It’s hard to get a decent read on what the new ASP and ZoSea partnership for the world tour looks like. And, today’s press release packs all the ambiguity that goes with these kinda deals. “The supporters of the sport have sacrificed a lot of time and energy into professional surfing, and it has brought us to our current position where we’re attractive to a larger market with the ability to take surfing to a whole new level,” says surfer’s rep Kieren Perrow. “Everyone, from the surfers to the fans to the events to the sport will benefit, and it’s an exciting time for the ASP.”
The release continues: “Designed to enhance the organizational structure of the sport as well as the direction of professional surfing in the coming years. This measure enjoys the comprehensive support of surfers, events, staff and ASP Board Members.”
It seems simple from afar. The buoyancy of the pre-2008 surf industry is long gone and the number of events on tour is looking shaky (we’ve lost New York, Jeffreys Bay and the Rip Curl Search event in the last 12 months). Less events on tour takes quite the shine off what pro surfing stands for. Then comes in a slick operator like Terry Hardy with a vision and the know-how. In 2009, with Kelly by his side in support, he talks of a rebel super tour: more cash, less surfers and an alignment with ESPN. Rapid changes ensue in the ASP (the number of surfers on tour is cut in following years and prize money is lit up significantly). He then acquires the management of John John Florence early 2012. All of a sudden, Tez has all the power in the world: he has two of the world’s three most powerful surfers on his books (he just needs Dane for the absolute Power Triumvirate). Without Dane, and then losing KS and John from the tour, your desire to tune into webcasts in the middle of the night is gone.
I guess what we’re all hoping for is a real read on what the wash-up will be? The definitive answers to what we all want to know: how many surfers will be on tour? Will there be new events? Will there be a unified webcast that travels the world? What new sponsors are potentially out there and what kinda cash will surfers be fighting for? And, most important of all, will Rosy Hodge still be on the beach doing post-heat interviews?