World Surf League CEO Erik Logan exits during Brazilian event in middle of season

Erik Logan, the chief executive of professional surfing’s World Surf League, has left the company effective immediately, part-way through the sport’s 10-stop world tour.

No reason for the abrupt departure was given, and Logan, a former president of Oprah Winfrey’s OWN television network, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The announcement comes during the WSL’s Brazilian contest and just weeks after several top Brazilian surfers criticised some of the judging at the WSL-owned Surf Ranch wave pool contest in California.

Since joining the WSL in 2019, Logan had boosted the sport’s profile with deals for surf-based TV shows including Apple TV’s Make or Break.

During his tenure the WSL introduced a number of major changes on the world tour including a mid-year cut of about a third of the surfers, which proved unpopular with many of them.

He also rescheduled the traditional season-ending contest at Hawaii’s famous Pipeline in favour of a one-day, winner-take-all finals contest in Southern California for the top five men’s and women’s surfers.

The WSL said that while it begins the process of identifying a new CEO, Emily Hofer, WSL’s Chief People & Purpose Officer, and Bob Kane, Chief Operating Officer & Chief Legal Officer, will jointly lead the company.

The WSL, owned by American billionaire Dirk Ziff, declined to comment further.