The Association of Surfing Professionals will introduce drug testing of athletes from next year.
The decision was made at an ASP board meeting in San Francisco yesterday.
Drugs have been a presence in surfing ever since the world’s best surfers embraced the drop-out counterculture of the 1960s, creating a schism about whether surfing is a competitive or creative pursuit.
Many great surfers died or failed to achieve their potential as a result. Last year, one of the greatest surfers ever, three times world champion Andy Irons, died alone in a hotel room with a cocktail of drugs in his veins, days after prematurely withdrawing form a contest in Puerto Rico.
The ASP has denied having any knowledge of Irons’ drug problem, despite it being the worst kept secret int he sport.
The most recent board meeting has finally decided to test competitors from next year.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Hawaiian event representative Randy Rarick. Details are vague, but the testing is expected to be in place for the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast, the first event for 2012.
At the same meeting, ASP CEO Brodie Carr resigned over the Kelly Slater world-title announcement debacle last week.
Slater was wrongly awarded the 2011 surfing world title after round three of the Rip Curl Pro in San Francisco last week. He was correctly given the trophy a few days later, after round four.
Rarick said Carr wasn’t the only person to offer to resign.