Statement on the Fronton King 2018
The Fronton King is due to start in the Canary Islands and the APB wishes to clarify the reasons why this exceptional bodyboarding venue was not able to be included on the APB WGS Tour for 2018.
Lengthy negotiations were held with the organizers of the Fronton King to ensure that it was the world champion crowning event of the 2018 tour since the start of this calendar year. These negotiations took place under a cloud of uncertainty due to the fact that organizers of the Fronton King event had failed to APB staff for services provided and sanctioning from the 2017 event. A large substantial amount of money that included athletes prize money and staff payments was owing since the 2017 event.
In July this money was paid (9 months later), only after the APB was pressured into signing a document that could be used to show government bodies in the Canary Islands that the event would be an APB Tour event for 2018. The APB signed this document with the communication that negotiations were still ongoing with the organizers.
Sanction fees are paid in full each year by all WGS event promoters. What has not been public knowledge for many years is that special consideration had been given to the Fronton King organizers in the form of a discounted sanction fee, in order to facilitate the growth of the event and to ensure that such a quality venue had a place at the pinnacle of the sport of bodyboarding.
There are minimum requirements to host an APB Tour WGS event and the organizers of the Fronton King in the end failed to meet these minimum requirements. These requirements were in consideration of safety (two jet skis at high risk location like Fronton) and also the sharing of content to the riders who risk their lives in each and every heat. At the 2017 event, riders were barred from the organizers of the Fronton King event to access content from their heats, with the organizers seeking to extract financial gain from riders for imagery.
The APB at the time found this to be unacceptable and communicated this to organizers. They also found it unacceptable that the safety resources (jet-ski) of the event were used for the leisure of some viewers (joy rides) while APB riders were in the water risking their lives.
During negotiations with the promoters of the Fronton King event it was made clear that ample government funding had been acquired by the organizers but that the organizers still refused to pay the minimum sanction fee required. It also became apparent during this period of negotiation that organizers of the Fronton King began discussions to potentially form a ‘rebel tour’ that would could potentially undermine the APB.
At this point it became clear that the organizers of the Fronton King were not participating in the negotiations in good faith and a Board decision was made to hold sanctioning back from the event and seek to inform government funding sources that this decision had been made.
The APB is a for-profit entity that has been developing its product over a number of years with the hope of either selling a percentage of this product (the APB Tour) to an investor, who will bring resources and money to bodyboarding that will see it grow even further. The APB believes that this strategy will be good for the sport and the athletes prize purses and the development sector of the sport to increase participation across the globe.
The team behind the APB have done a tremendous job of building bodyboarding back up over a number of years to get to this point where they finally have something of value that an investor may put their money into.
When building a product like the APB, the riders are ultimately the number one asset. Without the riders, the product dies. Just like it is in the WSL (which is why WSL athletes aren’t able to go and compete in events that are not sanctioned either). If the Fronton King isn’t sanctioned, then the riders simply can’t compete, otherwise, the product that the APB has built crumbles overnight.
The APB has made a ruling that any seeded APB rider (top 24) who competes in the Fronton King will be stripped of their 2018 points and lose their seeding for 2019. This decision was made because the APB wanted to give riders the choice to either continue to support the development of the APB or choose to risk its development. Only riders living on the Canary Islands were given the opportunity to compete without penalty.
In addition, this penalty on the riders was made out of respect for other promoters of APB events who follow the rules and agree to the sanctioning requirements of the tour.
The APB management is deeply apologetic to the fans of the APB Tour and to the riders as they are the ones who lose in the end. The APB hopes that there can either be new management of the Fronton King who choose to work with the APB, or that the existing management team of the Fronton King comes back to negotiations in good faith for the competitive year of 2019.
The APB has been developed so that bodyboarding can find its rightful place in the mix of action sports globally and looks forward to the support of riders, promotors and fans in 2019.