COOLANGATTA, Queensland/Australia (Saturday, October 22, 2011) – ASP World Tour Manager and multi-decade veteran of the the ASP Renato Hickel has offered the the first three portions of his insights into the radical transitions that the sport has undergone in the past 24 months, and now we’re prepared for the fourth and final. Spawned in the ASP Board Meetings of October 2009, these transitions dealt specifically with the system for determining the world’s best surfers who would ultimately decide the undisputed ASP World Champion. In August of 2010, we reduced the number of elite-level surfers from 45 down to 34 and introduced the current 36-man event format. In December of 2010, we used a bridge qualifying criteria which took a select number of surfers directly off the ASP World Title rankings and another select number of surfers directly off the ASP World Rankings.
Commencing in 2011, this transition took full flight with the launching of the ASP World Rankings and the rolling 52-week determination of an individual surfer’s ranking. In August of this year, the ASP completed its first official rotation of the ASP Top 34 with newcomers Gabriel Medina (BRA), 17, Miguel Pupo (BRA), 19, John John Florence (HAW), 19, and Travis Logie (ZAF), 32, becoming full-fledged members of the ASP Top 34 beginning with the Hurley Pro at Trestles. The ASP Technical Committee, comprised of surfers, events and ASP administrators, has been monitoring the situation closely and will continue to do so. Renato Hickel was kind enough to offer his perspective on a number of questions that will be provided in segments and here’s the fourth and final one. This…is the story…
Overall ASP World Tour Appeal – Webcasting Audience/Numbers – Prime & Star:
It is undeniable. We now have a much more appealing overall package for the ASP World Tour. Webcasting numbers, worldwide, have increased dramatically in the past 18 months. This is due, in large part, to the changes made to the system – changes that not only created a more dynamic product but have also encouraged the level of surfing to reach unprecedented heights.
The hype is no longer for and around ASP World Title events, but also the revamped Prime and Star series. Never before has ASP experienced such big audiences at web level at Prime events – due to bigger attendance of Elite Top 34 surfers, better locations, infrastructure, prize purses, and, most importantly, the weight that Prime and 6-Star events have in determining those who make the Rotations. The fact that we are exchanging surfers mid-season brings excitement and expectations for the ASP World Tour as a whole, something which was very evident after the New York event going into Trestles.
Sure we can improve and the Technical Committee is keeping a close eye in all aspects of this new System and Format. If necessary, points and system structure can be adjust in the future, but for now we are pretty confident that the system is working and the best surfers comprise the Elite to deliver the best competition surf to the World.