Equal Prize Money Introduced for Male and Female Surfers
At the start of next year, all elite surfing tour events will already have equal prize money for both male and female surfers according to the World Surf League. This includes events like the Championship Tour, the Junior World Championships, the Longboard Tour and the Big Wave Tour.
This decision was made three months after the organization came under fire for doubling the prize money of the male winner of a junior competition. The disparity in prizes can also be seen clearly in this year’s WSL Championship tour where men’s events gets a $607,800 budget while women’s events get only $303,900.
With this announcement, the World Surf League has set the standards for other sports to follow and is proud to be the first American-based global sports league to push gender pay equality. This is part of the organization’s efforts in promoting women’s surfing all over the world. “It’s a natural step for us, it’s been a part of a long journey where we’ve continued to invest and increase our support of women’s surfing,” WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt said.
Aside from the equal prize money, WSL is also pushing for more surfing events for women in bigger arenas. For instance, women’s events were added to the Big Wave Tour in 2016 and there are now ten events for women in the Championship Tour from only eight in the past years.
For six-time world champion and world number one female surfer Stephanie Gilmore, this is a huge step for women surfers around the world, as it doesn’t only encourage female surfers to compete but also give them the reward that they deserve. “The prize money is fantastic, but the message means even more,” she said.
11-time men’s surfing champion Kelly Slater agrees.
He said: “The female SWL athletes are equally committed to their craft as the male athletes and should be paid the same.”
From breaking huge waves to breaking gender gaps in prizes, the World Surf League has definitely changed the landscape of sports and has set the stage for other sports organizations to take the same leap to promote gender equality.