In 2019, the WSL (World Surfing League) will provide the same prize money to both male and female competitors, regardless of how many male or female competitors are competing.
This is their official announcement:
“The World Surf League (WSL) oversees men’s and women’s professional surfing around the globe across multiple disciplines and development tiers.
In recent years, the organization has instituted pay parity at the Championship Tour level and we are in the process of instituting across other disciplines. As we continue to steward and enhance professional surfing worldwide, our focus will be on elevating the development tiers in this area.
The issue raised with regards to the Billabong Ballito Pro Junior stemmed from a pay parity execution based on original 32-man and 16-woman fields. However, withdrawals from the men’s event left a 24-man field (withdrawals saw only 14 ultimately compete on the women’s side) and a subsequent pay disparity between the two events.
This is an important topic to us. Our sport features amazing women athletes who compete alongside their male counterparts. We are committed to providing a platform for the best surfers in the world, regardless of gender, and recognize that prizing is an important factor in creating that platform.”
In August, the WSL retracted their permit application for a competition to be held at the world famous Mavericks in northern California. The California State Lands Commission warned the WSL they would likely not approve their permit application to hold the competition unless the prize money for both the male and females competitors was the same.
The world of surf was waiting for some kind of follow up or press release in regards to their retraction of the permit application. Finally the WSL answered with their plans to change the pay parity in 2019.
Kelly Slater, the biggest name in surf history said this about the announcement, in The Players Tribune…
“The decision by the WSL is a message to society – that equal prize money should be the Standard” – Kelly Slater
Why aren’t other sport leagues taking equality more seriously?