On Wednesday, July 27, the World Surf League announced that, for the first time, the Longboard Tour will be run by two women. Kirra Seale will oversee the Longboard Tour, and Tory Gilkerson will be the Longboard Head Judge.
“I am proud to welcome two great leaders to the forefront of longboarding in Kirra Seale as the Senior Manager of the Longboard Tour and Tory Gilkerson as Longboard Head Judge,” said Jessi Miley-Dyer, WSL SVP of Tours and Head of Competition, in a press release. “This is an exciting chapter for longboarding, and I am confident in these two women at the helm. I look forward to working with Tory and Kirra to continue to develop and grow WSL’s Longboard Tour and competitive opportunities for surfers.”
The announcement comes a week before the second and penultimate event on the tour, the Vans Duct Tape Invitational and Festival, which holds a competition window from August 3 – 7, 2022.
Both Seale and Gilkerson have deep ties and solid foundations within the longboarding world. Seale, who grew up on the North Shore, has competed on the Longboard tour for the last six years. She’s stepping away to lead it.
“I am coming into this role with a unique perspective because I competed on the Longboard Tour for the past several years,” said Seale. “I understand the competition as a competitor, but I also understand what is required from a business perspective for the WSL Longboard Tour to thrive. I am excited about my work to support longboarding and develop this competitive platform. Surfing is my passion and longboarding is my heart. This is not just a job. This is what I love.”
Gilkerson has a WSL Longboard Tour World Title under her belt, which she won in 2016, as well as an ISA Title from 2018. She’s been interested in judging for a long time now — she’s scored judging for the WSL Championship Tour, Challenger Series, and Longboard Tour, as well as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — and she knows her way around a scoreboard. Born and raised in San Clemente, she’s now based out of NSW, Australia. Although she shines on a longboard, she surfs a variety of different shapes extraordinarily well.
“I am excited to bring my experience as a CT-level judge and top-level longboarder to the Head Judge position,” said Gilkerson. “My priority in this role is to provide clear and fair judging to the surfers. I plan to make traditional longboarding criteria understandable and more transparent while working with the panel to promote the style of surfing that demonstrates the key elements of the criteria and the overall vision of traditional longboarding. I also hope to create a scale that encourages the surfers to push the level of their surfing and further advance the sport.”