While may seem like the season for surfing is in the summertime, when it comes to professional surf competitions and the wrap-up of championship titles, the cusp of North American winter is the ideal timeframe due to big surf, particularly in the Mecca of surfing, Hawaii.
Over the next few weeks, Label Networks will once again be covering the highlights of the top surfing action at the Vans Triple Crown of surfing events in Hawaii, as well as latest news on what to expect in 2014 from the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) tour, and Swatch Pro Women’s Longboarding Championships in WANNING, HAINAN ISLAND, CHINA, that are contributing to the huge boost surfing’s getting in China.
First, last week the ASP announced a new media distribution deal that should finally get surfing competitions more coverage. Because so many are held in remote locations, surfing’s always had the challenge of bringing exciting entertainment to the masses in a timely matter. About as close as it gets is the coverage from the Vans U.S. Open in Huntington Beach, CA, each summer.
However now, ASP announced that starting with the 2014 season, ESPN, YouTube, and Facebook will each have distribution deals, marking the first national and global media deals in the history of professional surfing.
ASP events enhanced by the media deals include the 26 elite tour events across men’s, women’s and big wave arenas in Australia, Brazil, Fiji, Indonesia, Tahiti, USA, France, Portugal, Chile, Peru, South Africa, Spain and Mexico.
“Professional surfing is a truly global sport which demands media distribution partners with significant reach. Our newly announced partners have tremendous presence in the innovative media arena and, together, they build the foundation for the ASP media platform,” Paul Speaker, ASP CEO, said. “I personally believe surfing is one of the most dramatic and dynamic sports on the planet and it’s an honor to work with tremendously inspirational athletes in bringing their feats and stories to the public.”
“I find it very fitting that the rebirth of professional surfing in 2014 will be broadcast within the ESPN family of networks and back on ABC as they were the first to support surfing on television back in 1962,” Speaker continued.
ESPN teams up with ASP as the exclusive U.S. domestic broadcaster for professional surfing in 2014 as part of a three-year agreement to showcase the sport’s elite events. The rights deal will allow surfing fans to see highlight shows immediately following the events.
“ESPN is thrilled to be working with the ASP as the U.S. domestic broadcast partner for professional surfing,” Tim Reed, ESPN Global X senior director, Content Strategy and Sports & Competition, said. “We look forward to showcasing the excitement, energy and incredible skills of professional surfers touring the world under the ASP banner. The talent and experience that is being aggregated at the ASP make this a very exciting time for professional surfing as well as a great opportunity for ESPN to extend its X Games brand into professional surfing.”
For most youth culture fans however, it’s the YouTube deal that’s going to get their attention. Here’s more: The ASP YouTube channel, along with the rebuilt ASP website which will embed this content via the YouTube player, will exclusively provide fans with more than 3,000 hours of programming, including 26 live streamed events annually across the men’s ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), the women’s ASP WCT and the ASP Big Wave World Tour (BWWT). For the first time in the sport’s history, the ASP YouTube channel will enable fans around the world to go to one global destination to view surfing digitally.
“ASP is committed to putting the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves,” said Claude Ruibal, Global Head of Sports Content, YouTube. “We’re committed to delivering the world’s best viewing and interactive experience to amplify these incredible performances, turning the ASP YouTube channel to a daily destination for a world of surfing fans.”
Facebook will serve as the primary social platform partner for ASP with the relationship focusing on fan engagement.
“We will be working closely with Facebook and Instagram as the primary social platforms to enhance our broadcast programming – bringing the tribe of surfing fans from around the world closer to the action they love, the athletes they follow and the sponsor brands they support,” Speaker said.
With the start of the 2014 season, fans will experience the future of professional surfing with the convergence of the production, marketing, media, social and sponsorship initiatives under the ASP banner for the first time in the sport’s history. The 2013 season is serving as a transitional year, with new management building programs and partnerships for the rebirth of professional surfing in 2014 when a new look, tone and feel as well as consistent and top-of-class programming will showcase the world’s best surfers in the world’s best waves.
SWATCH GIRLS PRO CHINA 2013 HOSTED BY WANNING LAUNCHED IN SHANGHAI
One of the most hotly-anticipated events on the entire pro surfing calendar was launched October 17, at The Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai, China, in the presence of Susan Chen, President of Swatch Group China & General Manager of The Swatch Art Peace Hotel, Mayor Zhang of Wanning, ASP Australasia General Manager Dane Jordan, and actor Sunny Wang. Swatch Proteam surfers Kassia Meador and Darci Liu were in attendance to help announce the third edition of the ground-breaking ASP Women’s Longboard World Championship event, which is set to take place from November 20-24, 2013 in Wanning, Hainan Island.
The Swatch Art Peace Hotel is an emblematic venue where Swatch has developed a completely unique concept offering artist residencies within a wonderfully restored historic hotel. Complementing the art in the hotel are luxury watch boutiques, exhibition and conference facilities and a rooftop terrace with breathtaking views of the Bund and Pudong. Swatch, with its many faces and facets, is committed to supporting spectacular action sports such as freestyle skiing and snowboarding, ice cross downhill and women’s surfing.
“This year it feels like the event is going to be bigger and better than ever,” said Kassia Meador. “Each time we come back to China it seems like the surfing bug is catching more and more and it’s such a cool thing to see and participate in. The buzz around this event is totally unique, like nothing else I’ve ever really seen anywhere around the world.”
“It’s a huge honor for me to represent China and to welcome the best surfers in the world to Wanning,” said Darci Liu. “We’re helping put Wanning on the map as a beautiful, unspoiled tropical surfing location and being part of this event gives me so much pride and inspiration.
“The Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai proved an ideal location to announce the competition, itself an internationally-recognized venue that has inspired artists and creative minds in one of the most exciting, dynamic cities in Asia. “Having surfers from all over the world come together in Wanning, China helps make this surfing contest something that Swatch China is so proud to be part of,” said Susan Chen. “Surfing has a unique appeal as both a sport and lifestyle that perfectly fits with the values of Swatch.”
Big-Wave Season Launches in Hawaii—Local Qualifier HIC Pro to Kick-off
Oahu’s North Shore is about to become the focal point of the surfing world again. HIC Pro will launch Hawaii’s 2013 big wave season at Sunset Beach, October 29 to November 10. The HIC Pro is a local qualifier for the famed Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (November 12-December 20) that will begin right after the crowning of this year’s HIC Pro champion.
The HIC Pro is a $95,000 4-star rated Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) event that features the best talents from Hawaii and pits them against ambitious young blood from eight other nations: Australia, Tahiti, Japan, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, France and US Mainland. Veteran Hawaiian surfer and former ASP world champion Sunny Garcia, 43, returns to defend the title he won here last year. His victory came from an inspired performance that proved power and experience will always hold favor with Sunset, known to be a brutal and punishing wave at its winter best.
But every young surfer who has entered this year’s event seeks to attain the heights that Garcia has achieved in his 27 years of professional surfing. They have no plans of holding the door open for an icon of the sport who famously shows no mercy for his rivals. Among those preparing to rattle Garcia’s cage are locals Dusty Payne (Maui), Mason Ho (Sunset), Ezekiel Lau (Honolulu), and Ian Gentil (Maui); as well as highly seeded Australian pair Mitch Coleborn and Jack Freestone.
Stay tuned for more surf news posting soon.
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