Rip Curl sign three year contract for WSL Finals
Overnight, Rip Curl and the WSL announced that Rip Curl will sponsor the inaugural Finals Series at Trestles this year, and also for the following two years.
The signing of the three year contract means that all bar one of this year's ten planned events have naming sponsors. The Surf Ranch Pro now being the only white label contest.
It's the first time since 2014, when the WSL assumed full operation of the Championship Tour, that so many contests have naming sponsors, and harks back to the industry glory days when the 'Big 3' - Rip Curl, Billabong, and Quiksilver - propped up the tour.
If all goes to plan, Rip Curl will have sponsored four of this year's events*, which is the most CT events the company ever has, and ironically they're doing so in a year without their signature event, the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach.
Of course, things have changed a lot since those pre-GFC halcyon days, and there's no doubt that Rip Curl scooped the rights at a reduced rate, but the move bodes well for all the stakeholders: sponsor, League, and CT surfers too.
After their 2019 acquisition by Kathmandu, Rip Curl have been conspicuous in staying the course and not deviating from their core roots the way other brands such as Hurley, Billabong, and Quiksilver have. Post-acquisition, Rip Curl's Neil Ridgway told Swellnet that supporting pro surfing "is what surf brands do."
The news also boosts the beleagured World Surf League who, even before COVID hit, had weathered a contraction of sponsorship in the CT. The Rip Curl arrests that slide and perhaps even augurs for a new era on the CT with an overhaul to scheduling and format.
Lastly, the CT surfers will welcome the news as it provides much-needed financial suport for the League, not to mention confidence in the longevity of the circuit so other sponsors may also stake a claim.
Rip Curl will this year sponsor the Newcastle Cup, Narrabeen Classic, Rottnest Search, and the WSL Finals at Trestles.
*It's the most events Rip Curl have ever sponsored, having supported three CT events in 2005/2006.