Stab Magazine | CTers Vote To Personally Fund Surfers' Union To Keep It Alive

CTers Vote To Personally Fund Surfers’ Union To Keep It Alive

Altogether, they’ll be donating over $100k to the WPS in 2019. 

news // Dec 17, 2018
Words by Gossip Girl.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

According to notes from an October meeting between the WSL and World Professional Surfers (WPS) – an organization that fights for the surfers’ rights on Tour – the WPS has been operating at a loss and is in dire need of a cash injection.

Officially, the WPS had a negative balance of $40,000 in 2018, despite their $200,000 annual stipend from the WSL. In the meeting, the WPS asked the WSL to increase its yearly contribution, which would help cover legal costs that will ultimately be used to combat the WSL on behalf of CT surfers. It’s not clear if the WSL outright denied the proposal, but there’s no indication that they agreed.

Some might call this WSL/WPS arrangement a conflict of interest. They would be correct.

Recognizing this, the WPS also proposed the idea of surfers paying a “subscription” to the WPS – something to the tune of $170 per event. Much to the WPS’ surprise, the surfers not only agreed to this idea but also upped their per-comp contribution to a clean $200. All 27 CT members in attendance voted unanimously to approve the initiative, which will take place starting in 2019.

If you do the math, with 36 male CT surfers paying $200 apiece at 11 events, and 18 female CT surfers paying $200 apiece at 10 events, that comes out to a $115,200 yearly stipend from the surfers to their Union (the WPS).


The WPS next potential fight – keeping Honolua on Tour! Here, Sage does her part to tip the scales. Photo: WSL

According to Sage Erickson* – who has been the WPS’s Women’s CT ambassador for the past several years – the president of the WPS, Christian Bessera, has worked tirelessly to promote the surfers’ needs and has earned their complete trust, which is why the surfers agreed to pay the comp-based subscription fee.

Bessera, by the way, is a Brazilian ex-pat who worked his way up the Silicon Valley ladder (Yahoo, etc.) before bailing on the “real” world to return to his passion of surfing. Bessera does this job not for a huge paycheck, but because he believes in the work. At least that’s the sense the surfers believe, and from Stab’s talks with Bessera, we would have to agree.

Now, the brass tacks.

By paying a subscription, CT surfers send the message that they want more ownership of their Union, as is the case with many the other sports leagues (NFL, NBA, FIFA, etc). In other words, the WSL will now have less control over the WPS’s actions because they are no longer the sole contributor to its cause. Most importantly, the WPS will have enough funds to cover their legal costs and other administrative needs.

That’s all for now!



*Sage, it should be noted, did not leak the notes from the October meeting, nor did Mr. Bessera. Gossip Girl is much too committed to her job to simply reveal her sources!


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