- 24 February 2012 | Surfing
Global economic recession has had impact on the Billabong revenues and the Australian brand has decided to downgrade the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay, the fifth event on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour, to an ASP 6-Star contest.
The last-minute decision forces a drop in the 2012 elite pro surfing calendar, from 11 events to 10, with surfers now counting their best 8 out of 10 results towards their ASP World Title ranking.
"The change in event status follows a broader review in which we are seeking to identify cost savings throughout the business. By retaining an event at Jeffreys Bay, it now provides two qualifying events back to back in the South African region", Billabong reports in an official statement.
"The move to an ASP 6-Star also opens the event up to South Africa's aspiring pro surfers for the first time in 20 years and ensures continuity of the event for the local businesses in Jeffreys Bay."
Billabong is currently facing tough times. The surf brand has announced the cut of 400 jobs worldwide, 80 of them in Australia. Also, more than 100 loss-making and underperforming stores will be closed. The surfwear retailer is working on a strategic restructure which includes selling Nixon, the surf watch company.
The ASP World Tour has already replied to the Billabong's announcement for JBay. "We agreed as a Board that whilst very regrettable, the commercial realities are such that a pragmatic approach by ASP at this time seemed sensible," Richard Grellman, ASP Executive Chairman, said.
"Billabong have been long-time supporters of professional surfing and still sponsor three of the ten World Championship Tour events and we look forward to our deep relationship with them continuing."