PAY: Warren Smith and former Surfest champion and Merewether local Philippa Anderson have both worked hard to keep the women’s QS event alive. Picture: Peter StoopTHE organiser of Newcastle’s Surfest has praised the news of pay parity at the top level of the sport.
The World Surf League announced it would award equal prize money for men and women in 2019 across all WSL controlled events.
“It’s fantastic,”Surfest chief Warren Smith said.
“It definitely sends a positive message all the way through to the juniors.
“Now we just need to do the work to get it to flow through to all levels and the QS[Qualifying Series].”
Surfest was the first competition in Australasia tofeatureequal prize money for both boys and girls in the Pro Junior.
“WSL confirmed we are one of the initial parties to put this movement forward,” Mr Smith said.
“We are working towards equal prize money at the next event.”
Next year the Surfest prize pool for the men’s QS event will shrink from $150,000 to $120,000 for the registered 144 competitors. The women’s winnings has been boosted from $50,000 to $60,000, with72 competitors.
“If I had the money I would make them the same, but we will work towards it,” he said.
“Equal is what it should be, we just need more sponsors.”
In 2018, for the third consecutive year, the women’s Surfest eventwas dual funded by sponsors and crowd funding. Mr Smith hopes a boost in sponsorship could result in an increased prize pool.
Many of the world’s top surfers have also praised the push towards pay parity.
Equal by Nature. From 2019, female and male athletes will receive equal prize money across all WSL controlled events. #CatchThisWavepic.twitter苏州楼凤/oG7vVAru8J
— World Surf League (@wsl) September 5, 2018
Six-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore said Billy Jean King’s efforts had paved the way for surfing.
‘‘I’m so inspired by the like of Billy Jean King and women in tennis who fought so hard to get what they deserved,’’ she said.
‘‘Women have been fighting for hundreds of years to get equality in the workplace.
‘‘It’s huge news and makes me proud to be a surfer today.’’
Surfing legend Kelly Slater also weighed in.
“The female WSL athletes are equally committed to their craft as the male athletes and should be paid the same.”
Prize money on the elite women’s tour has increased by 153 per cent since 2013 and the calendar now almost mirrors the men’s.WSL plans to extend equal prize money to other second-tier events as soon as possible.
– With AAP
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