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2014 World Tour Schedule Hints at Parity

by on Thursday 28th November, 2013   7723 Visits   Comments

The boys will be at Pipe but will we ever see the women? © 2014 ASP/Kirstin

The Association of Surfing Professionals have announced the 2014 tour schedule, featuring the men, women and main qualification stops. The big story is that finally the women will have quality events in banner waves.

During last few years the Women’s events have been sandwiched sardine like into the first half of the year, sometimes in odd places, leaving barely enough time to draw breath – let alone get excited. Despite the still early curtailment in October 2014 has added events in Fiji, Trestles and Hossegor to look forward to. Add Pipeline and Teahupoo to that list and you have some kind of parity in events, if not prize purse.

“2014 will see the most talented collective of female surfers ever assembled in the ASP Top 17 and the new tour schedule is befitting of their talent,” Jessi Miley-Dyer, ASP Women’s World Tour Manager, said. “New ASP management have an unprecedented dedication to providing a quality platform upon which the world’s best female surfers can perform and that’s evident in the addition of major events to the 2014 schedule. Next year will be the most exciting year in the history of women’s surfing thus far, without a doubt.”

As our transitional year draws to a close and we look ahead to 2014, we’re very excited by the passion, enthusiasm and interest with which our athletes and events as well as new and core media and sponsorship partners have supported us with. Paul Speaker, ASP CEO

The rumour mill has been in overdrive concerning tour sponsors and if/how they are going to make the whole thing pay. Paul Speaker and billionaire investor Dirk Ziff who make up much of the brain and financial brawn of ZoSea have been busy, but currently there are three headline sponsors missing from the male tour and five confirmed on the female half. Plus, of course, a headline sponsor for the whole tour.

“There’s a huge commitment from new management to the core principles of our sport in putting the world’s best surfers in the world’s best waves,” Kieren Perrow, Interim Commissioner, said. “The 2014 ASP Men’s WCT, ASP Women’s WCT and qualification tours are designed to produce the world’s most comprehensive and exciting surfers. There’s a lot happening within the sport next year and it’s a very exciting time for professional surfing.”

If there is an elephant at the Zosea table it is cash. Headline sponsors are now able to buy in at a much reduced rate compared to past years whence they had to carry the whole financial can. For the endemics who previously owned these events this has introduced the question of whether they are paying twice. I.e. their primary marketing is riders and perhaps in these financially straightened times headlining an event becomes less important.

Reportedly the webcast team is lined up for next year and it will be be centrally controlled for the first time as planned. But there still remains a great deal of work to do before the tour is close to wiping its financial nose, and by no means is it guaranteed that just because a tour was created all those years ago that it will ever be capable of generating the revenue required to sustain itself. There’s no doubt that previous model was broken and with luck and time hopefully the new tour can find a means to thrive.

The press release states: “For the first time in organization’s storied 37-year history, next season will be the first time all of professional surfing’s initiatives from production to athlete care to marketing to operations to media and onwards will be centralized under the purview [sic] of the ASP, creating a well-resourced, fan-centric and athlete focused entity committed to celebrating the sport.

“As our transitional year draws to a close and we look ahead to 2014, we’re very excited by the passion, enthusiasm and interest with which our athletes and events as well as new and core media and sponsorship partners have supported us with,” Paul Speaker, ASP CEO, said [sic]. “Our foundational media platform with Google YouTube, Facebook/Instagram and ESPN is in place and we’ll be announcing our respective international linear broadcast partners in the coming weeks.”

“We truly have, in my opinion, one of the most dynamic and impressive global sporting properties in the world,” Speaker continued. “The more time I spend with our athletes, the more I come to respect them, their accomplishments and their affinity with the most dangerous and alluring frontier on the planet. We have tremendous admiration for the culture and heritage of the sport and we’re humbled and honored to be stewarding professional surfing into this next era of excellence. Good luck to our remaining competitors around the globe this season and we look forward to a huge 2014.”

The revised schedule for 2014 is as follows:

2014 ASP Men’s World Championship Tour (WCT) Schedule:

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast – March 1 – 12, 2014
Margaret River Pro – April 2 – 13, 2014
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach – April 16 – 27, 2014
Billabong Rio Pro – May 7 – 18, 2014
Fiji Pro – June 1 – 13, 2014
Bali Pro – June 17 – 28, 2014
Billabong Pro Teahupoo – August 15 – 26, 2014
Hurley Pro at Trestles – September 9 – 20, 2014
Quiksilver Pro France – September 25 – October 6, 2014
Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal – October 8 – 19, 2014
Billabong Pipe Masters – December 8 – 20, 2014

2014 ASP Women’s World Championship Tour (WCT) Schedule:

Roxy Pro Gold Coast – March 1 – 12, 2014
Margaret River Pro – April 2 – 13, 2014
Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach – April 16 – 27, 2014
Rio Women’s Pro – May 7 – 18, 2014
Fiji Women’s Pro – May 25 – 30, 2014
Vans US Open of Surfing – July 27 – August 3, 2014
Trestles Women’s Pro – September 9 – 20, 2014
Hossegor Women’s Pro – September 23 – 29, 2014
EDP Cascais Women’s Pro – October 1 – 6, 2014

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