The World Surf League will begin awarding equal prize money to male and female contestants for all its controlled events beginning with the 2019 season, it was announced today.
“It is more than just prize money, it was a huge statement and what it represents to be respected as an elite athlete on the same level as the men,” said Carissa Moore, three-time world champion from Hawaii. “This says a lot and the guys are very supportive of the decision.”
In a post on The Players’ Tribune, six-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore wrote, “Today, I feel proud to be a surfer. Well, I’m always proud to be a surfer. But today is a little different. Today, something pretty special is happening. Today, the World Surf League is announcing that it will award equal prize money to male and female surfers for every WSL event in the 2019 season and beyond, making it the first and only U.S.–based sport league to achieve pay equality.”
Sabrina Brennan of the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing said she welcomed the announcement. Her group has been long advocating for equal pay and increased opportunities on the WSL Tour, especially for big wave competitors.
Sophie Goldschmidt, the WSL’s chief executive officer, said in a statement, “This is a huge step forward in our long-planned strategy to elevate women’s surfing and we are thrilled to make this commitment as we reveal our new 2019 schedule. This is the latest in a series of actions the League has undertaken to showcase our female athletes, from competing on the same quality waves as the men, to better locations, and increased investment and support.”