With 2014 behind us, it’s time to look ahead to prepare for what 2015 has in store for the world of surfing.
The World Surf League
To begin, 2015 will mark the end of the iconic acronym ‘ASP’ (Association of Surfing Professionals), which will give way to a new era of professional surfing under the banner ‘World Surf League’ (WSL). Paul Speaker, CEO of WSL, claims that not a single person objected to the change in name—though the broader surfing community may disagree. For surfing fans, saying goodbye to the ASP name will be a bit sad. Whether the transformation to the WSL brand will be good for the sport of surfing—well, only time will tell. Speaker claims the new ‘WSL’ label will attract sponsors more readily and increase engagement with surfing generally. Audiences can expect better television and webcast coverage, more sophisticated broadcast graphics, and new commentary teams. And of course, the rashguard and designer wetsuit worn by surf pros in the competitions will bear a new mark—‘WSL’. Whatever happens, it makes for an exciting start to the year.
Ice, fire and glow: new tricks for surfers
The proverbial ‘search’ continues, and in 2015 it will increasingly involve ice, fire and glow sticks. Surfing in Iceland probably sounds as ridiculous today as it did 20 years ago, but it’s happening all the same. In 2015, expect to see more videos and articles about the newest surfing locations in the coldest parts of the world. For those of you thinking about giving it a go, you may need more than a sun protective rashguard or neoprene jacket! A designer wetsuit, or even a drysuit, is probably more appropriate for the icy conditions. ‘Fire surfing’—ever heard of it? In fact surfers have been doing it for years, but in 2014 it hit mainstream social media websites and caught people’s interest. The latest trend involves attaching a flare to the back of your surfboard and igniting it moments before catching a wave. Others have used glow sticks or LED lights. It looks pretty amazing, particularly when the surfers are game enough to venture into the waves at night—quite spectacular. Wearing a high quality rash guard, board shorts or bikini, these night-surfing fire surfers are exploring unknown boundaries of the sport we love. Expect to see new innovations with these tricks as 2015 unfolds.
New tech for surfing films
Each year surfing photographers are finding new ways to capture on film the experience of riding a wave. Many people will have seen the amazing footage that can be captured with ‘Go Pro’ cameras, which provide an incredible vantage from the inside of glassy barrels and down the face of giant waves. Whilst in the past surfing photographers may have suited up in rashguard with long sleeves, designer lycra or designer wetsuit, today they have found new ways to stay dry on land to shoot their footage. Most recently, photographers are utilizing drones to film the surf from the sky. Historically, only those who could afford to charter a helicopter could get aerial footage of surfing. Today, the price of drone cameras is falling and they are increasingly easy for amateurs to use. In 2015, expect to see a proliferation of drone camera footage of the pros as well as amateurs on YouTube and in surfing films.
The Webber Wave Pool
Prepare yourself for the Disney Land of surfing. In 2015, construction of the Webber Wave Pool will begin on the Gold Coast, Australia. Visitors will be able to surf to their heart’s content in a giant “linear looped pool” that produces 500 waves per hour. The park is completely open air, so you will still need your sun protective rash guard to get your sun protection, just like at the beach. The $90 million project is eagerly anticipated by surfers and industry alike, and is set to change the face of surfing forever. Unfortunately we’ll all have to wait until 2016 before the surfing park opens to the public.