The World Surf League has announced a partnership with the International Surfing Association to adopt a new anti-doping program that will comply with World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code. The decision comes just one year before professional surfing makes its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Professional surfing aligns with Olympic standards
As the international federation for the sport, the International Surfing Association is already a signatory to the WADA Code. However, some see the WSL’s participation in the program as an opportunity to set a positive example. The agreement is also designed to ensure the first Olympic surf participants are eligible under WADA standards.
In a statement, ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:
“I am proud today to see WSL and ISA work together to adopt such a rigorous approach to clean sport. We are on the cusp of a special era in Surfing’s history, and I am excited to be entering this era with robust processes and partners.”
Under the new program, all surfers who participate in the Championship Tour have agreed to drug tests both in and out of the water.
Pro surfing has seen relatively few doping scandals
It may come as a surprise to some that the new commitment to anti-doping in surfing does not seem to stem from an ongoing doping problem in the sport. In fact, surfing has seen only two high-profile doping scandals in the last 15 years: Neco Padaratz, who received a 12-month ban for steroid use, and Raoni Monteiro, whose use of performance-enhancing drugs in 2015 led to a 20-month ban.
As professional surfing moves towards its first Olympic games, competitors will face new challenges. When those challenges include a doping allegation, athletes benefit from the advice of a legal professional with the experience necessary to help them with these new, rigorous anti-doping rules.