Goodbye ASP, Hello World Surf League

In open letter WSL CEO Paul Speaker welcomes surf fans 

Surf News Network,  January, 2015. It’s now official, the Association of Surfing Professionals is the World Surf League. This the latest long-standing incarnation of the global professional circuit. It was originally formed in 1982 by Ian Cairns and replaced the IPS (full history link at the bottom) . Below is CEO Paul Speaker’s address to surfing enthusiasts worldwide.

It’s a new year and we look forward to another tremendous season of the world’s best surfers in the world’s best waves.

2014 was our first full year of operations and it was nothing short of fantastic. I want to extend a special thank you to our Commissioners in Kieren Perrow, Jessi Miley-Dyer and Peter Mel – their insight, guidance and leadership abilities ensure that the sport’s core principle of championing the very best surfing on the planet remains the company’s focus through all facets of the organization.

The Big Wave Tour and the Big Wave Awards have been excellent additions, already celebrating deserving winners in Makua Rothman and Nic Lamb this season in Peru and the Basque Country respectively. We keep a watchful eye on Todos Santos and Pe’ahi in the coming weeks for potentially worthy swells before the 2014/2015 season culminates.

On the women’s side, the sport committed to providing a quality platform for the world’s best female surfers to perform upon and they delivered beyond anyone’s expectations. Their surfing – from the Gold Coast to Fiji, from Trestles to Honolua Bay – was incendiary and Stephanie Gilmore clinching her 6th world surfing crown amidst the most talented field ever assembled is testament to her dominance within the sport and her ability to elevate all components of her approach when the time calls for it. We’re looking forward to seeing women’s surfing reaching new realms in 2015.

On the men’s side, last season was unquestionably historic. From the waves we were fortunate enough to score to the performances of the world’s elite to the cultural and generational-shattering title by Gabriel Medina, 2014 delivered on all fronts. Medina’s title is not only symbolic of the tremendous work he and his family have put in over the years, but the commitment to excellence that his country and his countrymen have contributed to for decades. It is THE most exciting time in professional surfing right now and we all look forward to seeing what this season delivers in the form of Gabriel, Mick, Kelly, Jordy, John John or any number of the WSL Top 34.

The ASP is now the World Surf League (WSL) – the idea behind the transition is to provide easier access to the world’s best surfing for our fans, both new and old, as well as to further enhance the singular platform through which we can enjoy this wonderful sport. The goal of the ASP was to place the world’s best surfers in the world’s best waves. This same goal will be championed by the WSL moving forward.

I’d like to extend another heartfelt thank you to our global distribution and sponsor partners as well as to all our staff around the globe who dedicate their time, energy and efforts to the sport of kings. We share the passion of our fans and look forward to bringing you the unparalleled athleticism, adventure and competitive drama of professional surfing once again in 2015.

Thank you again.


Paul Speaker CEO – World Surf League

ASP History:
Governing body of the world professional surfing tour, founded in 1982 by former world tour runner-up Ian Cairns of Australia as a replacement for International Professional Surfers (IPS). The IPS brought together a mostly rag-tag group of contests in 1976 to create the original international pro circuit, and over the next five years the tour made modest but steady gains as measured by prize money, media coverage, and sports-world stature. But competing surfers as well as contest sponsors were unhappy with the tour’s rate of progress, and at the end of the 1982 season Cairns convinced nearly every key player on the circuit to jump over to the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), the organization he’d just created with financial backing from surfwear giant Ocean Pacific.

Read the full ASP history at the Encyclopedia of Surfing

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