Paul Speaker: co-founder of ZoSea Media and World Surf League | Photo: Kirstin/WSL

Paul Speaker has decided to step down as CEO of the World Surf League (WSL). He plans to spend more time with his family.

The founder of ZoSea Media will leave his position on the professional surf tour at the end of January 2017. Dirk Ziff, co-owner of WSL, will take on the role of interim CEO until a new CEO is announced.

"With the acquisition of the Kelly Slater Wave Company, we are at a remarkable inflection point in the League's history, and we are ready for a new leader who can guide the organization to even greater accomplishments," Paul Speaker stated.

"The commitment to our athletes in and out of the water has led us to many firsts for surfing, including a pension plan for our athletes, the creation of the commissioner's office to secure the integrity of the sport, a prize-purse parity between the men and the women of our championship tour, and the first multi-year surfers' agreement."

In 2013, the ASP announced the acquisition of the Big Wave Tour, and big wave surfing became a popular spectacle.

Four years ago, ZoSea bought the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) and renamed it to World Surf League (WSL).

Since then, Speaker and his team have focused on increasing fan engagement, developing high-end broadcasts and events, athlete development programs, and attracting new sponsors to surfing.

Paul Speaker ends his message by saying that man-made waves will "dramatically shift the landscape of high-performance surfing around the world with guaranteed conditions, total fairness for the competitors, greatly enhanced live viewing and major television coverage at a scheduled time."

Speaker will continue to be co-owner of WSL.

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