ZoSea’s New ASP

Taking stock of ZoSea's changes to the ASP

| posted on February 27, 2014
The King after his win last year at Kirra. How will 2014 be different? How will it be the same? Photo: Joli

The King after his win last year at Kirra. How will 2014 be different? How will it be the same? Photo: Joli

When ZoSea took control of the ASP, they promised to take professional surfing to a new realm. That by 2014, we would begin to see some major changes take effect in professional surfing. For a year, we patiently waited. And finally, in the months leading up to the dawn of the Quik Pro Snapper, ZoSea lifted the curtain on their project, unveiling the new ASP. Here’s what’s changed since they took control:

Cut One World Rankings: The controversial One World Rankings, which proved to be quite a pain for some World Tour surfers (remember Bobby’s rant?) have been culled from the Tour, making the road to qualification immensely smoother for fans—and surfers—to understand. Top 22 from the World Tour, plus top 10 from ‘QS, throw in a pair of wildcards and you’ve got the Tour. From where we stand, this was a wise move.

Bali’s Out, J-Bay and Margaret River Are In: After sitting on the sideline for the past two years, J-Bay, arguably the world’s most perfect pointbreak, has found a home on the World Tour roster once again. But at a price. The Bali event has been axed from the schedule. While we’re looking forward to seeing Supertubes, we’re going to miss Keramas. Also new to the schedule is the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, which has been a staple ‘QS event in the past.

New Women’s Events: Perhaps some of the biggest changes to the ASP have happened to the women’s tour. For the past few years, the ladies have seen a fledging schedule, with events dropping left and right. From the outset, ZoSea made it clear that they have big dreams for women’s surfing and have reinvigorated their Tour, adding events in Fiji, Honolua, Trestles, and Margaret River.

Increased Prize Money: The prize purse for all of the men’s events has been raised to $500,000, and the women’s to $250,000.

New Tour Sponsor: This one’s big. Samsung, the largest tech company in the world, has ponied up to sponsor the entire thing, though the price they paid has yet to be disclosed. From the outset, ZoSea has made it clear that they wanted to introduce non-endemic brands back into the sport in hopes of pumping some new cash into the Tour, alleviating some of the financial pressure facing the surf brands. This isn’t a groundbreaking move by any means, as non-endemic brands supported surfing throughout the ’80s and ’90s. It was also announced that GoPro has signed on to sponsor the WT and the BWWT as well.

New Commentators/Static Web Team: With the webcast serving as the primary portal for fans to follow along, it has to be polished to be successful. In the past, the commentators varied from event to event, and the quality of the webcast at Brazil was a far cry from the one at Pipeline. All of this created a lack of cohesion. Last week, the ASP announced that they curated a new team of commentators, aided by regional guest commentators, to call the heats throughout the entire season. Plus, there’s going to be a single production team responsible for every event, adding consistency to the webcast and raising the overall quality.

The Big Wave World Tour: Earlier this year, ZoSea advanced into the big-wave world, bringing the Big Wave World Tour under the ASP umbrella. With the acquisition, the ASP was able to up the prize money for the Tour and open up the field to World Tour athletes as well. (In the past, ASP surfers faced penalties for surfing in non-sanctioned ASP events.) They’ve also included new events like Dungeons and Jaws, but the Maverick’s comp won’t be a part of the BWWT.

The ASP Commissioner: This new position, filled by Kieren Perrow, will see the commissioner take on a variety of roles to uphold the integrity of the sport. According to Kieren the position is “a pretty broad role. It’s about looking after the sport and, really, the integrity of surfing as a sport. Dealing with rules and regulations, scheduling, formats, and the overall structure.”

New Media Partnerships: In an effort to expand the reach of pro surfing to new audiences, the ASP forged a three-year domestic partnership deal with ESPN to broadcast the sport. Facebook and YouTube will also be working with the ASP to showcase World Tour content to their respective audiences.

Facelift: The new ASP World Tour website now hosts a variety of content. And they’ve got a new logo.

At this rate, standby for more changes. Just be sure to set your Fantasy Surfer team before the first heat hits the water at Snapper.

  • Jason

    Hard to believe that it took the ASP 30 years to get back on ESPN.

  • Jimmy the Saint

    Interesting to see how few new faces there are this year. I believe Dion Akinson is the only real rookie. I would imagine that the if it was the case that those on the WCT can only qualify by getting a top 20 finish (and current WCT surfers can’t requalify through the WQS) then there would be far more competitive surfing, and more real drama. Watching the Pipe event it was clear as mud who was going to requalify. So that is my 2 cents, if a current WCT surfer fails to made the top twenty then they are automatically off the tour and back on the WQS for the following year. More fresh faces and way more drama!

  • tony (ty) carson big island

    Is The ASP and zoosea starting off the year with a cover up? The new ASP and zoosea recently contacted Lewis Samuels, they then “hired and payed” Lewis Samuels to rank and evaluate the top 34 surfers. After the ASP read Samuels’ Rankings comments and seemingly approved of them, they posted the comments on the ASP website for 3 days. Then low and behold the Ranking comments and all related Facebook and Tweeter posts disappeared. A mystery? Who deleted them and why? The most likely scenario at this point is that some of the pros weren’t happy with some of the comments, they then contacted their media controlling sponsors who then contacted the new ASP, and then put pressure on the ASP and zoosea to delete the comments. Hurley (owned by Nike) and Quicksilver sponsor more than half of the pros whose rankings were deleted. Did Nike (Hurley) and Quicksilver put pressure on the ASP tp delete the ranking comments? . No one at the ASP or zoosea is talking at this point, maybe hoping it will just blow over. Can the new ASP and zoosea be influenced this easily by outside forces? If so, can they be trusted and where is their integrity?

    • Eric

      No mystery here…some of the surfers on tour (as well as just about every fan reading them) thought the power rankings were funny, and motivational. After the ASP contracted Samuels, who had been fired from SURFLINE for the same critiques, more surfers on tour took offense to the post, so the website took them down. You have to respect guys like CJ, who find humor and motivation in the rankings. These guys are pro surfers, not curing cancer. Lewis Samuels is wry, scathing, and ridiculously funny as a writer. Some people are just too sensitive.

  • tony (ty) carson big island

    To see Samuels’s ASP Rankings evaluations that the ASP posted on their website for 3 days (the ASP also deleted all related Facebook and Twitter posts) click on this link >< then scroll down to see the deleted ASP Ranking comments the ASP is now tring to hide from you.. Peace…

  • Stu Azole

    All that’s nice, but here’s the rub: same product, same sport, same boring heats with 29 minutes of downtime and 1 minute of surfing. Oh, and same 30,000 fans watching. End result will be the same for ZoSea-run tour.