The World Surf league has made a statement today announcing that in the 2019 season the organisation will be awarding equal prize money for women and men.
Making this forwards thinking move, the World Surf Organisation becomes the first US-based global sports league to implement pay parity at all the events it controls. Covering the Championship, longboard, junior and big wave tours. For events it doesn’t have control over, such as many qualifying events, WSL commissioner Kieren Perrow said it would work with partners to “achieve equality as soon as possible.”
The WSL came under fire at the beginning of the year after the winner of the Ballito Pro under 18s women’s competition was awarded a pay packet which was half of her male counterpart. Not only did this draw outrage on social media from many fans, a range of male surfer came out in support of equal pay, noting that the conditions surfers compete in are the same, whatever the gender.
World Surf League Statement
In a statement online, WSL CEO Sophie GoldSchmidt said: “This is a huge step forward in our long-planned strategy to elevate women’s surfing and we are thrilled to make this commitment as we reveal out new 2019 schedule.”
“This is the latest in a series of actions the league has undertaken to showcase our female atheles from competing on the same quality waves as the men, to better locations and increased investment and support.”
Steph Gilmore was one of the first stars to talk about the change, stating “the prize money is fantastic, but the message means even more.”
“I hope this serves as a model for other sports, global organisations and society as a whole.”
“My fellow women athletes and I are honoured by the confidence in us, and inspired to reward this decision with ever higher levels of surfing.”
Kelly Slater, eleven-time men’s champion spoke about the change saying “The Female WSL athletes are equally committed to their craft as the male athletes and should be paid the same. The women on the tour deserve this change.”
A change is happening in women’s sports. The question is, who will be the next organisation to promote equality and award women’s sports stars the pay they deserve?