Can It Still Be Called A Professional Tour?
By Dan Dobbin.
A week or two ago we did a little hornets nest kicking by suggesting that Australia as a competative world power may be finished, owing to a distinct lack of enthusiasm from emerging Aussie groms to spend time and mostly money trying to become the W.C.
In the insta comments section of our article, French based wetsuit company Sen No Sen suggested that becoming a bodyboarding world champ was all about guts, hard scramble and stick-to-itevness and had diddly-squat to do with cash.
However, Novacastrian and aspirational tour chaser Kane Brewer was not ‘aving it and after a little back and forth replied sternly thus;
Luckily, Sandgroper Merlyn Moon offered a fantastic solution to the situation;
Which both sides seem amicable to;
No word yet on how many Euros Kano will be rolling in next year, or what Merlyn’s negotiating cut is, but you’ll hear it here first when it drops.
The little exchange does kick open the door to a larger question though, namely; Do we still continue to view the world tour as a proffesional athlete undertaking, or in light of the current lack of sponsorship opportunities in bodyboarding (England not withstanding) should it now be seen as an amateur endeavor?
To their credit the IBC has listened to the concerns of many riders about the fiancial difficulties of pursuing a tour over many months and across continents.
From next year, if the tour runs, competitors top four results from a rumoured 8 available contests will be counted towards their world tour placings and will determine who is crowded World Champ.
Essentially, competitors can choose to travel to the four most fiancially viable contest for them, and therefore be in the running for the title.
Still, the tyranny of distance and cost, especially in a post covid world, will probably remain a significant barrier for many riders.
When the tour was roaring through the early noughties into the mid-10’s, the tour model worked because the product (world tour competitors) had enough sponsorship money coming in to travel to and compete in world tour licensed comps.
The tour managers and promoters were able to secure funding from local government / regional bodies to hold the comps in exchange for the tourism and promotional opportunities such events offered.
The system worked.
However, now that riders sponsorship dollars have been reduced or dried up all together for many of the world’s best established and up and coming riders, it seems that what we may be left with is a tour of largely part time, predominantly amateur riders, who have to fund their world tour campaign largely off their own bat.
Maybe it’s lucky it’s not called the Association of Professional Bodyboarders anymore….