World Surf League

The World Surf League (WSL) is undoubtedly 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 saw the light in 1976 as International Professional Surfers (IPS), before being renamed ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) in 1983. In 2015, the ASP took on its current name, World Surf League. This transition marked a major step forward in the consolidation of 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. Among the most iconic stops are the famous Pipeline in Hawaii, Snapper Rocks in Australia, Jeffreys Bay in South Africa and Teahupo'o in Tahiti. These places offer exceptional surfing conditions that test the skills of professional surfers.

How does the WSL work?

The World Surf League is based on a well-structured competition system, with rules and a judging system that ensures fair judging of surfers' performances. Each WSL event is divided 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 performances based on various criteria, including the execution of the maneuvers, the difficulty of the waves faced, the speed, power and fluidity of the movements. The judges assign a score from 0 to 10 for each wave surfed by the competitors.


The final stage of the 2022 Finals. San Clemente, California © World Surf League

Surfers have a limited window of time to catch waves and accumulate the highest score possible. Their final score is determined by the sum of the best scores obtained during the heat. The surfer with the highest score advances 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 for the waves surfed, additional points are awarded for the execution of spectacular maneuvers, for the choice of the most difficult waves and for the variety of maneuvers performed. This evaluation system allows us to reward the creativity, technique and courage of surfers, encouraging a dynamic and innovative surfing style.

Winners and evolution of the tournament

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


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

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 at a professional level on the same platform as men. This has helped promote gender equality in the sport of surfing and given female surfers around 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 we find Leonardo Fioravanti, Ramzi Boukhiam and Roberto D'Amico. These Italian athletes have demonstrated that they have the skills necessary to compete at an international level and have been noticed for their exceptional performances on waves around the world.


Leonardo Fioravanti (Italy) © Getty Images


World Surf League efforts to safeguard the oceans: The World Surf League is actively involved in protecting the oceans through its WSL PURE initiative. This program aims to reduce the environmental impact of surfing events, promote sustainable practices and raise public awareness of ocean conservation. The WSL works in collaboration with various marine conservation organizations to preserve the waves that are critical to surfing.


“We are one ocean”, the slogan of WSL PURE © World Surf League

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 the excitement and emotion surrounding each 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 win the 2023 season titles and witness more extraordinary performances on the waves.

Enjoy the spectacle of the 2022 finals and the exploits that led Felipe Toledo and Stephanie Gilmoore to the roof of the world

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