The World Surf League Will Award the Same Prizes to Women and Men

Lakey Peterson
U.S. surfer Lakey Peterson is carried up the beach after claiming victory in a World Surf League event in Australia in March. The league says it will start paying the same prize money to men and women. Jason Childs/Getty Images hide caption


In 2019, all male and female athletes will receive equal prize money in all of its events, according to the announcement made by surfing’s governing body.

World Surf League CEO Sophie Goldschmidt stated that “This is a huge step forward,” in their plan to advance women’s surfing.  The league has committed to taking a series of actions to promote female athletes, “from competing on the same quality waves as the men to better locations, and increased investment and support” according to Goldschmidt.

A significant pay gap exists between men and women in the support. The new policy closes that gap. Earlier this year, male winners of the WSL events in Australia received $100,000 in rewards, whereas women only received $65,000.

Three-time world champion Carissa Moore stated that “It’s a huge deal. It’s more just the statement that it makes to be recognized on that level and to be respected as elite athletes alongside the men.”

Carissa shared that when she first started surfing, she was the only girl and that she had a challenging time catching waves in lineups with all guys. She has found it difficult to obtain respect from men, and gain access to better waves. That is why WSL’s support is so meaningful to her.

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