Here is the essence of my online response:
Shaun Tomson deserves respect, he’s earned it, but I’m not sure the ASP needs a big time PR firm. What it needs is a PR firm that knows surfing- Lionize PR, SnL Communications and Bill Byrne PR are some really good examples. The most important aspect of any PR campaign is passion and only the people who surf will get it and know how to pitch it. If the ASP wants more exposure they should sign a TV deal, which looks like it may happen soon with the recent Alli announcement- although I know it’s not quite there yet. All the money that pays the major sports teams players comes from TV deals. The model is out there.
A PR firm will not make ASP a better product as Shaun addresses with regards to the commentary. With each brand investing millions into the comp, they deserve to have their own commentary. Although I know scholarships may exist, if you look at every major sports association they invest huge amounts of time and resources to non-profits and charities. The ASP needs to get behind a charity, few are fine but focus on one, and require WCT & WQS surfers to spend time in their community building playgrounds, surf camps, schools, irrigation systems, etc.
The nature of surfing is that we are all slackers. And there is some truth to that. We skip school, work and responsibilities to go surfing. It’s our lifestyle and the foundation of our hero’s personalities. You can’t rewire the surfing culture for the MSM, but you can show that when there isn’t surf we’re giving back.