ASP to force surfers to take drug tests and clean rooms or face grounding

Over the weekend the ASP announced a new “Anti-doping” policy effective for 2012.

I’m warning you, it’s a lot of words, big ones. If you are in a nerdy mood and feel like reading them, click here.

Let me bullet point the important facts:

-this new rule applies to ASP staff as well as ASP surfers (Brodie Carr not included)
-the list of prohibited substances include: a long list of steroids, plus: alcohol (really?), amphetamines (ok, understndable), benzodiazepines (wtf is that?!), cannaboids (weed? why?), cocaine (duh), methamphetamines (also duh), and narcotics (aren’t these all narcotics?)
-use, possession, and attempted use are all considered the same thing, guilty.
-testing will occur during events only
-testing will be done randomly (yeah right)
-violations will be met with 1 year suspension/disqualification on first offense.

The underlying reason behind this announcement is an attempt by the ASP to legitimize surfing as a sport to the public, and also to provide better role models for the groms, or at least create that illusion.

This makes sense. After some of the recent “amateur-hour” moments surfing has seen, such as the premature-crowning of Kelly Slater, drug-free surfers may seem a little less dumb? Maybe?

On the other hand, i’m not sure enacting a “parental-control” system of rules will be the best way to go about fostering a positive image. These are grown men and women we’re talking about.

Surfing is not a sport where “doping” is really an advantage. Doping refers to steroids, and their obvious advantages for sports like football and baseball. Muscle mass means little in surfing, unless you’re in da Wolfpak, so there’s no logical reason for anyone to abuse drugs to surf better.

In fact, the only ever case of a surfer on steroids was in 2004 when Brazilian Neco Padaratz was suspended for testing positive to anabolic steroids in France. Back then the ASP had a zero tolerance policy in place for steroids, but athletes were almost never tested. Padaratz claimed the steroids were for a back injury, and he was allowed to return the following year.

Roids aside, the inclusion of performance-reducing drugs such as Alcohol, Marijuana, and Benz-whatever (which is valium, i looked it up on the internet) seems a little silly. They have nothing to do with the sport itself. Besides, they serve beer at the events, and what is this going to mean for the epic champagne popping orgy on the podium?

If anything, the only thing at risk here is losing some great characters on tour. Let’s face it, clean-cut-robot-athletes are no fun compared to the wildmen of surfing’s colorful past, of which drugs were pretty blatantly involved.

To quote the eloquent words of Bobby Martinez, whose act of parental-rebellion may not be the last we see: “This ain’t no fuckin tennis tour!”