Women's 2013 ASP World Tour Preview

New Venue, New Faces, and More Money for the Gals?

Stephanie Gilmore won her 5th ASP World Title in 2012. At age 24, expect a lot more out of women's surfing's greatest ambassador.
Stephanie Gilmore won her 5th ASP World Title in 2012. At age 24, expect a lot more out of female surfing’s greatest ambassador.

Looking back, 2012 was a rad year for women’s surfing on the ASP World Tour. Australia’s Stephanie Gilmore snagged her 5th World Title after an emotional 2011, Santa Barbara local and rookie Lakey Peterson got her first ASP win at the US Open, performance levels of all the athletes went through the roof, and there were good waves at 5 out of the 7 events.

Now, 2013 is upon us and the girls can’t wait to get at it!

California's Courtney Conlogue is arguably the most fit women on tour. The former high school track champion won her first World Tour event in 2012 at the Beachley Classic.
California’s Courtney Conlogue is arguably the most fit women on tour. The former high school track champion won her first World Tour event in 2012 at the Beachley Classic, and was promptly chaired up the beach by ASP #1 and #2 Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons.
Santa Barbara's Lakey Peterson won her first World Tour event in 2012 at the US Open. The fit and focused performer is one of the few World Tour surfers, men or women, that have won an event in their rookie year.
Santa Barbara’s Lakey Peterson won her first World Tour event in 2012 at the US Open. The fit and focused performer is one of the few World Tour surfers, men or women, that have won an event in their rookie year.

Browse through the ASP Top 16’s Instagrams and you will see training, nutrition, lots of surfing, and excitement for the upcoming season! And make no mistake, 2013 will prove to be a pivotal year for women’s pro surfing. A new venue was added to the women’s tour with the Telstra Drug Aware Pro, a new surfer was added to the Top 16, a new partnership with the ASP and ZoSea Media will undoubtedly take the images of the tanned and toned pro surfers to major television networks around the globe, and hints (and demands) of bigger purses for the women’s events have surfaced.

Australia's Sally Fitzgibbons finished runner-up on the ASP World Tour for the second year in a row.
Australia’s Sally Fitzgibbons finished runner-up on the ASP World Tour for the second year in a row. The talented regular foot is huge in OZ, where she regularly appears on TV, has her own webisode series, and is a fixture on red carpets around the country.

NEW VENUE
Although the Telstra Drug Aware Pro has been a Prime event for both men and women for several years, 2013 marks the first time the venue will be a World Tour contest for the women (the event will be a men’s World Tour contest in 2014). And rightfully so. The main peak at Margaret River is arguably the most demanding surf spot on the women’s tour and has been down-right macking more often than not. It favors the carving railwork of the stronger females and definitely tests the limits of some of the younger girls on tour. The exposed positioning of the break on the West Australian coastline can offer competitors huge surf in the 20ft face range, and cause havoc with high winds. Whoever wins is usually very fit, and is comfortable in any size conditions.

The Telstra Drug Aware Pro at Margaret River will be an women's ASP World Tour event for the first time.
The Telstra Drug Aware Pro at Margaret River will be a women’s ASP World Tour event for the first time in 2013.

NEW FACES
With only 16 surfers on the women’s ASP World Tour, compared to 34 surfers on the men’s tour, there are usually less changes in the ranks from year to year. This year is no different with only one new face on the women’s tour, Bianca Buitendag from South Africa. Buitendag has an aesthetically superior style in the water due to her taller figure and regularly punts solid airs and blows the tail out with the best of them. A good addition to the tour, Buitendag will do well at the venues that offer serious surf like Margaret River and Bells Beach.

South Africa's Bianca Buitendag is the only new face on the women's tour this year. After seeing her performance at the Oakley World Pro Juniors in Bali, you can expect big things from her in 2013.
South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag is the only new face on the women’s tour this year. After seeing her performance at the Oakley World Pro Juniors in Bali, you can expect big things from her in 2013. Photo by Van Gysen.

Although she is not a new face to the tour, Alana Blanchard re-qualified for 2013 with a solid run of good results at Prime and Star events in 2012. Easily the most famous female surfer in the world, Alana is known for her sultry figure and smooth style. While the Kauai bred regular foot can charge big waves, pull off solid airs, and perform powerful turns, she is usually associated with her infamous “bottom” turn. Nonetheless, a more mature Alana is stoked to be back on tour and can use 2013 as a tool to show the world she is more than just a pretty face. “I’ve been on the WCT two times, and I’m excited to see all the girls again and travel with all the Hawaiian girls and just see everyone surfing at their best!” said Blanchard in a recent interview with Transworld Surf. “I’m always looking forward to Snapper, but all the events are amazing, so I’m super excited!!”

