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Surfing's World Body to Roll Out Drug Screening

13th January 2012
Surfing's World Body to Roll Out Drug Screening

#SURFING - The world governing body for surfing is set to roll out drug screening for competitors and officials at its sanctioned events this year.

As The Guardian reports, the move by the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) comes after the drug-related death of top surfer Andy Irons in November 2010.

The former three time world champion was found to have died from a hart attack combined with "acute mixed drug ingestion".

Irish surfer Gerry Fitzgerald told the paper that drug-taking is "not sustainable" for top-level surfers on the circuit. "Athletes are training hard, the way the contests are now, it will catch up with you," he said.

Testing for performance-enhancing and recreational drugs is already carried out at a number of professional events in the UK and Ireland, according to This Is Cornwall.

Matthew Knight of the steering committee for the British Surf Championships welcomed the change, admitting that surfing had been a "dinosaur" in its approach to drug testing and needed to catch up with other sports.

However some concerns have been raised that the move could damage surfing's credibility as an 'underground' phenomenon.

"Part of its appeal is that it is counter-cultural, marginal and in some way subversive and that's where the association with drugs comes in, whether real or mythic," surfer and author Andy Martin told The Guardian. "How mainstream can surfing be before losing its soul?"

Published in Surfing
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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