Ladies and gents, the Association is no more. The the world’s best surfers, the dream tour, and the webcasts will remain, but the Association of Surfing Professionals is retired, rebranded now into the World Surf League.
Just about a year removed from the ASP overhaul, complete with the changing of logos and media rights and commentators and funding and executives, the change in title will be effective at the beginning of next season, and implemented across the board. The aim is for the WSL to be a brand that is easier to sell to sponsors, with an emphasis on non-endemics, in order to bolster the current state of professional surfing onto the next level of exposure and fandom.
Says 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.”
He continues, “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.”
In Oct. 2012, the ASP was acquired by ZoSea, forging a new media deal with the backing of Dirk Ziff, and it fell under the leadership of former NFL exec Paul Speaker and Terry Hardy, Slater’s former manager. This new ASP has been making moves since, adding events to both the Men’s and Women’s tours, acquiring the Big Wave World Tour, securing digital media deals on multiple platforms, and pumping life into their website and brand. Most of these steps were positive, all things considered, and their intention is obviously to continue that trend as the WSL.
The ASP has been the ASP, up to today, since 1982, when Ian Cairns founded it to replace a stalling pro surfing circuit called International Professional Surfers (IPS). Competitive surfing has seen countless iterations since, yes, but it’s always done so under the banner of the Association. From here on, it’s the World Surf League, a shift that’s a sure sign of more change to come.
Read the full press release here: ASPWorldTour.com