Just moments ago, the World Surf League has announced it will award equal prize money to male and female athletes for every WSL-controlled event in 2019. And if you're asking why, the answer is because, it will be 2019 not 1919.
You may recall a few months back, an image emerged from the Ballito Pro? Rio Waida from Indonesia and Zoe Steyn from South Africa – were awarded R8,000 and R4,000 respectively, generating ill feeling amongst a lot of commenters.
More so, big wave chargers Keala Kennelly, Bianca Valenti, Andrea Moller and Paige Alms have been hotly campaigning for equal pay in world tour events. And it seems their voices have all been collectively heard.
The mitigation at the time of the Ballito event, was that the women don't have to surf as many heats as the men. However, talking about the new equal pay, WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt said, “This is a huge step forward in our long-planned strategy to elevate women’s surfing and we are thrilled to make this commitment as we reveal our new 2019 schedule. This is the latest in a series of actions the League has undertaken to showcase our female athletes, from competing on the same quality waves as the men, to better locations, and increased investment and support.
“This change is simply the right thing to do for the WSL and we would like to thank the many advocates who have worked for decades to help advance women’s surfing. We want to be at the forefront of pushing for equality in all walks of life, starting on the waves, and we feel very lucky to have women on our tour who are highly talented, iconic role models, and more than deserve this recognition as they stand alongside our extraordinary male athletes.”
A WSL press release says: “In further support of its commitment to women’s surfing, today the WSL also announces three initiatives which will launch in 2019:
*A global marketing campaign to highlight the women’s tour as well as increase event viewership and fan engagement.
*An local community engagement program for girls around the world, featuring instructional clinics with WSL athletes at each women’s Championship Tour stop to inspire the next generation to embrace surfing.
*A monthly content series about the pioneering women of surfing, celebrating them across WSL channels, starting next week with seven-time World Champion Layne Beachley.
And, doesn't that make you happy?