This is a historic day for women’s surfing and women’s sport in general
Same sports. Same wages.
Read the WSL press release.
Today the WSL announced that for all events that it controls, from 2019 both male and female athletes will receive equal pay. This historic announcement marks the World Surf League as the first and only US-based global sports league to offer equal prize money and among the first internationally.
With over 180 global events. All of these competitions will see equal pay regardless of gender. While the WQS events are sanctioned by the WSL, they are not necessarily controlled by the league. And it is the WQS where this equal pay is seen the most as noted in the recent junior women’s surf event in The Ballito Pro in South Africa, that made international headlines. The goal over the next couple of years to achieve pay equality in the Qualifying Series as well.
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 our new 2019 schedule. This is the latest in a series of actions the League has undertaken to showcase our female athletes, from competing on the same quality waves as the men, to better locations, and increased investment and support.
This change is simply the right thing to do for the WSL and we would like to thank the many advocates who have worked for decades to help advance women’s surfing. We want to be at the forefront of pushing for equality in all walks of life, starting on the waves, and we feel very lucky to have women on our tour who are highly talented, iconic role models, and more than deserve this recognition as they stand alongside our extraordinary male athletes.
– WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt
This is incredible, and I am thrilled. The prize money is fantastic, but the message means even more. From the moment current ownership became involved, the situation for the women surfers has been transformed for the better in every way. We have been so appreciative, but this takes it to another level. I hope this serves as a model for other sports, global organizations and society as a whole. My fellow women athletes and I are honored by the confidence in us, and inspired to reward this decision with ever higher levels of surfing.
– 6x World Champion Stephanie Gilmore
The women on the tour deserve this change. I’m so proud that surfing is choosing to lead sports in equality and fairness. The female WSL athletes are equally committed to their craft as the male athletes and should be paid the same. Surfing has always been a pioneering sport, and this serves as an example of that
– 11x World Champion Kelly Slater
The WSL continues to be one of the fastest-growing sports leagues globally, continually expanding its reach and fan base. WSL content and live coverage is now digitally available in every market and over 100 linear broadcasters now cover its events, including this week’s groundbreaking competition at the human-made wave at Surf Ranch. Surfing has also been added to the roster for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, introducing the sport to new audiences.
In further support of its commitment to women’s surfing, today the WSL also announces three initiatives which will launch in 2019:
- A global marketing campaign to highlight the women’s tour as well as increase event viewership and fan engagement.
- An local community engagement program for girls around the world, featuring instructional clinics with WSL athletes at each women’s Championship Tour stop to inspire the next generation to embrace surfing.
- A monthly content series about the pioneering women of surfing, celebrating them across WSL channels, starting next week with seven-time World Champion Layne Beachley.