Ballard named as president of new pro women’s surfing organization

y Chris CookNew Media Manager

Huntington Beach, Calif. – Pro woman surfer Rochelle Ballard of Kaua’i is

heading up the newly-formed International Women’s Surfing

organization.

Ballard was named president of the organization on Tuesday.

She is one of the top competitive professional woman surfers in the world and

is a leader in the global pro surfing tour.

Ballard grew up surfing on

Kaua’i and began her career here, but now spends much of the year on the North

Shore of O’ahu and on the global tour. She is married to surf filmmaker Bob

Ballard.

Stand-alone women’s surfing events are at the top of the goal’s

list of the organization.

Ballard has been flourishing on the tour this

year with a victory in French surf and high rankings on the pro tour this

year.

Most women’s surfing events are now held as second-dog events to

men’s pro surfing contests.

In a press release, the IWS announced plans to

represent all female surfers involved in competitive short board surfing around

the world.

The statement said IWS is in the process of developing a series

of women-only professional surfing events in prime surfing locations throughout

the world that would launch in 2001, with a tour schedule finalized by

September 2000.

The new organization apparently aims at bringing

additional stability to the careers of the pro female surfers, and is being

formed as a California mutual benefit non-profit corporation. The organization

incorporated in April of 2000.

Purses for women’s surfing events generally

are a fraction of those offered to pro male surfers competing in the

Association of Surfing Professionals global tour.

The ASP is the governing

body for professional surfing and is based in Queensland, Australia. The ASP

also reorganized this week, setting up an eight-month tour schedule.

Pro

women surfers rely on sponsorship checks from surfboard companies, surf wear

clothing companies and surfing accessories manufacturers to cover airfare,

accommodations, entry fees and other costs of following the pro circuit. Venues

range from the North Shore of O’ahu to South Africa, France, Indonesia, Brazil

and California.

The commercial side of women’s surfer has grown

considerably over the past five years, with clothing lines like Quiksilver’s

Roxy, women’s-only surfing publications and boards designed for female riders

signs of the new popularity.

A press release from the organization stated:

“While the long-term goals of IWS include building a strong, global grassroots

base for women’s surfing and increasing competitive opportunities for female

surfers at all levels, initially IWS will focus on tapping the energy and

spirit of today’s top professional female surfers to capitalize on the recent

surge in interest in women’s sports. IWS’ immediate goal is to lead women’s

professional surfing to achieve its fullest potential in the global arena of

professional sports.”

Plans call for the IWS to work closely with the

Association of Surfing. The IWS said new stand-alone events will be

ASP-sanctioned, and the final women’s tour schedule will be comprised of

approximately 2/3 new women’s-only events and 1/3 existing ASP World Tour

events that feature both men and women.

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