ASP Int’l, Coolangatta, Australia (Friday, March 8, 2001) The ASP Board of Directors met at ASP Headquarters March 5-7, for what proved to be a watershed Annual General Meeting (AGM), establishing a course of action for the next three-to-five years.
After the much-publicized December 2000 meetings, the striking feature of this gathering of directors, event licensees, and advisory board members was the collective willingness of all interest groups to get down to the business of laying the foundation stones for the sports future.
“It was a new beginning,” beamed ASP President/CEO Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew. “A progressive forum that resulted in a co-operative effort to chart an exciting new phase for pro surfing. Across the board there was positive support for ASP initiatives.”
The main highlight of the meeting was the introduction of an incentive package that will potentially result in the first US$1,000,000 surfing purse. After months of speculation and sensationalized media reports, it was ironic that the inspiration for this historic development emanated from the surfing industry.
Billabong founder Gordon Merchant put forward the case that for events to put up huge prizemoney, a ratings point incentive had to be established as motivation. With the assistance of ASP Tour Director and resident statistician Al Hunt, a formula was devised whereby six categories were established, starting with the present minimum of US$250,000 (for men) and ranging up to and beyond the US$1,000,000 mark.
Also high on the AGM agenda was the execution of World Championship Tour (WCT) event licenses. Following input from event promoters, terms were agreed upon which offered stability for the WCT through the introduction of three-year event licenses.
Regional office licenses were also issued during the meeting. Representatives of the seven regional ASP offices committed to new conditions, including performance criteria designed to nurture regional development of the World Qualifying Series (WQS), women, junior and longboard divisions.
Over the past six months a great deal of work has gone into the restructuring of the WQS. One of the objectives is to reflect the new direction of the WCT, and to assist with this development has been the introduction of a reward system that creates incentives for 5 and 6 star WQS events at prime locations. Nicknamed the ‘Prime-Booster,’ events staged at prime locations such as the Maldives, Margaret River (Western Australia), and Haleiwa (Hawaii), will receive a 10-percent points bonus. The goal is to establish a raft of eight-or-more ‘Prime-Booster’ events as a feeder system into the WCT dream tour.
Another major development that further consolidates the future direction of ASP, saw Gordon Merchant and Rod Brooks – two extremely respected figures in the surfing world – take up positions on the ASP board and add further clout to the overall structure.
With the AGM now completed, final negotiations between ASP and Sportsworld Media Group (SMG) are underway. A statement will be issued shortly.