A cross-section of the ASP's principle stakeholders convened two weeks ago on Australia's Gold Coast for a two-day summit, dubbed "Rabbit Camp 2009" (after former ASP President Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew's annual strategy sessions), where the group of event licensees, surfer representatives and ASP administrators collaborated in a discussion of several key issues regarding the future of the sport.
"It was fantastic to get such a diverse group of people together to push through some major initiatives that we've been working towards for the past 18 months," Brodie Carr, ASP International CEO, said. "The input from the athletes and events was excellent, and while the confirmation process won't be final until the ASP Board meeting this October, I can assure you that some exciting enhancements could be initiated as soon as next season."
On top of the list for changes is a move towards a more unified one-world ranking tem that will combine both the ASP World Tour and ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) rankings. This will, in effect, allow for top performers on the ASP WQS to be advanced onto ASP World Tour events as the season progresses as opposed to the end of the year (as it currently does). The one-world ranking added to a review of possible changes on the ASP World Tour all geared at rendering the most exciting product possible for audiences to watch the world's best surfers in the world's best waves.
In addition to the progressive changes being made in the structuring of the ASP World Tour, a substantial increase in prize purse from the current US$340,000 at each ASP World Tour event as well as collective purse awarded to the year-end ASP World Champion will be instituted, further sweetening the pot for the world's best surfers as they continue to break performance boundaries.
"The discussions held last week were positive and opened up the possibility for potential changes to be made down the track," Kieren Perrow, current ASP surfers' representative said. "The next step will be for Mick (Fanning) and myself to take the group's notes back to the surfers, both ASP World Tour and ASP WQS, in the coming weeks to gauge response and work out what is in the best interest to the sport."
ASPWorldTour.com, homepage of the ASP World Tour, will be further be utilized as the ultimate source of information regarding professional surfing, with group members decreeing that the site will be the primary hub of all ASP-sanctioned webs and that endeavors to bring the ASP's global audience consistent, uniform productions will be intensified.
The collective directives discussed at Rabbit Camp 2009 only complement the fact that the ASP World Tour event licensees have committed to delivering the world's best surfers in the world's best waves for a further nine years, resulting in nearly a guaranteed decade of performance barrier-breaking action from the world's best.
"The events would like to take this opportunity to re-confirm their support of the ASP World Tour moving forward," Neil Ridgway, ASP Events' Council Chairman, said. "We stand behind our events and we stand behind surfing."
The next step in cementing the initiatives discussed at Rabbit Camp 2009 will be analysis at the next surfers' union meeting, collected response from the Events' Council before being voted on and confirmed by the ASP Board of Directors in October.
The world's best surfers will next attack the high-performance peak of San Clemente's Lowers for the upcoming Hurley Pro Trestles, event No. 6 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, from September 13 – 19, 2009.
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com