Surfing is set to make a big step to address controversies that hounded the sport and its athletes with regards to drugs use. The international body governing the event of surfing will be implementing a comprehensive drug testing for all their professional athletes for the first time.
This year, the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) will introduce their own policy in the screening of professional surfers and officials involved in the sport for performance-enhancing drugs and recreational drugs.
In November 2010, the sport took the world’s spotlight when its triple world champion Andy Irons suddenly died from heart attack due to “acute mixed drug ingestion.” Autopsy reports showed that the world class surfer had traces of methamphetamine, methadone, and a metabolite of cocaine in his bloodstream.
Spokesman for the ASP Dave Prodan confirmed that the drug testing policy is part of their plan in enhancing professionalism in the sport. ”This motion has the full support of the surfers on tour as they want to be taken more professionally, and believe this is a step in the right direction.”
In the sport, professional surfers get to compete for prize money of up to $100,000. This is why some events in Europe have already implemented drug testing for all competitors.
Professional surfer Gerry Fitzgerald shares his opinion on drugs within his sport. “I have seen guys who are stoners and they drop off the scene because it is not sustainable. Athletes are training hard. The way the contests are now, it will catch up with you.”