Drug testing for pro surfers
PROFESSIONAL surfers will soon undergo comprehensive drug testing as part of a new policy being developed by the Association of Surfing Professionals.
Byron Bay-based surfer Kieren Perrow, who recently won the Pipe Masters, is also on the association's board of directors.
Yesterday he told The Northern Star he welcomed drug testing.
But Perrow denied that the decision had been made following the death of triple world champion Andy Irons in November 2010.
An autopsy found that Irons had a variety of drugs in his system.
"What happened to Andy was a tragedy," Perrow said.
"It was definitely a wake-up call.
"But the ASP has been talking about drug testing for professionals for about three or four years.
"It's a fairly involved process and something we have been working towards."
It is hoped that drug testing for surfers will eventually be recognised and endorsed by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
At this stage the association's policy is a "precursor" to that.
"We have got to start somewhere," Perrow said.
"People have been drug tested before, but it's been very random."
Perrow also said he hoped the new drug testing policy would banish the stereotype that surfing had a drug culture.
He said professional surfers took their sport "very seriously".
"I have been surfing for a long, long time and I know that the guys out there work hard and train hard to get where they are," he said.
"Young kids coming into the sport now are just as passionate.
"And they know that you can't perform to the best of your ability when you're taking drugs.
"But in saying that, if our athletes have issues, we want to be able to identify those and offer support and help, Kieren said.