It's looking like this new Dream Tour is going to happen after all. SurfingLife obtained a copy of an e-mail Kelly Slater sent last night to World Tour surfers where Slater said, "ESPN has signed on to support and fully back a tour to potentially start next year. This is huge news and opportunity. This would include a 'new' tour based on what the surfers want to have in terms of judging, locations, formats, etc.
"The sponsors that are currently sponsoring ourselves and our tour events have all been contacted and included in discussions to potentially have events on this tour. It would also include a dedicated, full-time web team and signature look to all events. Basically they are looking to present a fully professional sports package of surfing to the world with dedicated prime time TV and the best, live webcasting available.”
Slater also wanted to emphasize that this isn't "his" tour. “It is not 'my' tour any more than it would be the next guy to surf on it. I simply have some ideas, like the overlap format sometimes used by the ASP, that these guys would like to use in creating a tour,” wrote Slater. “It is simply being called 'The Kelly Tour' by ASP for whatever reason they have to call it that, probably cause they heard I had spoken to the guys behind it. It could much more accurately be called 'The ESPN Tour' or possibly 'The IMG Tour'.”
Making matters even more interesting is the fact that ASP head/suit Brodie Carr is in the dark over this new Dream Tour. "...everyone keeps asking me all these questions, and I don’t know anything! I wasn’t at the meeting when Terry brought the idea to the companies. We just signed all our events up for another nine years this year, so we’ve got our events locked in. We’re business as usual,” said Carr.
Slater's e-mail finished with a jab towards the ASP. “Basically, if there's a way to create a much better situation for surfers and a tour and this is it, I'm in,” wrote Slater. ”Does the ASP cease to exist if this goes forward? No. Not necessarily ... Has ASP failed pro surfing? I don't think so but I also don't truly feel it's done the best job that can be done.”
A writer for the Noosa Journal named Phil Jarratt (who coincidentally helped write Kelly Slater’s last book) is reporting that Slater’s business manager, Terry Hardy, is finalizing a deal with ESPN that would start a new surfing Dream Tour next year. The Dream Tour would consist of eight stops, feature 16 surfers (including Slater), offer over a million dollars in prize money (the ASP World Tour offers $300,000), be televised on ESPN, and Slater himself would be the figurehead.
Freddy Pattachia, who found his version of The Dingo (meaning one of his friends figured out a way to add coattails like The Dingo did with Danny Kass and is now riding them) and together started yet another surf website (aren’t there enough of them already?), is adding that Slater would compete in the Dream Tour for three years, and that the rumors could very well be true.
The ASP’s been a sinking ship for years now, culminating with
If this does happen, it would shake up surfing like nothing ever has. Remains to be seen if this is just a rumor, or if we’ll be seeing the top 16 surfers in the world competing on Kelly Slater’s Dream Tour next year.