This year’s World Surf League championship tour has seen a number of dramatic shifts – presumably due, at least in part, to the leadership of the League’s new CEO, Sophie Goldschmidt. Among them, a few major changes in the schedule (Lowers and Fiji are out, Keramas and Surf Ranch are in), and the addition of a national team-based exhibition event called the Founders’ Cup at the Surf Ranch in May (tickets on sale now). If rumors are to be believed, 2018’s shakeups are soon to become 2019’s earthquake, but let’s focus on 2018, shall we?
On Sunday, the League announced it had inked a “unique partnership” deal with Hurley for the remainder of the year, “collaborating on five of the 11 scheduled events to help enrich the surf-fan experience,” according to a press release. What does that mean, exactly? Namely, an expansion of the “Hurley Surf Club” experience to five of this year’s eleven contests and being named the presenting sponsor of two events – no doubt this is the WSL’s attempt to compensate Hurley for losing Trestles – the event for which Hurley was the title sponsor.
“Inspired by the energy created at last year’s Hurley Pro at Trestles, where the region’s up-and-coming surfers received free video coaching, tested new equipment and hung out with the world’s best surfers on site, the WSL and Hurley plan to expand the ‘Hurley Surf Club’ concept to other key global surf communities,” explains the release.
It goes on: “Beginning with the Margaret River Pro April 11 – 22, the Hurley Surf Club activation will include an event-site hang-out with a premium view of the live action, outreach to local surf clubs and teams, free video sessions with legends like Rabbit Bartholomew, access to competing Hurley athletes and a give-back component in the surrounding area of each venue. In addition, former WSL Championship Tour surfers like Rob Machado, Brett Simpson, and Yadin Nicol will be on hand to pass on knowledge and make sure the Hurley Surf Club experience is unforgettable.”
“The Hurley Surf Club will be a great opportunity to make our Championship Tour events even more special for young surfers around the world,” said Sophie Goldschmidt, WSL chief executive officer. “Through Hurley providing exclusive access to the pro surfers and legends, we aim to inspire the next generation of surfers.”
Hurley will, according to the WSL, have Hurley Surf Club activations at Margaret River, Rio, Keramas, Tahiti, and the Surf Ranch, and become the presenting sponsor of both Keramas and the Surf Ranch.
“At Hurley, we are always striving to create product and experiences that help people have more fun in and around the water. This is what our new partnership with the WSL is all about,” said Hurley Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Hurley. “Rather than sponsoring one event for a week or so during the year, we are excited to partner with the WSL in a bigger way throughout the year by helping young surfers around the world have fun, get better and make a positive impact in their community.”