Pro Surfers Set to Begin Drug Testing

By McCarton Ackerman 02/27/12

Surfers are belatedly joining the ranks of sports pros that are regularly tested for drugs.

Champion surfer Andy Irons, who died in
Photo via

Professional surfers are set to join the ranks of most other pro sports and undergo random testing at events throughout the year for both performance enhancing and recreational drugs. The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) kicked off the testing last week at the Quiksilver Pro at Snapper in Australia. Although the guidelines haven't been published, the standards would be similar to those applied to Olympic athletes. Former state legislator and active surfer Fred Hemmings has been pushing for the drug tests since 1988. He says the primary purpose will be to help surfers identify any drug or alcohol problems. "I think all responsible sports are starting to do it now," he adds. "They do it in the Olympics and they do it in other professional sports, and I thought it would be adequate for surfing, too." Three-time world champion Andy Irons was the most recent pro surfer to succumb after his drug-related death in 2010, aged 32. While some surfers have anonymously admitted their concerns that marijuana is one of the drugs the ASP will test for, 11-time world champion Kelly Slater says he has no problems with the testing.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.