Surfing's New Drug Policy a Wipeout?
When Kelly Slater told Brisbane’s Courier-Mail last month that he didn’t “think there's a drug you can take to make you surf better,” he helped reignite a debate about performance enhancing drugs on the ASP world tour.
Not everyone agreed with Slater’s statement. One unnamed ASP surfer told Surfer Magazine, “if you’re surfing four heats a day, that can take a toll on you. You’ll see some guys fall apart by the end of the day. I can see why some surfers would view performance enhancing drugs as an extra edge in surfing.”
That quote comes from a new feature story in which Surfer investigates the implementation of the ASP’s year-old anti-doping policy and finds the system of testing to be spotty at best.
Adding to Slater’s comment to the Courier-Mail that he hadn’t been tested all year, Surfer spoke to other ASP World Tour athletes who had gone the entire season without so much as a urine sample.
Although there are only 34 athletes on the World Championship Tour, the ASP has a policy of random testing, spokesman Dave Prodan told the magazine—which means not everyone gets tested.
“The formula for testing on Tour is designed to be random and occurs at different points in the event windows,” said Prodan.
Although this lack of uniformity has caused some surfers to question the seriousness of the new policy—“Either do it or don’t,” said one—an anonymous source within the ASP suggested that the organization lacks the resources to conduct expensive, WADA-approved tests in remote places like Fiji.
Last year the ASP announced it would follow World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines in order to promote surfing’s growing professionalism.