Although there are only two scheduled events on the 2011 ASP Women’s Longboard World Tour, current World Champion Cori Shumacher does not plan to compete in either of them. In a statement to the ASP, Schumacher says that she takes political and moral issue with participating in the Tour’s second contest located in Hainan Island, China.
Schumacher stated the following in an email to ASP administrators:
“I have deep political and personal reservations with being a part of any sort of benefit to a country that actively engages in human rights violations, specifically those in violation of women. The ASP’s reconnoissance (sic) of possible sites in China for events last year and its first ASP event in China followed an important US congressional hearing on China’s “One Child Policy”, a policy sanctioned by the Chinese government that is implicated in gendercide, sexual slavery, forced sterilization and forced abortions. (http://www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/index.php?nav=congressional)
The ASP is the recognized “governing body of surfing”, an entity that expresses and represents surfing’s highest aspirations and goals. That the ASP is colluding with a government that actively engages in human rights violations and crimes against humanity is profoundly disturbing to me. That the first event of consequence to be held in China is a WLT, women’s world championship deciding event is equally, if not more, disturbing to me personally. I do not believe that the ASP and the surf industry exist in some apolitical vacuum in this situation.
It is with a heavy heart that I must tell you that I am morally obligated to pass on this year’s WLT events. I have no doubt that my peers will represent the beauty and grace of women’s longboarding in these events, and I wish them the best of luck.”
ASP CEO Brodie Carr responded to Schumacher’s concerns with the following email:
This event is an opportunity for female longboarders to be ambassadors of goodwill in a land that seldom afforded role models of this kind. In my humble opinion, I believe you can do so much more good by going there and inspiring the people of this country than by protesting.
Over the past two years both the ASP and the Women Longboarders have worked hard towards a better tomorrow for this beautiful sport and we’re on the verge of making our first major headway in this area. As reigning ASP Women’s World Champion, and an icon to female athletes around the world, we would love to have your support on this and for you to attend.
Despite Carr’s appeal, Schumacher remains resolved in her stand.
“I think that what I, and other female longboarders, are being asked here to be are “goodwill ambassadors” of the most naive kind. The kind that allows business to overlay their desires, branding and business ethics atop their own individuality and ethics…As a business, I understand the ASP is just as much in peril of economic disruption as the rest of us. We are all struggling to make our bills, pay our rent and feed our families. But if it is at the cost of someone else’s human rights, I would rather go without.”