World Surf League

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World Surf League
World Surf League Logo.png
Sport Professional Surfing
Founded 1982
Location Santa Monica, CA, United States
Official website

The World Surf League (WSL) is the governing body for professional surfers and is dedicated to showcasing the world’s best talent in a variety of progressive formats.[1] It was known as the Association of Surfing Professionals from 1983 to 2014.

In 2013, the ASP was acquired by ZoSea, backed by Paul Speaker, Terry Hardy, and Dirk Ziff.[2] At the start of the 2015 season, the ASP changed its name to the World Surf League (WSL).[3]


Predecessors to the WSL[edit]

  • 1964 to 1972, International Surfing Federation (ISF) held the World Surfing Championships as a single event every two years and was open to all comers.
  • 1973 to 1975, Smirnoff World Pro-Am Surfing Championships, occasionally referred to as the de facto professional world championship because the International Surfing Federation had been unable to establish a format or sponsorship so no official amateur championships were held between 1973 and 1975.
  • 1976 to 1982, International Professional Surfers (IPS) was the original world governing body of professional surfing.

The predecessors of the ASP relates to what organization predominantly represented individual professional surfers at that time. This is an important point because the International Surfing Federation (ISF) still functions to this day as the International Surfing Association (ISA) and also refers to competition winners as world champions (or variants thereof).[4][5]

Creation of the WSL[edit]

Ian Cairns watched the demise of the IPS commence throughout 1982 and saw an opportunity. In January 1983, Cairns launched the ASP and lured the world circuit organizers to the new organization, which effectively pushed aside the IPS who were left to operate only the Hawaiian pro events. By December 1984, the ASP had sanctioned the IPS controlled Pipeline Masters as a specialty event available to ASP members to enter for the first time.[6] The ASP has remained the predominant surfing organization and sanctioning body for professional surfers since its formation.

The ASP's first world champions were Tom Carroll (men's) and Kim Mearig (women's) in 1983.

ASP Membership[edit]

Membership to the ASP is only available to individuals.[7]

ASP Sanctioned Tours[edit]

  • ASP World Tour (consisting of ASP World Title Race, ASP PRIME and ASP Star events);
  • ASP Women’s World Tour (consisting of ASP World Title Race and ASP Star events);
  • ASP World Longboard Tour
  • ASP Women’s World Longboard Tour and
  • ASP World Junior Tour.[1][8]
  • ASP World Big Wave Tour
  • World Surf League = 2015

ASP World Title Race[edit]

The ASP World Title Race is used to determine the ASP World Title and the ASP Women’s World Title. The winner is referred to as the ASP World Tour Champion.[9]

In 2012, the ASP World Title is given to the surfer with the most accumulated points from their respective best 8 results from the 10 ASP World Tour events (ASP Prime and Star events excluded).[8][10]

In 2012, the ASP Women’s World Title is given to the surfer with the most accumulated points from their respective best 6 results from the 7 ASP Women’s World Tour events (ASP Star Events excluded).[8]

ASP World Tour & ASP Women's World Tour[edit]

The ASP World Tour is the men's elite competition consisting of the best 34 professional surfers competing in 11 events (as of 2014).[8][11]

The ASP Women's World Tour is the women's elite competition consisting of the best 17 professional surfers competing in 10 events (as of 2014).[8][11]

Event results are converted to points and count towards the ASP World Title Race and the ultimate prize of being called the ASP World Tour Champion.

ASP Prime & ASP Star events[edit]

An ASP Prime event is held at premium venues with a restricted field and offers Prime ASP World Rankings points.[8]

An ASP Star event is a lower level of competition, compared to an ASP Prime event, with their importance indicated by how many stars they are assigned: more stars means generally better competition and prize money.[8]

ASP World Ranking[edit]

ASP World Tour and ASP Women's World Tour surfers accumulate points from each ASP World Tour, ASP Prime (ASP World Tour only) and ASP Star event they compete in which count towards their ASP World Ranking. Accumulated points are valid for 12 months from the final date of the scheduled event in which they were earned.[8]

Promotion & Relegation[edit]

ASP World Ranking determines the promotion or relegation of surfers.

2012 Tours[edit]

The qualifiers for the 2012 ASP World Tour top 34 surfers was determined using a Rotation Points system.[8]

The qualifiers for the 2012 ASP Women's World Tour was determined by a surfer's rank at the conclusion of the 2011 Tour. The top 10 re-qualified for 2012 and the remaining 7 places were taken from the ASP Star Ranking.[8]

2013 Tours[edit]

The qualifiers for the 2013 ASP World Tour top 34 surfers will consist of:

  • Top 22 surfers from 2012 ASP World Title Rankings;
  • Top 10 surfers from 2012 ASP World Rankings (those who haven’t already qualified in the above) and
  • 2 ASP wildcards.




