THE Bass Coast Shire Council and Surfing Victoria have committed to promoting gender equality with an increase in prize money at the Phillip Island Pro to ensure both men and women have the same overall prize money.
The Phillip Island Pro, which is in its first year, is a World Surf League Qualifying Series event that allows surfers to gain points and experience on their way to making the Championship Tour.
Total prize money will now total $20,000 for the event.
Bass Coast Shire Mayor, Cr Pamela Rothfield, said council is committed to providing equal opportunities.
“We are thrilled to be able to contribute to this event and increase the prizemoney to ensure men and women receive equal prize money.”
“It is true that, as in many sports, there are fewer female competitors in this surfing event.
“However, this is a case of the chicken or the egg: Having fewer opportunities to develop and less prize money available contributes to fewer females compelled and encouraged to pursuit surfing.
“Creating equal prizemoney is a small step towards a big change.
“Bass Coast is proud to have many young, up and coming surfers and I truly hope that their future sees many events with equal prize money.”
Surfing Victoria CEO, Adam Robertson, is excited to be one of the few surfing events in the world with equal prize money.
“Surfing Victoria is committed to seeing gender equality across all aspects of the sport.”
“We have been running surfing female programs for over 20 years to ensure that both men and women get the same opportunities in and out of the water.”
“It is fantastic that the Bass Coast Shire share this commitment and have increased the prize money on offer.”
Local Phillip Island surfer Sage Goldsbury is also thrilled about the announcement.
“It’s really good to see equal prize money for both men and women, ever since I learnt that there is a difference in prize money, I have hoped to see more money for the women.”
“I’m stoked the local council have put in extra money because it shows that they care about female surfers in the area.
“There are some great female surfers from Phillip Island and the more support we get the better.”
Other local female surfers to benefit from the increased prize money include Sophie Fletcher, Daisy Corbett and Poppy Corbett.
Entries for the event have now exceeded 100 competitors with countries represented including Canada, USA, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and England.
Entries for the event have been extended and will close on Monday, October 23.
Competitors can enter via the WSL Member Pro system at www.worldsurfleague.com
The Phillip Island Pro QS1000 is presented by the Bass Coast Shire and Victorian Government, and supported by Westernport Water, Phillip Island Nature Park, Surfing Victoria, Surf Meal Co., Ramada Resort and Coastalwatch.
More information on the World Surf League can be found at www.worldsurfleague.com