ASP's New Boss
For the last year, the surf world has been hearing of big changes coming to the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP). Aside from minor jostling of events in the upcoming seasons, there hasn't been much earth shattering news. Now some changes are starting to come to fruition as ZoSea Media begins its acquisition of pro surfing's governing body.
On Feb 28 the ASP announced that Paul Speaker will take the reigns as the new ASP Chief Executive Officer. Speaker, of California, has a solid and varied resume that includes Director of Marketing for the NFL and Lead Independent Director at Quiksilver. He was appointed to the Board of Directors at Quik in 2010, while serving as presidents of Time Inc. Studios. He is also former president of RKO studios. His past marketing of more mainstream sports and entertainment are the kind of experience pro surfing is looking for after several years in flux.
"The surfers, the events and the current ASP staff have all been, and will continue to be, instrumental in elevating the sport during this transitional year," said Speaker in the press release. "Our focus this season is protecting the interests of professional surfers, preserving the integrity of competition, refreshing the ASP brand and establishing a new commercial model for the sport. The ASP will be more fan-centric – the structure of tours, the production of broadcasts and everything in between will be geared towards enhancing the fans' experience. Good luck to all our competitors and events in 2013 and we look forward to taking this next step with you."
The ASP has not had a CEO since Brodie Carr stepped down in 2011 following the mathematical error that crowned Kelly Slater his 11th world title one round too early. Speaker will be in attendance at tonight's ASP World Surfing Awards.
In related news, 36-year-old Kieren Perrow, who finished the 2012 ASP World Tour season ranked No. 19 and won the 2011 Billabong Pipeline Masters, will serve as Interim Commissioner. Perrow, the longtime surfer's rep, was appointed to this seat by his fellow surfers, who have always supported his judgment.
"It's a huge honor to be appointed to this position at such an important and pivotal point in the sport's history," Perrow said in the release. "We have a lot of work ahead of us, but the cooperation and collective focus coming from all elements of the tour, from surfers to events to staff to new management, is hugely motivating and a major driving force as we evolve the sport."
Perrow's primary job will be to maintain and preserve the integrity of competition by keeping tabs on judges, venues, scheduling and ranking.
The ASP Men's and Women's World Tour kick off this week in Coolangatta, Australia with the Quiksilver and Roxy Gold Coast Pros. More news of this nature can be expected as surfing transitions into a full takeover by ZoSea Media starting in 2014, when the surf brands that sponsor each event give up the media rights. ZoSea looks to structure pro surfing more like traditional pro sports and standardized broadcasts.