New details have surfaced in the wake of the ASP's recent purchase of the Big Wave World Tour (BWWT). According to founder Gary Linden, the ASP was able to bring the BWWT under their wing by absorbing the $50,000 prize purse for the five events scheduled for this year's tour, leaving the entire purchase at $250,000.
"Aligning the ASP with the Big Wave World Tour is something we've been working on for some time, and I'm happy that it's finally come together," said Linden. "I was working with Brodie Carr a few years back and we were close to coming to an agreement, but that was right before he resigned. Unfortunately, we had to begin the process again, but I think we've found a great partner with ZoSea."
Under the marriage, Linden envisions many new developments with the Big Wave World Tour, including the creation of new events. "There's a lot we're looking forward to doing in the future," added Linden. "We're working on putting together a potential event at Jaws and possibly adding in a few other locations as well."
In addition to the possibility of adding new events to the schedule, Linden hopes to initiate a valid qualifying system and to potentially include a women's heat in each event. "We've made a lot of progress with the BWWT and we hope to make it more professional as we move forward. Part of that would definitely including creating a new qualifying system for the tour. We have a very basic system in place now, but we're looking to validate it more," he said. "There are a lot of women really pushing the boundaries in big-wave surfing as well, and it's a goal of ours to include them in the tour by creating a special women's heat in each event. Right now, these are just goals for us, but with any luck they'll be a reality soon."
ZoSea's purchase of the BWWT falls in line with a broader strategy to begin marketing surfing to a new international audience. According to Mark Healey, who's competed on the Big Wave World Tour in the past, big-wave surfing is easier for non-surfers to relate to than an event like the US Open at Huntington. Once a relationship is established with the BWWT, it would make it easier for fans to transition their attention to the World Tour.
"I think seeing someone surf a 20-foot wave is something that everyone--whether they surf or not--can relate to. The danger is there and that's what people can take in. At a wave like Huntington, you have to be a pretty intense fan to stay glued to the whole contest. But I think this is a great way to help reach a new audience and I think now that the ASP is involved with the tour, it's going to make it a lot more legitimate and you'll see new faces entering these events."
Prior to coming under the ASP umbrella, ASP surfers were prohibited from entering non-sanctioned events run by the BWWT. In January of this year, citing the ASP sanction, Kelly Slater pulled out of the Maverick's Invitational on the eve of the event. But with the ASP and the BWWT now aligned, World Tour surfers have carte blanche to compete in these events.