Last weekend the worlds longest running surf competition, The Ballito Pro sponsored by Billabong came under fire when a photo of the under-18 men and women winners, Indonesian Rio Waida, and South Africa’s Zoe Steyn appeared online showing a harrowing 50% discrepancy in prize money all while everything else remained equal – same age, same ocean, same waves! Same travel costs, bills for equipment, diet, physical therapy but twice as hard to get the same recognition?
Surfing has long been a male-centric sport with competitions openly defending the gender gap. Ballito Pro has since responded with an official statement, which you can read in full below. Let’s hope they follow through.
“The Ballito Pro maintains its stance as a pro-gender equality competition, which is evident from the ongoing development of the women’s series year-on-year. Based on this commitment to equality, we are meeting with all relevant stakeholders to discuss how any potential discrepancies can be resolved going forward. We are grateful to everyone who brought awareness to this issue and we value all the contribution, comment, and participation that has prompted discussions, at the highest level, for a speedy resolution. The World Surf League (WSL) is the sanctioning body for WSL-aligned surfing events such as The Ballito Pro. The WSL implements certain criteria to determine surf ratings and prize money, and we have formally requested a detailed outline of this process for future discussion.” – Ballito Pro