Inside The ASP’s Drug Testing Policy

posted by / News / April 18, 2014

Kolohe Andino Western Australia
If Kolohe Andino keeps getting this high…sorry, had to. Photo: Corey Wilson

Last week, we saw the Drug Aware Pro at Margaret River — an event meant to educate Western Australia’s youth about the perils of drug abuse. Michel Bourez won and the kids all learned a valuable life lesson: steal your father’s carve, not your grandfather’s prescriptions. Awareness was spread. The folks at the ASP, however, were already very aware of drugs. In fact, they’ve been drug testing their athletes lately. There’s a policy in effect that ensures your favorite surfers dare to resist drugs. A policy that’ll protect us from having some bastard pick up Lance’s syringe and delegitimize an entire sport. A policy that will keep the world’s best surfers safe and healthy. Dope has no place in the ASP locker room, not even as an adjective.

The ASP’s VP of Communications, Dave Prodan, is an elegant man with a very diplomatic tone. We inquired about the drug testing policy and Dave was kind enough to dot our i’s, cross our t’s and maybe even sample our pees. —Brendan Buckley

SURFING MAGAZINE: Is this the first year that the ASP is drug testing?
DAVE PRODAN: The drug testing policy was introduced in 2011 and has been in place ever since. But with ZoSea’s acquisition of the ASP, we now have a better resource team and have been able to institute more funds into the program this year.

Did the death of Andy Irons have anything to do with the policy’s introduction?
Instituting an anti-doping policy was always something that the board of directors wanted to do. But I think it’s safe to say that someone like Andy passing away expedites that. We’re going back to a time where the ASP didn’t have a huge amount of resources, but the board of directors felt it was necessary to activate a policy at that time. Everyone including the surfers were unanimously supportive of it.

Can you guarantee that every surfer will be tested this year?
Athletes, coaches, trainers, judges, media and staff can and will be tested, but selections are entirely random. Part of the injection of funding means that more people will be tested. It’s not a cheap exercise, but it’s part of the ASP’s commitment to make the policy more robust and package it into a comprehensive athlete service program.

In terms of disciplinary action, is there a difference between recreational drugs and performance enhancing drugs?
We have a two-fold approach. Anyone who tests positive for PEDs will immediately be suspended for however long the disciplinary committee rules. And it would be publicly announced immediately. For recreational drugs, it’s sort of a three strike rule. The ASP is focused on education and rehabilitation if a surfer tests positive for those substances. Our policy is consistent with a lot of other sports out there.

So if somebody gets one strike, would we hear about it?
You would hear about it on the third strike. The third strike warrants suspension and a ruling, just like the PEDs. We feel it’s important to protect the surfers and their privacy and focus on getting them the help they need. The policy is important for the surfers in that regard. And it adds legitimacy to surfing. We feel as though it’s an effective way to safeguard both the surfers and the sport.

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  • Ben

    And what if a surfer refuses a PED test? A little bird told me that’s already happened.

  • Really

    why would Kelly not pee @Ben?

  • Albert

    three strikes a season or three strikes a career? Pick your parties wisely…

  • CT

    “Athletes, coaches, trainers, judges, media and staff can and will be texted, but selections are entirely random.”
    They are going to text everyone?
    Or did you mean test?
    I don’t get it, either way.
    Also, isn’t it only fair if you test everyone? We all know there is nothing random about random testing. How do know they are not protecting any of there cash cow surfers… like Slater.

  • SurfingKook

    Shows you how screwed up this tour is. Why wouldn’t the ASP rate their problems from 1-to-10. Start with problem 1 and fix it. Then go to problem 2 and fix that. Then problem 3,4,5… Is drug testing a top priority? Fix the judging first. Then fix the webcasts and make it more interactive for its viewers. I can go on and on…but what’s the point. When the monkeys are given bananas they aren’t going to listen.

  • dontneednochokebrain

    testing media? So Jimmicane won’t be able to cover contests anymore? No way.

