shock and controversy wears off people get to the root of the problems and find sensible answers. Hopefully that happens quickly for everyone.”
We then spoke with Mathew Tinley, who, along with Slater’s manager Terry Hardy and others, is one of the people behind the new tour. “The only thing I will adamantly say is that it’s not ‘Kelly’s Tour,'” Tinley stated. Tinley will “neither confirm or deny” any rumors about the specifics of said tour, explaining: “It’s best if we have a view of the whole system rather than piece bits of it out — it’s best to lay it out to everyone in detail all at once.”
Tinley said the timeline for the announcement could be in August. “There are some other very important people involved,” continued Tinley. “And we’re very excited to present the whole concept when the time is right.”
ESPN’s Chris Stiepock is also fairly tight-lipped about the whole thing. “We’re definitely interested and in discussions with a group establishing a new global surf tour,” he told Surfline. “But I can’t comment in detail about what’s going on because nothing is contractual yet.”
Check out the rest of the story on SURFLINE