Look out Panama City, there's a new Spring Break in town.
Looks like there will be a little change around regarding the WQS schedule for 2010 the start of the season to be exact. For the last four years, the Qualifying tour has opened in Florida with the Sebastian Inlet Pro.
But the ASP season opener won't be at the Inlet this year. In fact, the Sebastian Inlet Pro as we know it, won't be happening next year.
"The contest structure is being revamped to give it a new energy and a more youthful feel. Some of my bigger sponsors, like Red Bull and Ron Jon love the concept, as does the board of tourism," says event organizer, Mitch Varnes.
The new reincarnation of this shindig will also happen in March, coinciding with spring break. This is a big switch, as it was formerly run the week leading up to Surf Expo in Orlando.
Could this be a different kind of Spring Break? Sebastian Inlet and Indialantic aren't exactly known to be party towns. But Varnes is planning to bring a bunch of entities under one umbrella, like the first ever Surfing America Prime event in Florida, The East Coast Collegiate Surfing Association Championships, a Grade 4 or 5 Junior, and possibly a high-grade Junior Womens event.
"Right now, the WQS SI Pro as we have known it, will not be in the mix for 2010 and may be gone for good," says Varnes, "There is no title sponsor to cover the costs of a WQS, and the surfing industry, outside of Ron Jon, has shown no serious interest in doing anything of note on the East Coast.
The former title sponsors have been Globe and O'Neill. O'Neill, as you may know is pretty committed to its Cold Water Classic Series. When Kelly participated in the inaugural year, the crowd was massive, as you would expect.
Interesting that there won't be a QS event in Florida anymore, considering that 10% of the guys on the Dream Tour are from the Sunshine State. Yet another different turn in competitive surfing this year. It's getting interesting.