WSL vs ASP who ran surfing better ? March 17, 2024

WSL vs ASP who ran surfing better ? It seems that everybody loves to have a go at the WSL. All sorts of different things online. It’s like pro football, or as Bobby Martinez famously said “It’s like a dumb fuckin tennis tour”. Admittedly, it was still ASP at that point, but there was definitely change in the air around that time.

A quick back story – 

In 2013 company Zosea acquired the Association of Surfing professionals ASP. By the start of the 2015 season, the WSL World Surf League was formed & in charge. Surfing is essentially a minority, that are generally extremely passionate about the sport. Criticism for any governing body is going to be rife, as it comes with the territory with surfing it would seem.


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So what is different – 

It’s funny, because I guess from an outsider looking in, it might not look like much has changed. The comps are still similar, but the nuances speak for a lot when you have a passionate bunch that are loud about their chosen sport. A lot is different though & whether it is good or bad, is arguably down to opinion.

The ASP in the mid to late 90’s hatched the Dream Tour which was a main focus on perfect waves around the world. Basically to get the best surfer, in the best waves at the end of the year. Leaving no argument for who is the best in the world & deserving of the title, “world champion”.

Since then with the inception of the WSL, fans tend to believe that the whole league is pointed towards the fans more so than the surfers. They also believe that the surfers have no character compared to the old days. Again, all opinions.

Who ran it better – 

Because everyone has one. In my opinion, the ASP & the surf brands back then had a romance about them as did the industry as a whole. It seems now that the WSL is detached from the rest of the surfing world. Which I think is a shame. But that being said, life progresses & so do sports & businesses as it is the only way to survive.

The WSL have done it the best way they see it & in part have done a good job. The industry has dipped with the clothing labels etc losing touch with the markets that built them. The WSL has to deal with that among other challenges that weren’t seemingly there when the ASP held the reigns.


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Summary – 

It’s too hard to say who actually did it better, but I think the terrain was easier to navigate in the ASP days. Perhaps it had something to do with the ASP basically being Quiksilver, Rip Curl & Billabong. Those days are long gone. I also remember plenty of people taking shots at the ASP back in those days, so the criticism is nothing new. There is still great surfers & a league spending money to do it, so as surfers we should be thankful for that.

We have done plenty of posts on our insta about this topic, feel free to comment here or head over there to have your say! We would love to talk boards with you also so for whatever reason, get in touch! The video attached is of the 2005 Dream Tour ASP. Some say the best year in pro surfing history.