Stab Magazine | Gossip Girl: The WSL's Drug Testing Policy

Gossip Girl: The WSL’s Drug Testing Policy

CT surfers have one hour to produce sample. Three strikes and you’re out.

news // Dec 12, 2018
Words by Gossip Girl.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

While Stab keeps this philly on a loose leash when it comes to illicit substances, the World Surf League’s official policy regarding the administration of testing for Performance Enhancing Drugs has remained vague since the announcement that the organization would be adopting World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines.

Whether tests are actually being performed has remained undisclosed, but during a North Shore winter there’s no shortage of birdies chirping.

No one is pissing dirty, PEDs don’t seem to be much of a problem. If any surfers are juicing they have, thus far, been savvy enough to evade detection.

Where the going gets rough is in the execution of WADA’s guidelines.

Upon notification of an impending test, surfers are required to provide a schedule of their whereabouts over the ensuing two months, during which time they can be summoned for testing at any time, worldwide.

When the call comes you’d be better be where you said you’d be, within the hour, ready to pee in front of a stranger.

It’s a method that works fairly well for most sports. Regimented training, competition schedules, and WADA’s global presence make for a more-or-less effective system. One that’s fairly difficult to game and doesn’t typically present overly burdensome difficulties for athletes.

But surfing is an odd duck and, outside of WSL events, many surfers have struggled to conform to their submitted schedules. Chased swells, missed or canceled flights, and the ever-fluid nature of sponsor demands collide with the WSL’s desire to prove surfing is a ‘real’ sport to create an anxiety inducing reality wherein surfers live in fear of missing their test due to unforeseen circumstances.

Three missed tests, whereabouts filing failures, or combination of the two, constitute an Anti-Doping violation. Punishment for said violation is suspension from competition- to last at least one year and no more than two. Three strikes and you’re out.

Said strikes have been occurring, leaving competitors who have acted in good faith facing the real possibility of suspension, with rumors that a surfer or two have sought legal counsel to appeal their, as they see them, unfair infractions.

Multiple strikes are the exception right now, rather than the rule, but in the future it seems near certain a competitor will run afoul with WADA, and be punished, due to an inability to conform to rules created without considering the rather unique reality of our favorite past time.

That’s all for now.




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