Amid swirling rumours of a take over of the Association of Surf Professionals (ASP), the downgrading of the Billabong Pro in Jeffreys Bay may just be the tipping point that will cause the world’s top surfers to support such a take over bid.
According to Surfing Life, the ASP will be the subject of a take over bid at the US Open of Surfing which will be held later this month.
“I do know who’s involved but I honestly don’t know details,” said Kelly Slater, the most successful pro surfer of all time.
The ASP has been without a CEO for six months, since Brodie Carr resigned after taking responsibility for the world title miscalculation in San Francisco last year. And the tour has been looking increasingly vulnerable with its almost total reliance on the major surf brands, as those companies experience tough times.
Jeffreys Bay was the first casualty, downgraded from a World Championship Tour (WCT) event to a six star. The World Tour surfers are bitterly disappointed they don’t have an elite event at Jeffreys Bay, which may strengthen the mood for change.
It costs between $ 2,2 – $ 3 million to run a WCT event which means a lot of t-shirts need to be sold by the surf companies like Billabong who sponsor the events.
ASP Surfers’ Rep Keiren Perrow said the tour is vulnerable because of its dependence of the major surf brands. “I think it is. I’ve always thought that. I think it’s pretty well shared by every surfer on tour. I think they’ve been aware of that for a long time. I think it’s reached a feeling that the WCT is not going to fulfil it’s potential without some kind of letting go” said Perrow.
The ASP board meeting to be held in America in a few days time will be closely watched by the Jeffreys Bay community who have a vested interest in any decisions that get made. The Billabong Pro has brought huge exposure to the town over the years and many businesses rely on the cash injection it brings.