ASP TO BECOME ‘WORLD SURF LEAGUE’
Name change to take place at beginning of 2015 season
It’s official. We’ve grown up. At least pro surfing has been around long enough to have three name changes: International Professional Surfers (1976-1982), the Association of Surfing Professionals (1983-2014), and starting next year, according to a letter just released by the organization, its new name will be the World Surf League.
The ASP was founded in January of 1983 by Ian Cairns after what he saw as a failure on the part of the IPS.
Cairns wrote the following explanation on Surfline back in 2009:
“Nothing seemed to be improving; prize-money was not going up, the number of events was going down, the assistance provided to the events and the surfers from the association was perceived as minimal, the rules needed updating, the media coverage needed to be improved, no major outside sponsorship was coming in. I went to Mike Parnell at Op and convinced him to support a new breakaway tour and the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) was born.”
Shaun Tomson, 1977 world champ and longtime supporter of pro surfing, is excited to see the change from the ASP to the WSL. “The ASP was a way to bring surfers and competition directors and sponsors together to create a new entity that represented the sport,” he said. “By having this independent organization [WSL] to chart the future of surfing, I think it’s the next step. When you compare it to other sports, we have this unbelievable product.”
Below is an open letter from the ASP’s CEO Paul Speaker:
“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.
“We want you to know that changing our name was a carefully considered decision for us.”
— WSL CEO Paul Speaker
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.
This is a decision we’ve made with our community and you can see their reactions for yourself.
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