At first glance, it looks like any ordinary photo of two young surfing champs celebrating their wins, but people are furious about this image.
Rio Waida from Indonesia and Zoe Steyn from East London took out the premier Pro Junior titles at the Billabong Junior Series in Ballito on Sunday and were both awarded prize money for their amazing efforts.
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And it’s that prize money that has sparked outrage across the world.
As you can see in the above image, boys champ Waida won 8000 South African rand (AUD$786), whilst girls champ Steyn took home half of that… 4000 rand (AUD$393).
People were quick to notice the cheques and didn’t hold back on voicing their thoughts on social media.
“Seriously? I’d be embarrassed sharing this photo. Half the prize money for winning the same competition?” Twitter user Paul Nicolson wrote.
— Luke Hilakari (@lhilakari) June 26, 2018
And it wasn’t long before event organisers of The Ballito Pro and the WSL both issued separate statements addressing the prize money.
“The Ballito Pro maintains its stance as a pro-gender equality competition, which is evident from the ongoing development of the women’s series year-on-year,” festival organisers said.
“Based on this commitment to equality, we are meeting with all relevant stakeholders to discuss how any potential discrepancies can be resolved going forward.
“We are grateful to everyone who brought awareness to this issue and we value all the contribution, comment and participation that has prompted discussions, at the highest level, for a speedy resolution.”
WSL said they’re currently in the process of instituting pay parity across all disciplines.
“In recent years, the organization has instituted pay parity at the Championship Tour level and we are in the process of instituting across other disciplines. As we continue to steward and enhance professional surfing worldwide, our focus will be on elevating the development tiers in this area,” the World Surf League said.
“The issue raised with regards to the Billabong Ballito Pro Junior stemmed from a pay parity execution based on original 32-man and 16-woman fields. However, withdrawals from the men’s event left a 24-man field (withdrawals saw only 14 ultimately compete on the women’s side) and a subsequent pay disparity between the two events.”
“This is an important topic to us. Our sport features amazing women athletes who compete alongside their male counterparts. We are committed to providing a platform for the best surfers in the world, regardless of gender, and recognize that prizing is an important factor in creating that platform.”