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.