Fans can rest easy. Professional bodyboarders will compete for world titles in 2020.
After months of meetings, phone calls, emails, and negotiations, there's light at the end of the barrel.
The newly-formed International Bodyboarding Corporation (IBC) and the Association of Professional Bodyboarders (APB) will work together to deliver a full schedule for 2020.
IBC will be a non-profit organization responsible for managing the operations and running the World Tour.
Simultaneously, the APB will represent the athletes' interests - riders' union - and will work to improve and fine-tune the circuit.
SurferToday knows that despite a few differences in points of view, both organizations have reached an overall agreement that will allow the sport to move forward in a positive and constructive way.
The changing of the guard was not as quick and easy as all parties wished because there are many people and to-do lists involved in the discussion and transition from one era to another.
Some of the professionals who have given their best to increase the popularity and notoriety of professional bodyboarding in the last years have moved on with their lives and opted for alternative careers.
An Unparalleled Historical Legacy
Alex Leon and Terry McKenna, former CEO and general manager of the APB, respectively, were responsible for bringing the riders together after the fall of the IBA empire.
With scarce financial resources, they were able to run the World Tour in some of the best bodyboarding breaks on the planet, including Nazaré, Teahupoo, Shark Island, and El Frontón.
The duo was also able to keep a tight group of experienced judges traveling from stage to stage, nearly for free.
For example, Head judge Craig Hadden got $3,000 a year.
The APB era also saw an exponential rise in social media engagement and live webcast audiences.
Female bodyboarders have also seen their professional sports circuit improved with additional events and increased prize purses.
Our Future Is Greater Than Our Past
The good news is that there are also personalities with fresh new ideas willing to make the best competitive bodyboarding tour of all time.
The core members of IBC and APB include experienced event organizers, world champions, seasoned veterans, new school athletes, female bodyboarders, and representatives from all corners of the globe.
SurferToday confirmed that there will be a World Tour with changes in the competitive format, longer contest windows, grassroots support, and social responsibility events and gatherings.
APB's conversion from a limited liability company (LLC) to a non-profit legal and bureaucratic procedures that required extra time and meticulous medium-term planning.
Now that the dust has settled, the IBC and the APB have shown that they're both cooperating and working together to provide the best World Tour in the history of bodyboarding.
Hopefully, bodyboard manufacturers will step up and help keep the dream alive, as they did in the 1980s and 1990s.
But bodyboarding should also take a step back and focus on the younger generations.
In 2019, Canarian bodyboarder Ricardo Estupiñán wrote an interesting and slightly controversial essay on the future of the sport.
"We need more competitions for young children, institutes, free clinics, and bodyboarding schools. We have forgotten what we are, what we were, and the essence of it all," Estupiñán stated.
"The national associations, the parents of young bodyboarders, and event promoters should focus on the future. And the future, ladies and gentlemen, is at the base, in the boys and girls."
The IBC is preparing an official statement regarding the future of professional competitive bodyboarding.
Ideally, and for obvious brand and marketing reasons, the Tour should keep its name.
But if the plan is to really start a new era, then why not call it International Bodyboarding Championship (IBC) and drop the "Corporation"?
The full calendar for the 2020 World Tour will be announced soon.