US surfer Lakey Peterson during the quarterfinals at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast. World Surf League/Ed Sloane
US surfer Lakey Peterson during the quarterfinals at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast. World Surf League/Ed Sloane

Why surf season will be more like the footy season

THE new boss of professional surfing's peak body says the relentless 10-month world tour schedule will be condensed to be like a typical footy season from next year to keep fans interested.

"At the moment it's a long season and there's a lot of gaps and sometimes it's hard to kind of keep that fan engagement," said World Surf League CEO Sophie Goldschmidt, after an epic first leg of the tour on the Gold Coast last week.

Sophie Goldschmidt on the Gold Coast. Pic: Lyndon Mechielsen / The Australian.
Sophie Goldschmidt on the Gold Coast. Pic: Lyndon Mechielsen / The Australian.

"We're always looking to learn and improve. I think the sport is in a great position, in a very healthy shape, but we can learn from other sports and other businesses about how we can improve things even more."

She said a tighter 2019 season, which is expected to feature a "Superbowl-style" playoff to determine a world champion, would be easier for fans to follow.

"I think they can expect a series that's easier to follow, that's got a clearer narrative and journey during the season," said Ms Goldschmidt, who stepped into the role in August last year after stints with rugby, tennis and tennis organisations.

"It's the same number of events but slightly tighter time frame, which we haven't announced yet. "

With the current format running from March to December she said the 2019 world tour would also be easier on athletes.

"Also for the surfers, they don't get much of a break, they finish one season and they're right on to the next," Ms Goldschmidt said.

"As the sport becomes more demanding they need more time to recover from a physical perspective and also take care of any commercial business they might have."



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