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Article: World Surf League


World Surf League

The World Surf League (WSL) is arguably the most prestigious surfing competition in the world. Founded decades ago, the WSL has taken surfing to new levels of excellence and helped shape the sport's image as a competitive and spectacular discipline.

Origins of the WSL

The competition began as the International Professional Surfers (IPS) in 1976, and was renamed the ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) in 1983. In 2015, the ASP changed its current name, the World Surf League. This transition marked a major step in establishing surfing as a global sport and provided a platform for its development on a global scale.


The ASP logo © World Surf League

Today the WSL takes place in several exotic locations around the world. Iconic stops include the famous Pipeline in Hawaii, Snapper Rocks in Australia, Jeffreys Bay in South Africa and Teahupo'o in Tahiti. These spots offer exceptional surf conditions that challenge the skills of professional surfers.

How does WSL work?

The World Surf League is based on a well-structured competition system, with rules and a rating system that ensures that surfers' performance is judged fairly. Each WSL event is split into several stages, including qualifying heats, semi-finals and the final.
During each heat, two or more surfers compete to get the best waves and demonstrate their skills. A panel of judges evaluates their performance based on various criteria, including the execution of the maneuvers, the difficulty of the waves tackled, the speed, power and fluidity of the movements. The judges assign a score from 0 to 10 for each wave surfed by the competitors.


Joao Chianca (Brazil) stage winner MEO Pro Portugal 2023 © World Surf League

Surfers have a limited window of time to catch the waves and rack up the highest score possible. Their final score is determined by the sum of the best scores obtained during the battery. The surfer with the highest score progresses to the next stage of the competition, while the others are eliminated.
The World Surf League points system is based on a combination of factors. In addition to the score of the waves surfed, additional points are awarded for performing spectacular maneuvers, for choosing the most difficult waves and for the variety of maneuvers performed. This evaluation system allows to reward the creativity, technique and courage of surfers, encouraging a dynamic and innovative style of surfing.

Tournament winners and evolution

In the 2022 edition of the World Surf League, the men's title was captured by the Brazilian Felipe Toledo, while the Australian surfer Stephanie Gilmore captured the women's title. Both of these surfers have demonstrated extraordinary technical ability and unmatched determination throughout the entire competition season.


Felipe Toledo and Stephanie Gilmoore during the 2022 © World Surf League awards

A fundamental step in the history of the World Surf League was the introduction of the women's category. Since 1976, women have been able to compete professionally on the same platform as men. This has helped promote gender equality in the sport of surfing and given female surfers from all over the world the chance to showcase their talent.

Italy can boast some talented surfers who have participated in the World Surf League over the years. Among the best known are Leonardo Fioravanti, Ramzi Boukhiam and Roberto D'Amico. These Italian athletes have demonstrated that they have the skills to compete internationally and have been noted for their outstanding performances on waves around the world.


Leonardo Fioravanti © Getty Images


World Surf League Activities to Safeguard Oceans: The World Surf League is actively committed to ocean protection through its WSL PURE initiative. This program aims to reduce the environmental impact of surfing events, promote sustainable practices, and raise awareness of ocean conservation. The WSL works in partnership with various marine conservation organizations to preserve the waves that are essential to surfing.


WSL PURE slogan we are one ocean © World Surf League PURE

Founded with the goal of taking surfing to new heights of professionalism, the World Surf League has continued to evolve over the years, embracing diversity, promoting sustainability and advocating for gender equality.

With excitement and emotion surrounding every event, the WSL remains a beacon of excellence and a celebration of talent, strength and harmony with nature. We can't wait to find out who will grab the titles of the 2023 season and to see new extraordinary performances on the waves.

Enjoy the spectacle of the 2022 finals and the feats that brought Felipe Toledo and Stephanie Gilmoore to the top of the world