Kauai's Alana Blanchard is no stranger to the World Tour. This will be the sport's most infamous female surfer's 3rd crack at the big leagues.
Perhaps the most famous female surfer in the world, Kauai’s Alana Blanchard is no stranger to the World Tour. 2013 marks her 3rd time qualifying for the big leagues. Photo courtesy of Rip Curl.

More Prize Money?
Since the dawn of professional surfing, the women have got the short end of the stick on prize money and overall prize purses. And it’s truly a discrepancy when you consider that the female side of surfwear sales bring in more money than the men’s. It’s quite shocking when you see Julian Wilson holding up a check for $100,000 for his US Open win, while women’s winner Lakey Peterson holds up a check for only $15,000. It’s just not fair, and it’s a little disturbing.

Aussie firecracker Laura Enever is always one to watch at any event on tour. She represents the new young crew of professional female surfers that have fun just being girls, yet still maintain a strict fitness and PR regime.
Aussie firecracker Laura Enever is always one to watch at any event on tour. She represents the new young crew of professional female surfers that have fun just being girls, yet still maintain a strict fitness and PR regime. Perfect attributes to have when trying to attract more dollars to women’s surfing.

Luckily, the women are on the verge of taking pro surfing somewhere the men have not. Into mainstream corporate sponsorships from non-endemic brands. Due to the healthy lifestyle and beauty of the new crop of young female pro surfers, huge corporations like cosmetic companies and other female specific brands have shown interest in capitalizing on pro surfing’s feminine touch. And don’t forget, Carissa Moore was the first pro surfer to break the mold with non-endemic sponsors Target and Red Bull just a few years ago. There is a very real possibility that you will see events like the Loreal Pro, or the Covergirl Invitational in the near future.

Hawaii's Carissa Moore was the first female surfer to have non-endemic brands as sponsors (Target and Red Bull). She took a back seat to Steph Gilmore's World Title run in 2012, but you can expect to see the 2011 World Champion in fine form in 2013.
Hawaii’s Carissa Moore was the first female surfer to have non-endemic brands as sponsors (Target and Red Bull). She took a back seat to Steph Gilmore’s World Title run in 2012, but you can expect to see the 2011 World Champion in fine form in 2013.

5X World Champion and Quiksilver Womens ambassador Stephanie Gilmore has voiced her opinion about the prize money discrepancy in a recent interview with Huck Magazine. “[We need] more prize money for the women. I saw the females in tennis fight to get equal prize money and they did, which is pretty inspiring,” says the 24 year old Australian. “I see a lot of the girls on tour who struggle. There are so many talented girls who don’t have sponsors and they can barely even make it to the next event because the actual costs of traveling to get to the events is pretty difficult. So I’m in quite a special situation, where I don’t have to worry about that stuff, and I’m sure that’s also a factor in helping me to achieve the results I can achieve.”

Stephanie Gilmore has appeared in Vogue (pictured here), and several other women's and sport magazines in 2012.
Stephanie Gilmore appeared in Vogue (pictured here), and several other women’s and sport magazines in 2012. With a full length documentary, numerous red carpet appearances, a classy nude layout in ESPN’s annual “Body Issue”, and a sponsorship by Ford, the picturesque blond leads the charge for female professional surfing’s bold new future.

Steph also feels there is a discrepancy in the event venues as well. Maybe if the gals had better quality surf then they would get more attention from sponsors? “What we need is to be in really high-performance waves, that’s something that we’re missing right now,” says the champ. “We just need to have that stage where we can perform and put on a good show.”

Australia's Tyler Wright was the youngest competitor to ever win an ASP World Tour event at only age 14. Now at age 19 and 3 years of top 5 finishes on tour, Tyler is ready to up the ante.
Australia’s Tyler Wright was the youngest competitor to ever win an ASP World Tour event at only age 14. Now at age 19, and three years in a row of top 5 finishes on tour, Tyler is ready to up the ante.

There’s no doubt that 2013 will be very important to all of the competitors on the women’s ASP World Tour as the world, and potential sponsors, seek an entertaining year filled with inspired performances and the drama of a World Title race. Hopefully, Poseidon and Neptune can conspire to throw the gals some solid swell for the tour stops in 2013, and the world’s best can show off their skills.

2013 Women’s ASP World Tour Schedule and Competitors
Womens_2013_ASP_World _Tour

Stephanie Gilmore’s 5th World Title

Congrats Steph! Video from Quiksilver Womens

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