In contests surfers will be scored on a scale of 0.1 to 10.0, these scores will be broken up into increments of one-tenth. The following scale can be used to relate descriptions with the score:

  • 0–1.9 = Poor
  • 2.0–3.9 = Fair
  • 4.0–5.9 = Average;
  • 6.0–7.9 = Good
  • 8.0–10.0 = Excellent

Judging criteria[edit]

Judges will base the previous score on how successfully surfers display these following elements in each wave:

  • Commitment and degree of difficulty
  • Innovative and progressive maneuvers
  • Combination of major maneuvers
  • Variety of maneuvers
  • Speed, power and flow

These elements may be weighted differently from day to day and event to event, depending upon on the surfing conditions and the type of breaking wave at each event location. This criterion is different from in longboarding competitions. All of this is focused on creating some type consistency that can be seen throughout the many different events.[12]

The events themselves are previously declared 1-6 star events; among other things this ranking shows what numbers of judges which are required at the event. A 1-3 star events are required to have a six judge panel with four judges on each heat. A 4-6 Star event requires seven judges with five of those judges on each heat. At 5-6 star events and prime events there is only allowed to be 3 judges from any one region. This is then limited to two at any world title events. All events also require an ASP approved head judge who has the ability to make corrections to errors or any other events that may have affected the results.[13]


There are many rules out in the water that all revolve around the idea of right of way. A surfer has the right of way if he or she is closer to the area where the wave is breaking, this is more commonly referred to as having the inside position. If another surfer takes off in front of the surfer that has the inside position, then interference will be called, and penalties will be enacted. In most circumstances it does not matter who stood up first but who has the inside position.[13]

A surfer can also be found guilty of interference if they catch more than their maximum amount of waves in a heat and that this takes away from the other competitors ability to catch waves. A competitor is also not allowed to interfere with another competitor’s paddling and maneuvering for a wave.[13]

The rules of right of way vary slightly with the type of break. Point Breaks will always have a consistent direct of what is inside, that is, the person further up the line will have right of way. In a single peak situation where there is both a left and a right two people are able to be on the wave at the same time, provided that one goes left and one goes right and that neither crosses the path of the other to go one direction. If this does happen then, the surfer who stood up first will get the right of way. On a multi-peaked wave where the wave eventually comes together, both peaks can be surfed until the surfers come together. When they do the surfer who stood up first has right of way, and the other must maneuver to get off the wave without interrupting the other surfer.[13]

In a one-on-one competition, priority can be declared by the Head Judge. Once the person with priority has paddled for a wave priority is then turned over to the next person until that person does the same. The person with second priority can paddle for waves as long as it does not interfere with the other person who will lose their priority only if they catch a wave.[13]

A surfer who has already taken off or obtained possession of a wave maintains this position until the end of their ride. If another surfer takes off on the inside of this surfer, then this person does not obtain priority and is considered to be snaking. If this surfer does not hurt the other surfers ride, then both people can be scored based. If the judges determine that the snaking did interfere then the person will be penalized. Interference penalties are called by the judges and must have a majority to be declared an actual penalty. Interference are shown as triangles on the score cards in various different ways depending on when or where in the heat they were made. If three or more waves are being scored than one wave will be dropped off the score card. If only the top two waves are being scored, then 50% of the second best-scored wave will be taken off. If a surfer has more than one then 50% of the best waves score will be taken off also. The surfer who has been interfered with will be allowed an additional wave to their maximum as long as it is within the time limit. If a surfer interferes more than twice in a heat then they must leave the competition area.[13]

ASP World Tour Champions[edit]


