The WSL has announced equal pay for men and women across all WSL controlled events in 2019 and beyond in conjunction with announcing the 2019 schedule.
CEO Sophie Goldschmidt made the announcement which makes it the first and only US based global sports league, and among the first internationally, to achieve prize money equality.
"This is a huge step forward in our long-planned strategy to elevate women's surfing and we are thrilled to make this commitment as we reveal our new 2019 schedule. This is the latest in a series of actions the League has undertaken to showcase our female athletes, from competing on the same quality waves as the men, to better locations, and increased investment and support," Goldschmidt said.
Goldschmidt continued, "This change is simply the right thing to do for the WSL and we would like to thank the many advocates who have worked for decades to help advance women's surfing. We want to be at the forefront of pushing for equality in all walks of life, starting on the waves, and we feel very lucky to have women on our tour who are highly talented, iconic role models, and more than deserve this recognition as they stand alongside our extraordinary male athletes."
The move has been lauded by surfers and celebrities around the world.
“Sport has the power to change the world” said Nelson Mandela. Setting the standard in equality, the WSL leads the way! pic.twitter.com/fG3fUmoL10— Stephanie Gilmore (@Steph_gilmore) September 6, 2018
Thanks to the @wsl for recognising that there shouldn’t be any pay gap or gender discrimination. @tylerwright and I now get equal prize money. Time for other sports to #catchthiswave and make the change pic.twitter.com/LEHIu0vlgp— Owen Wright (@RealOwenWright) September 5, 2018
Some news that got me pretty damn excited today - surfing has just become the first US-based sport to achieve gender pay equality. There's still a lot of work to do, but kudos to the @wsl for getting us one step closer! https://t.co/Hv4PJJ4GBp— Charlize Theron (@CharlizeAfrica) September 6, 2018
It’s an honor to take part supporting the @wsl in announcing prize money pay equality for men and women in surfing. It’s awesome that they’ve taken it upon themselves to step up and make this statement for the collective group. I’m convinced that men want to rule the world to try and impress women! But it’s easier and more flattering to start by treating them as our equals in the workplace. It’ll be interesting to hear people’s comments regarding the topic. I believe it’s a great precedent to set in sports and challenges what has been the norm. My brothers and I were raised predominantly by our mom on a small weekly paycheck so it’s refreshing to set an example as a sport for what should be the norm, and not the exception, in society. #CatchThisWave is the hashtag. Join in the conversation! ✌🏽🏄🏽♂️ • • • • After reading comments, people make a lot of valid but, frankly, redundant points about open markets. This isn’t a market dictating who gets paid more for selling goods. This is a choice by the owners of our tour to give equal prize money for equal commitment to the sport and respective careers. Good on ‘em for the gesture and support of the #WomenWhoShred. Maybe anyone who has a problem with it should have to surf against them for rights to an opinion?! 🤷🏽♂️��🏽��
The WSL continues to be one of the fastest-growing sports leagues globally, continually expanding its reach and fan base. WSL content and live coverage is now digitally available in every market and over 100 linear broadcasters now cover its events, including this week's groundbreaking competition at the human-made wave at Surf Ranch. Surfing has also been added to the roster for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, introducing the sport to new audiences.
In further support of its commitment to women's surfing, today the WSL also announces three initiatives which will launch in 2019:
- A global marketing campaign to highlight the women's tour as well as increase event viewership and fan engagement.
- An local community engagement program for girls around the world, featuring instructional clinics with WSL athletes at each women's Championship Tour stop to inspire the next generation to embrace surfing.
- A monthly content series about the pioneering women of surfing, celebrating them across WSL channels, starting next week with seven-time World Champion Layne Beachley.
Check out the WSL 2019 CT Calendar here.
The World Surf League has continued to feature the world's best surfers on the world's best waves, creating inclusive, exciting, high-quality events enjoyed by millions of fans around the world. A key focus in recent years has been to increase the investment in women's surfing:
Combined men's and women's Championship Tour events have increased from four to nine.
Women's Championship Tour prize money has risen by 153% per event.
64 global women's events scheduled for 2019 - up from 14 just seven years ago.
The addition of two historic women's Big Wave Tour events in Pe'ahi and Mavericks.
Appointment of the WSL's first female CEO in 2017.
Development of the co-ed, region vs. region Founders' Cup, with multiple teams lead by female captains.
*WSL investment timeline in women's surfing to date:
2013: Eight Women's Championship Tour events. The WSL now invests in 10. Includes world-class venues Jeffreys Bay, Fiji (now Bali), Trestles (now Surf Ranch) and Maui.
Since 2013: Prize money per event for the women on the CT has increased by 153%.
2014: The WSL institutes pay parity for the men's and women's Championship Tour (CT) - all surfers, men and women, earn the same average prize money per surfer.
2016: Women compete in the Big Wave Tour at Pe'ahi for the very first time.
2017: The WSL appoints its first female CEO, Sophie Goldschmidt.
2018: The WSL execute world-first co-ed, region vs. region Founders' Cup.
2018: Two Big Wave Tour (BWT) events scheduled for women: Pe'ahi and Mavericks.
2019: Full prize money equality covering the Championship Tour, the Longboard Tour, the World Junior Championships and the Big Wave Tour starting on October 1st, 2018 (to March 2019).
Future: Working with event partners, the institution of equal prize money across all non-WSL-controlled Qualifying Series (QS) and Pro Junior events).