The ASP World Tour may experience a few changes in the near future. Held recently on the Gold Coast, a summit of ASP “stakeholders” discussed a single tier ranking system that would open WT events to WQS surfers.
In the past, surfers have had to compete and rank high on the qualifying tour to be able to compete on the Championship Tour the following year. The trouble for surfers not in the top ranks of the WT is that they will have to qualify for the tour again next year. Essentially, all but the absolute top surfers have to surf the WQS and the WT simultaneously.
Other significant happenings at the summit involved a “substantial” increase in WT prize money and a declaration of loyalty to the WT by event franchisees. There is a proposed new super-tour threatening the long-standing and prestigious WT. The summit sent a clear message that the surf industry will not back the super-tour and the promoters will need to elsewhere for support and money.
The ASP also discussed the problem with inconsistent Internet coverage of events. There is no uniform way of distributing video of the events, especially live feeds from multiple sources. The ASP would like to develop a plan to bring continuity and valid information the fans around the world that tune into the Internet for live event coverage.
The ASP is facing an exciting time with so much happening. They know they have a supportive fan and sponsor base, and now can work on improving the competition. The surfers and event reps that make up the ASP governing body will vote on the changes presented at the summit in October.