    CT-Slater is pretty much clear about where he is on using recreational drugs, and has been for years. But other surfers–probably much more of an issue. My guess though is that some of the top guys, especially those over 30, got most of it out of their system when younger, and they’re focused on surfing and training and winning.
    Ben–did the birdie say which surfer? Please spill more beans.
    SurfingKook—good points. Judging sucks. But, keeping another surfer from OD’ing/dying of drug related deaths is something that is worthy of concern.

  • MV

    no two things compliment one-another more than marijuana and surfing.

  • michael

    Drugs are for losers.

    Be a man say no.

  • knucklesOSS

    I am all for this policy and think it’s perhaps overdue. These kinds of policies will not only help athletes get help if they need it but ensure that groms role models are being accountable. I think it also help solidify the legitimacy of professional surfing seeing how so many other professional sports have these policies in place.

  • chris.ambut

    this will affect the C.T guys more than a top 32 .or the round of 96 .so groms watch out .GlassMaster

  • jim samuels

    Typo alert 2: “it was necessary to active a policy at that time” I think you mean activate.

    Also the other guy was spot on as far as what to fix. Judging needs to get fixed ASAP. It’s horrendous and seems to only be getting worse year after year.

    As to comment about jimmicane, I’ve never heard of him using much in the way of drugs. Beers and booze sure, but not much else.

  • Aloha Alex

    Ya gonna test for alcohol? No. That’s why this is Nazi. The steroid type drugs has no place in professional sports competition so test for that – only. To control if someone wants to relax to a spliff is ludicrous. Heck, a quarter of the NBA likes to puff! (I’m guessing, might be more lol).

  • masniffur

    the only thing Jimmicane ”takes” is pictures

  • CT

    @dontneednochokebrain I wasn’t referring to recreational drugs with Slater. Testing for recreational drugs is only done to protect there investment in these guys. Why else would it matter if someone gets high?

  • Cdog

    They should just not test for THC. PED’s sure. Lots of surfers smoke and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with these guys smoking marijuana if they want to. Heck, it’s legal in two states now.

  • dontneednochokebrain

    CT–please clarify, if you don’t mind. if not recreational, then PED? what makes you think he’s taking such? I don’t follow all the rumor mills, so I’m curious if there are rumors or something upon which you’re basing your statement. I remember Neco Padaratz back in the day was busted, but most of these guys have been surfing all their lives and are already fit, so I’m surprised it may even be an issue, let alone with someone like Slater.

  • Tom

    I am very glad of this decision, I am always worrying about the day that I hear on the news that a pro surfer has died after injecting 7 marijuanas.

  • Badinskas


    Is cocaine still on the list of ASP’s RECREATIONAL drug list? That has got to be the ultimate punchline to how serious ASP has been about drug testing, ah ah.

    Also: testing Media, that has also got to be a joke as to how fake this drug testing thing really is.

    The 3 strike rule is absolutely ludicrous and unheard of in any sport, especially because they won’t even disclose who has any strikes. So, if it is kept in secret what’s to guarantee us you’ll actually sanction anyone or, worse, you won’t sanction some protégés?

    Dave Prodan may be elegant and diplomatic, but like most diplomats, he’s full of it

    P.S. I’d love to see some national sport drug testing organisms show up on site, test the athletes (and some ASP staff too) under international laws like they’re entitled to and publish the results. Let’s not forget Armstrong was caught on drug tests not run by the UCI (the ASP of cycling that actively tried to cover Lance’s positive tests).

  • Jay

    Surfers getting tested for PEDs, LMAO. Yeah, Im sure all these surfers that weigh 150lbs are taking PEDs. And PEDs help you surf so much better, LMAO

  • Mike J..

    @ Badinskas says: that pretty much says it all….
    Random testing, what??

  • Sugarloaf

    The Tour isn’t their babysitter so “random” drug tests for recreational substances really isn’t the tour’s responsibility nor their business. Coke, weed, speed, pills, whatever aren’t going to improve an athlete’s performance so if they choose to screw their careers by burning out from too much partying tough shit for them. If anyone their personal sponsers should be making sure the surfers aren’t getting high, underperforming and wasting their time and money.

    Performance enhancing drug testing (steriods, etc) definitly is the responsability of the organisors though, those substances do give an unfair competitive advantage. Especially as there have been quite a few suspiciously rapid recoveries from injuries from some surfers over the years.