The Dream Tour
Surfing is a sport that has a rich history starting hundreds of years ago but recently becoming very popular in the 1950's to 1960's. Back then, surfers had to rely on giant wooden surfboards to catch waves. Eventually, surfboard shapes shifted from longboards to shortboards. Also, surfboard fins changed forever when the thruster was introduced into the sport most notably by Simon Anderson at the Bell's Beach Classic in 1981. These innovations throughout the years have led to high performance surfing, and the creation of the ASP World Tour.
ASP surfing has evolved throughout the years by changing the venues where the contests are held as well as altering the judging criteria. Most notably, the association made the biggest change last year. Before, there were 45 surfers on tour with 10 events. The tour lasted for a full year, with the surfer having the most points from results in the contests being titled world champion. Also, the top 32 surfers were kept on the tour while the bottom 13 surfers were dropped from the tour.
In order to qualify for the dream tour surfers had to compete in the WQS, or world qualifying series. The top 13 surfers from the WQS would get bumped up to the WCT, (world championship tour), replacing the 13 surfers that were let go. This was the format for the ASP for a very long time. Eventually, the surfers and officials of the association got together and talked about making changes.
And walla! The changes were immense, but overall it has definitely helped surfing's popularity. The most notably difference is that instead of having two separate rankings, the WCT and the WQS, there is now the one world ranking system. In addition, they cut down the number of surfers on the championship tour, making it the top 32 surfers instead of 45. Also, there is a mid year cut off where the bottom portion of the surfers on the dream tour are replaced by surfers who compete in WQS events.
Another change that everyone has been talking about is the judging criteria. Judges used to reward surfers for whomever could get the most turns on a wave, regardless if a surfer was throwing the tail out the back or performing air reverses, which are much more difficult than turns. The ASP decided to reward more for critical maneuvers, which include airs, vertical snaps, and turns where the tail are blown out the back. This was welcomed with open arms by the more innovative surfers on tour such as Taj Burrow, Jordy Smith, and Dane Reynolds.
Honestly, the changes are quite a bit confusing, but they have made the sport better in the long run. Fans are able to see their favorite surfers surf more, and the surfers now receive more money per contest because of the decrease in the amount of surfers. They also added a New York event this year, hoping to increase surfing's popularity throughout the world. Overall, ASP surfing has made some significant changes in the recent past that will ultimately benefit the sport of surfing.