Big Plans for the BWWT

New developments emerge following the ASP's recent purchase

| posted on June 25, 2013

Peter Mel under the lip at the 2013 Mavs Invitational, which will be an official ASP-sanctioned event in 2014 and beyond. Photo: Glaser

New details have surfaced in the wake of the ASP’s recent purchase of the Big Wave World Tour (BWWT). According to founder Gary Linden, the ASP was able to bring the BWWT under their wing by absorbing the $50,000 prize purse for the five events scheduled for this year’s tour, leaving the entire purchase at $250,000.

“Aligning the ASP with the Big Wave World Tour is something we’ve been working on for some time, and I’m happy that it’s finally come together,” said Linden. “I was working with Brodie Carr a few years back and we were close to coming to an agreement, but that was right before he resigned. Unfortunately, we had to begin the process again, but I think we’ve found a great partner with ZoSea.”

Under the marriage, Linden envisions many new developments with the Big Wave World Tour, including the creation of new events. “There’s a lot we’re looking forward to doing in the future,” added Linden. “We’re working on putting together a potential event at Jaws and possibly adding in a few other locations as well.”

In addition to the possibility of adding new events to the schedule, Linden hopes to initiate a valid qualifying system and to potentially include a women’s heat in each event. “We’ve made a lot of progress with the BWWT and we hope to make it more professional as we move forward. Part of that would definitely including creating a new qualifying system for the tour. We have a very basic system in place now, but we’re looking to validate it more,” he said. “There are a lot of women really pushing the boundaries in big-wave surfing as well, and it’s a goal of ours to include them in the tour by creating a special women’s heat in each event. Right now, these are just goals for us, but with any luck they’ll be a reality soon.”

ZoSea’s purchase of the BWWT falls in line with a broader strategy to begin marketing surfing to a new international audience. According to Mark Healey, who’s competed on the Big Wave World Tour in the past, big-wave surfing is easier for non-surfers to relate to than an event like the US Open at Huntington. Once a relationship is established with the BWWT, it would make it easier for fans to transition their attention to the World Tour.

“I think seeing someone surf a 20-foot wave is something that everyone—whether they surf or not—can relate to. The danger is there and that’s what people can take in. At a wave like Huntington, you have to be a pretty intense fan to stay glued to the whole contest. But I think this is a great way to help reach a new audience and I think now that the ASP is involved with the tour, it’s going to make it a lot more legitimate and you’ll see new faces entering these events.”

Prior to coming under the ASP umbrella, ASP surfers were prohibited from entering non-sanctioned events run by the BWWT. In January of this year, citing the ASP sanction, Kelly Slater pulled out of the Maverick’s Invitational on the eve of the event. But with the ASP and the BWWT now aligned, World Tour surfers have carte blanche to compete in these events.

  • LG

    Yes and No.

    20-minute lulls? A Mainstream audience can’s stomach that.

    On the other hand, how many times has CNN talked about G-Mac’s Portugal adventures vs anything WCT related?

  • R Moore

    There is very little downside to bringing in the Big Wave World Tour and enormous potential. People want the spectacle of a massive wave towering over a surfer in an attempt to master nature. Why do you think Apple just named its new OS Mavericks? …’cause it kicks ass, and so will the BWWT

  • Christian

    The qualifying system is the big question here. Take the Mav’s event, for example. Non professional surfers put in years at the break just to make the alternate list, and if there lucky and skilled enough, the main event. How is the Tour going to accomodate all of the deserving locals, and still make room for the ASP guys AND the big wave stalwarts (Healey, Twig, Dorian, Longs, Burles). Let’s say one of these locals win the Mav’s event, does that then mean they get automatic entry into the other BWWT events? The qualifying scenario will be difficult for ZoSea, the ASP, and BWWT to negotiate, and will surely leave some people angry and upset.

  • Barry Haun

    Just want to congratulate Gary on seeing the fruition on his dream come true—after all the hard work he and his team have put in during all the meager years of little or no sponsorship—doing it all as a true labor of love!

  • AgroKook

    I witnessed a couple of ASP pros try to surf at Mavs the day be for the contest. It was a small day and their performance was substandard. They showed up with the entourage of jetskis that were rescuing them because they couldn’t make the drops. Hopefully the clothing companies won’t force BWWT events to invite their sponsored small wave rippers that are big wave kooks.

  • Insider

    This is en extension of ASP in it’s role of a licensing & sanctioning body, NOT the WCT as many people are freaking out about here. View it like a Master’s or Speciality event.

    ASP under ZoSea have the resources to add massive value to the production of the event, centralising web-streaming etc etc etc.

    Brodie never wanted the tour to join ASP, for the record. A sentiment that was not shared by many of the then board members.