Year ASP World Tour[14][15] ASP Women's World Tour[15][16]
Name Points Name Points
2014  Gabriel Medina (BRA) 62,800  Stephanie Gilmore[6] (AUS) 64,200
2013  Mick Fanning[3] (AUS) 54,400  Carissa Moore[2] (HAW) 59,500
2012  Joel Parkinson (AUS) 58,700  Stephanie Gilmore[5] (AUS) 48,400
2011  Kelly Slater[11] (USA) 68,100  Carissa Moore (HAW) 55,000
2010  Kelly Slater[10] (USA) 69,000  Stephanie Gilmore[4] (AUS) 7,284
2009  Mick Fanning [2] (AUS) 7,140  Stephanie Gilmore[3] (AUS) 6,169
2008  Kelly Slater[9] (USA) 8,042  Stephanie Gilmore[2] (AUS) 7,188
2007  Mick Fanning (AUS) 8,136  Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 6,708
2006  Kelly Slater [8] (USA) 8,124  Layne Beachley[7] (AUS) 6,374
2005  Kelly Slater [7] (USA) 7,962  Chelsea Georgeson (AUS) 7,080
2004  Andy Irons [3] (HAW) 7,824  Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 5,484
2003  Andy Irons [2] (HAW) 8,964  Layne Beachley [6] (AUS) 3,696
2002  Andy Irons (HAW) 8,102  Layne Beachley [5] (AUS) 3,200
2001  C. J. Hobgood (USA) 3,094  Layne Beachley [4] (AUS) 1,760
2000  Sunny Garcia (HAW) 7,270  Layne Beachley [3] (AUS) 5,730
1999  Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 7,120  Layne Beachley [2] (AUS) 8,080
1998  Kelly Slater [6] (USA) 6,398  Layne Beachley (AUS) 7,920
1997  Kelly Slater [5] (USA) 8,260  Lisa Andersen[4] (USA) 8,520
1996  Kelly Slater [4] (USA) 9,540  Lisa Andersen[3] (USA) 12,750
1995  Kelly Slater [3] (USA) 6,040  Lisa Andersen [2] (USA) 12,920
1994  Kelly Slater [2] (USA) 6,660  Lisa Andersen (USA) 7,650
1993  Derek Ho (HAW) 5,510  Pauline Menczer (AUS) 7,080
1992  Kelly Slater (USA) 7,765  Wendy Botha [4] (AUS) 10,205
1991  Damien Hardman [2] (AUS) 12,854  Wendy Botha [3] (AUS) 7,424
1990  Tom Curren [3] (USA) 17,612  Pam Burridge (AUS) 14,440
1989  Martin Potter (UK) 20,665  Wendy Botha [2] (AUS) 14,380
1988  Barton Lynch (AUS) 17,475  Freida Zamba [4] (USA) 7,960
1987/88  Damien Hardman (AUS) 13,690  Wendy Botha (RSA) 8,220
1986/87  Tom Curren [2] (USA) 13,115  Freida Zamba [3] (USA) 9,230
1985/86  Tom Curren (USA) 11,490  Freida Zamba [2] (USA) 5,320
1984/85  Tom Carroll[2] (AUS) 9,460.38  Freida Zamba (USA) 3,400
1983/84  Tom Carroll (AUS) 6,830  Kim Mearig (USA) 3,125
IPS World Circuit
1982  Mark Richards [5] (AUS) 6,917  Debbie Beacham (USA) 3,059.14
1981  Mark Richards [4] (AUS) 6,211.52  Margo Oberg[3] (HAW) 3,850
1980  Mark Richards [3] (AUS) 6,890  Margo Oberg [2] (HAW) 2,000
1979  Mark Richards [2] (AUS) 6,781.14  Lynn Boyer[2] (HAW) 3,722.50
1978  Wayne Bartholomew (AUS) 5,749.25  Lynn Boyer (HAW) 3,986.14
1977  Shaun Tomson (RSA) 5,948.3  Margo Oberg (HAW) 4,850
1976  Peter Townend (AUS) 5,593
Smirnoff World Pro-Am Surfing Championships
1975  Mark Richards (AUS)
1974  Reno Abellira (USA)
1973  Ian Cairns (AUS)
ISF World Surfing Championships
1972 - San Diego, USA  James Blears (USA)  Sharon Webber (USA)
1970 - Torquay / Lorne / Johanna, AUS  Rolf Aurness (USA)  Sharon Webber (USA)
1968 - Rincon, Puerto Rico, PR  Fred Hemmings (USA)  Margo Godfrey (USA)
1966 - San Diego, USA  Nat Young (AUS)  Joyce Hoffman (USA)
1965 - Punta Rocas, Peru  Felipe Pomar (PER)  Joyce Hoffman (USA)
1964 - Manly, AUS  Midget Farrelly (AUS)  Phyllis O'Donnell (AUS)

ASP World Longboard Tour Champions[edit]

Source [17]

Year ASP World Longboard Tour[8][15][11][18] ASP Women’s World Longboard Tour[8][15][11][18]
Name Points Name Points
2014  Harley Ingleby[2] (AUS) -  Chelsea Williams (AUS) -
2013  Piccolo Clemente (PER) -  Kelia Moniz[2] (HAW) -
2012  Taylor Jensen[2] (USA) -  Kelia Moniz (HAW) -
2011  Taylor Jensen (USA) 16,000  Lindsay Steinriede (USA) 15,200
2010  Duane DeSoto (HAW)  Cori Schumacher[2] (USA)
2009  Harley Ingleby (AUS)  Jennifer Smith[2] (USA)
2008  Bonga Perkins (HAW)  Joy Monahan (HAW)
2007  Phil Rajzman (BRA)  Jennifer Smith (USA)
2006  Josh Constable (AUS)  Schuyler McFerran (USA)
2005 Cancelled cross.svg Cancelled  Kristy Murphy (USA)
2004  Joel Tudor [2] (USA)  Summer Romero (USA)
2003  Beau Young [2] (AUS)  Daize Shayne[2] (USA)
2002  Colin McPhillips [3] (USA)  Kim Hamrock (USA)
2001  Colin McPhillips [2] (USA)  Cori Schumacher [2] (USA)
2000  Beau Young (AUS)  Cori Schumacher (USA)
1999  Colin McPhillips (USA)  Daize Shayne (USA)
1998  Joel Tudor (USA)
1997  Dino Miranda (HAW)
1996  Bonga Perkins (HAW)
1995  Rusty Keaulana [3] (HAW)
1994  Rusty Keaulana [2] (HAW)
1993  Rusty Keaulana (HAW)
1992  Joey Hawkins (USA)
1991  Martin McMillan (AUS)
1990  Nat Young [4] (AUS)
1989  Nat Young [3] (AUS)
1988  Nat Young [2] (AUS)
1987/88  Stuart Entwistle (AUS)
1986/87  Nat Young (AUS)

