Surfing: male and female surfer will earn the same prize money from 2019 onward | Photo: Cestari/WSL

In a historic and unprecedented decision, the World Surf League (WSL) announced that it will implement an equal prize money deal for men and women in the 2019 pro surfing season.

The organization led by Sophie Goldschmidt becomes the first and only US-based global sports league to adopt a gender equality protocol when it comes to prize money.

"We are thrilled with this huge step forward. We have a long-planned strategy to elevate women's surfing that also includes getting female athletes on the same quality waves as the men, as well as increased investment and support," explains Goldschmidt, CEO of WSL.

The decision to adopt gender equality in competition comes after similar moves taking place in professional windsurfing and bodyboarding.

But the prize money per event for the female surfers on the Championship Tour has already increased 153 percent since 2013.

"It's the right thing to do. We're lucky to have highly-talented women on tour that are also role models. They deserve this recognition. Also, thank you to all who have worked for decades to help push women's surfing forward."

The World Surf League is also launching three new projects aimed at women: a global marketing campaign to promote the Women's Tour, instructional clinics for girls around the world featuring pro surfers, and a content series about the history of female surfing led by Layne Beachley.

“I am thrilled. The message means even more than the prize money. I hope this decision serves as a model for other sports, global organizations and societies," concluded six-time world champion, Stephanie Gilmore.

In the future, WSL plans to work with event partners to set up equal prize money across all Qualifying Series (QS) and Pro Junior events.

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