April 2, 2018. The list of people that have contributed to the development of professional surfing is long and filled with legends. Still involved today are guys who have been surfing since before it was considered a sport. The foundation these guys started so many years ago has transcended into what professional surfing is today. Now, the WSL is holding a historical surf contest and in doing so are celebrating those who influenced our sport to bring it to this point. The Founders’ Cup of Surfing held at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch will be a landmark event on the World Tour. Some of these celebrated iconic surfers are weighing in on the event and what it means to professional surfing today.
Fred Hemmings (HAW): 1968 World Champion, IPS Co-Founder
Randy Rarick (HAW): IPS Co-Founder, Triple Crown of Surfing Co-Founder
Peter Townend (AUS): 1976 World Champion, Founding Member of APSA
Shaun Tomson (ZAF): 1977 World Champion
Wayne Bartholomew (AUS): 1978 World Champion, Dream Tour Architect
Mark Richards (AUS): Four-Time World Champion (1979 – 1982)
Ian Cairns (AUS): Co-Founder of APSA, Smirnoff and Duke Winner, ASP Architect
The event is the first recognized professional surfing competition in a wave pool which produces visually and functionally perfect waves. The WSL is proud to call it after those that have been crucial in the development of professional surfing.
“Surfing is steeped in an impressive amount of history and heritage,” said Sophie Goldschmidt, WSL CEO. “These seven individuals were instrumental to organizing professional surfing from its infancy through to where it is today and we’re very excited to celebrate their ongoing vital relationships with the sport and culture of surfing.”
The overall word from these guys is excitement and optimism for moving professional surfing into new realms. Bringing pro surfing into uncharted territory is exciting and could open up other avenues of competition.
“I think the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch is groundbreaking, they’ve developed a magical perfect wave and while you can never replace the challenge of nature’s surf, to me it’s just another challenge as a surfer to catch some waves there and try to rip it,” Peter Townend said. “It’s another great surf spot/location and I surely haven’t heard too many say they don’t want the chance to surf it.”
The surfers will be competing on teams determined by country. This completely shakes up the environment of normal professional surfing and World Tour events. The competition will also showcase a not-so-unlikely style to that which we may see in Olympic Surfing structure.
“Surfing for your country is really a cool experience and having a team to support is different and engaging for an athlete in an individual sport,” Ian Cairns said. “It also strengthens the bond between the male and female team members…both the men and the women have to win to help the team win. That is such a cool thing and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the teams perform in May.”
“I have always advocated a ‘Davis Cup’ style event and I applaud WSL for combining the worlds’ best men and women in the one event,” Wayne Bartholomew said. “The line-up of superstars is mindblowing!”
“Professional surfing has grown beyond my expectation,” Fred Hemmings said. “I believe the next big step in the evolution of professional surfing will come about because of wave generation technology such as Kelly Slater‘s wave ranch.”