Multiple World Championships[edit]


Surfer Gender World Tour(WCT)
(Men & Women)
Junior (WJC)
(Boys & Girls)
Longboard (WLT)
(Men & Women)
Masters Grandmasters Total
 Kelly Slater (USA) Male 11 - - - - 11
 Layne Beachley (AUS) Female 7 - - - - 7
 Mark Richards (AUS) Male 5 - - - 1 6
 Nat Young (AUS) Male 1 - 4 - - 5
 Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) Female 6 - - - - 6
 Lisa Andersen (USA) Female 4 - - - - 4
Flag of South Africa.svg Flag of Australia.svg Wendy Botha (RSA) (AUS) Female 4 - - - - 4
 Freida Zamba (USA) Female 4 - - - - 4
 Andy Irons (HAW) Male 3 1 - - - 4
 Margo Oberg (HAW) Female 3 - - - - 3
 Tom Curren (USA) Male 3 - - - - 3
 Wayne Bartholomew (AUS) Male 1 - - - 2 3
 Colin McPhillips (USA) Male - - 3 - - 3
 Rusty Keaulana (HAW) Male - - 3 - - 3
 Gary Elkerton (AUS) Male - - - 3 - 3
 Mick Fanning (AUS) Male 3 - - - - 3
 Lynne Boyer (HAW) Female 2 - - - - 2
 Damian Hardman (AUS) Male 2 - - - - 2
 Tom Carroll (AUS) Male 2 - - - - 2
 Joel Tudor (USA) Male - - 2 - - 2
 Beau Young (AUS) Male - - 2 - - 2
 Jennifer Smith (USA) Female - - 2 - - 2
 Joel Parkinson (AUS) Male 1 2 - - - 3
 Pablo Paulino (BRA) Male - 2 - - - 2
 Bonga Perkins (HAW) Male - - 2 - - 2
 Carissa Moore (HAW) Female 2 - - - - 2

Qualifier for list is to hold a minimum of 2 world championship titles across the categories.[11]

Calculations include world championship titles outside of the ASP as discussed in Predecessors to the ASP section.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Association of Surfing Professionals, Frequently Asked Questions, What is the ASP?". Retrieved 27 April 2011. [dead link]
  2. ^ Doherty, Sean (July 2013). "How Pro Surfing Was Sold". SURFER Magazine. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  3. ^ ASP Announces World Surf League: Letter from CEO, 12 September 2014 (accessed 28 November 2014)
  4. ^ ISA About . Retrieved 28 April 2011.[dead link]
  5. ^ ISA World Gold Medalists . Retrieved 28 April 2011.[dead link]
  6. ^ Good Waves, Bad Waves, Perfect Waves: A Timeline of the ASP, 16 February 2007 . Retrieved 27 April 2011.[dead link]
  7. ^ ASP Member Management System (accessed 28 April 2011)[dead link]
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l ASP Rulebook . Retrieved 30 April 2011.[dead link]
  9. ^ ASP World Title Ranking (accessed 29 April 2011)[dead link]
  10. ^ Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay Downgrades from ASP World Title to ASP 6-Star for 2012 (accessed 28 February 2012)[dead link]
  11. ^ a b c d e ASP World Tour Champions . Retrieved 29 April 2011.[dead link]
  12. ^ "Judging Criteria". ASP World Tour. Retrieved 2012-04-21. [dead link]
  13. ^ a b c d e f ASP Rule Book 2012
  14. ^ ASP World Tour Top 16 Statistics: 1976–2009 . Retrieved 29 April 2011.[dead link]
  15. ^ a b c d ASP Awards Statistics: 1983–2009 . Retrieved 29 April 2011.[dead link]
  16. ^ ASP Women's World Tour Top 16 Statistics: 1977–2009 . Retrieved 29 April 2011.[dead link]
  17. ^
  18. ^ a b Longboard Event Champions[dead link]
  19. ^ "ISA Member Directory". International Surfing Association. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 

External links[edit]