In what undoubtedly was one of the most constructive, productive and unitedmeetings in the history of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP),the Board agreed to implement the following positive considerations, takingnote of their global responsibilities in these extremely difficult andsensitive times – and being aware of the concerns expressed by all itsmembers – Events, Surfers and Management.
The 2001 ASP men’s and women’s world champions will be crowned as scheduledin surfing’s ultimate proving-ground, Hawaii, after a unanimous decision bythe full ASP Board yesterday.
The ASP Board of Directors, comprising Surfer Representatives, EventRepresentatives and ASP Management, was in full agreement to proceed withthe year-end Hawaiian leg of the World Championship Tour (WCT) and WorldQualifying Series (WQS).
“I’m really excited to finish the tour for the WQS at Haleiwa, the women’sWCT on Maui and the final WCT at Sunset Beach,” said ASP Hawaiian ExecutiveRandy Rarick. “Despite the shortened year it will only heighten level ofcompetition on the North Shore.”
“The people of Hawaii were freaking out that we were going to pull out. Wehave the full support of the local council, government officials and theNorth Shore business community.”
The final event of the 2001 WCT, Rip Curl Cup at Sunset Beach, will decidethe men’s World Champion, while the Billabong Girls at Honolua Bay on Mauiwill decide the women’s World Title.
The confirmation of both the crowning of world champions and the running ofthe Hawaiian Triple Crown of surfing was unanimously supported by the Board.
For the surfers, the decision places great importance on Hawaiian results,as surfers trying to qualify on both the World Qualifying Series (WQS) andthe WCT will each have one last opportunity to make the qualifying cut.
“The bottom line is, we all went into every event this year trying to win,to say otherwise is ludicrous,” said reigning world champion Sunny Garcia.”I gave 110% every event, so where I end up this year is what I end upwith.”
“I could’ve stayed world champ for another year if we didn’t go ahead, thatwould’ve been cool,” joked Garcia. “But really it’s vital we crown a champand start with a clean slate next year”.
The WQS, which for the most part has had a full year of major qualifyingevents, concludes at Haleiwa with men’s and women’s 6-star events. Duringthe meeting Quiksilver confirmed the upgrading of the Roxy Jam from a 5 to6-star.
WQS qualifying numbers will remain 15 for the men and 5 for the women, andthe 10% points bonus on offer at Haleiwa will ensure a very exciting finish.
It is even more exciting in the WCT. With 10 men and 7 women in contentionfor the #1 spot, the Rip Curl Cup and Billabong Girls will amount to WorldTitle showdowns as the tour comes down to the wire.
“Given the circumstances we had to look at the best scenario for the entiresport of surfing and crowning a world champion is really important,” saidwomen’s representative Kate Skarratt. “It will definitely create a veryclose title race going into Hawaii and we just have to look towards nextyear and working towards making that a fantastic year.”
The men’s crown will be decided on the best 4 of the 5 WCT events staged in2001. Apart from World Title calculations, the race to secure a top 27 berthand automatic qualification in 2002 will create a pressure-cooker atmosphereat Sunset Beach come November 26.
In a move to lessen the impact of the cancellation of the European leg, theBoard will give 4 Wildcards to the Surfers and 2 to the Events in 2002. Thisguarantees that #28 & #29 on the WCT rating will qualify automatically,while the surfers will decide at the November meeting how to distribute theother 2 Surfer Wildcards.
In choosing the world champion in the women, all 3 WCT Events will count.The fabled Honolua Bay on Maui wil be the scene of a dramatic finale, as3-times World Champion Layne Beachley leads by the slimmest of margins goinginto the season-ending Billabong Girls.
“This extraordinary meeting was very important. We needed to end theuncertainty created by the cancellation of the European leg,” said ASP CEOWayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew. “Events of the past three weeks have united thisBoard, we all work towards a positive affirmation of the ASP World Tour.”
“Everyone’s taken a hit, all elements of the sport, just like the rest ofthe world, but we have come together from around the globe and the unitedcommitment shown to the sport by all concerned is seriously impressive.”
Sportsworld Media Group (SMG), ASP’s exclusive marketing and media agent,have been supportive throughout these very difficult times.
The ASP looks forward to a great Hawaiian Season.