Finally some news from the ASP about the new-look for the 2014 season. New look cos remember a bunch of ou's called ZoSea are now in charge, having wrested away control of the world surf tour from the old boys club of the established surf brands for the princely sum of zero dollars.
People had started getting a bit nervous about the change when up until a week ago absolutely nothing had been announced about the 2014 tour, so was it going to be same old same old.
But now we have some news. Biggish news too. Samsung Galaxy have just been announced as the title sponsors of the 2014 WCT, which means it's now officially known as the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour.
The sponsorship covers both the mens and womens tours, so 21 events in total. What is means is that Samsung carry the lion's share of the costs of the events, and then secondary sponsors come on board for each individual event. So comp's will still go under the same names as previously, such as the Billabong Pipeline Pro or the Quicksilver Pro Gold Coast, but at least the brands will only be coughing up a fraction of the bucks that it used to cost them to stage the event.
All the webcast, crew and judging costs are picked up by Samsung now, and far as I know it's just the prize money that the brands now put -up, and obviously all the peripheral costs of hosting the event itself.
It also means a standardised commentary team for the webcasts, as opposed to each brand having "their" crew behind the mike.
Mostly it's a really decent looking team, although a few peeps might groan at the inclusion of Joe Turpel. But definitely some guys there that will call a spade a shovel which is great. The core commentary team includes Pat Parnell, Joe Turpel, Ross Williams and Martin Potter, supported by Peter Mel, Rosy Hodge, Todd Kline, Strider Wasilewski and Ronnie Blakey.
Martin, Ross, Strider and Ronnie will revel in being able to call it like they see it now they're freed from sponsor obligations. Cool to see Saffa Rosy Hodge getting a slot too - although some of the shorter guys on tour will no doubt be intimidated by getting interviewed by a chick who towers over them!
Haven't seen any announcements yet about the judging panel, so going to have to wait and see whether the same crew of judges stays in place for this year - they took a fair bit of flack last year about some sketchy decisions.
The 11-event mens WCT kicks off on 1 March at Snapper Rocks.
Bring it on!
Is this Jordy's year!?
Go check out the new look ASP website here.