The World Surf League (WSL) is the governing body for professional surfers and is dedicated to showcasing the world's best talent in a variety of progressive formats. The World Surf League was first known as International Professional Surfing, founded in 1976 by Fred Hemmings and Randy Rarick.
IPS created the first world circuit of professional surfing events. In 1983, the Surf Professionals Association took over the management of the world circuit. In 2013 ASP was acquired by ZoSea, backed by Paul Speaker, Terry Hardy and Dirk Ziff. At the beginning of the 2015 season, ASP changed its name to World Surf League. Sophie Goldschmidt was appointed CEO of WSL on 19 July 2017. Paul Speaker stepped down as CEO on January 11, 2017, and Dirk Ziff served as interim WSL CEO until Goldschmidt's appointment.
As of December 2017, WSL had more than 6.5 million Facebook fans, surpassing more established sports like the National Hockey League, Association of Tennis Professionals, and Major League Soccer. The Sports Business Journal reported that 28 million hours of WSL digital video content were consumed during the 2017 season, making WSL the third most watched sport in the United States after the NFL and NBA.