The October 2009 ASP Board of Directors meeting has completed, with all surfers, events and administration uniting to activate landmark improvements that make the ASP World Tour bigger and better for 2010 and beyond.
“On behalf of the Association of Surfing Professionals, I am pleased to reaffirm the commitment from both our surfers and events in progressing the sport in a unified and collaborative effort,” Brodie Carr, ASP International CEO, said. “We have just completed a period of intense discussion with the world’s best surfers and the world’s best events which culminated in the unanimous support of the ASP and the commitment to the continuation of crowning undisputed world champions, as we have done so for 30 years, for generations to come.”
First and foremost amongst the historic changes is the transformation to a one-world rating system and the trimming back of the ASP World Tour field. Beginning in 2010, the ASP will move from the current two-tier system to an all-inclusive one-world rating system where both ASP World Tour and ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) events will be used to determine a surfer’s rating.
Halfway through the 2010 season, the ASP World Tour field will be reduced from the current 45-man plus three wildcards system to a 32-man plus four wildcards field. The timing of this reduction in field is to allow everyone qualifying for next season’s Dream Tour ample opportunity to establish themselves in the Top 32.
“By trimming back the current Top 45 field as well as instituting the one-world rating system we ensure the ASP World Tour continues to be the most progressive and dynamic professional surfing tour on Earth,” Mick Fanning, ASP World Champion (2007) and Surfers’ Representative, said. “The ASP has been the home of the best surfers and the best waves for over 30 years and our commitment to instituting these changes is illustrative of our position at the forefront of surfing.”
Prize money at the ASP World Tour and ASP Women’s World Tour level is set for a substantial increase in 2010. Base prize money for the ASP World Tour events will increase from the current US$340,000 to US$400,000 in 2010, taking the total prize pool on 10 events from $3,400,000 to $4,000,000 per annum. On the ASP Women’s World Tour, total prize pool will increase from US$630,000 to $800,000 in 2010.
Along with the increase in event prize purse, an additional US$100,000 bonus will be awarded to the year-end ASP World Champion, as well as an additional US$30,000 bonus to the year-end ASP Women’s World Champion.
“The surfers and events continue to work together with ASP Management to create a world class sport,” Rip Curl’s Neil Ridgway, ASP Events’ Council Chairman, said. “There are over one thousand ranked surfers from juniors to pros chasing an ASP World Title, and tens of thousands behind them dreaming of winning one themselves. Our tours provide sporting, economic, social and environmental benefits to almost every continent on the planet. We uphold the career pathway and continue to nurture the millions of fans who follow their heroes on the ASP World Tours.”
In addition to the increase in prize money, the ASP will institute an increase in surfer benefits that include full insurance coverage as well as a pension plan.
The third major change to be activated in 2010 is the evolution of the ASP Board structure. Transitioning from the current 5-person (1 chairman, 2 event and 2 surfer) model, the new ASP Board Structure will consist of three independents, two events and two surfers – including a women’s representative.
“It’s fantastic that the women will become voting members of the ASP Board of Directors,” Jessi Miley-Dyer, ASP Women Surfers’ Representative, said. “The current board has done an incredible job in directing the tour and has been instrumental in providing career pathways and tours for both male and female surfers. Having a female representative on the board dovetails perfectly into the positive, global response we’re receiving on the ASP Women’s World Tour right now, and I look forward to seeing the benefits of such a shift in focus.”
“We remain open to enhancements to our tours that reflect our core principles,” Carr said. “Our primary focus is in doing what is best for professional surfing.”