The World Surf League (WSL) has announced the appointment of Andrew Stark as its new general manager for Australia and Oceania.
Stark, who will be based on Australia’s Gold Coast, will lead day-to-day operations of the global surfing organisation in the Australia and Oceania region with a particular focus on partnerships, marketing and public relations and event operations, as well as the development of the first WSL high performance training centre in the area.
The WSL said that Australia’s and Oceania’s commercial development “remains critical for the long-term prospects of WSL”, with the region being home to four Championship Tour locations.
Stark joins the WSL from Surfing Australia, the country’s surfing governing body, where he has served as chief executive for over nine years. During his tenure, Stark spearheaded the development of the Surfing Australia High Performance Centre (HPC).
The news follows a spate of senior executive hires at the WSL since Sophie Goldschmidt took charge last July. Since then, Joseph Carr has been appointed chief strategy officer and Will Chignell as the organisation’s new chief marketing officer.
Commenting on Stark’s appointment, Goldschmidt, chief executive of the WSL, said: “WSL is fortunate to attract another exceptionally well-respected leader in world sport, as we continue to build out our leadership team. We are very lucky to have so many loyal Australian fans, a territory where Andrew will be critical for us as we further develop the surf markets in this country and the fast-evolving Oceania territory. Andrew brings unrivalled surf experience and pedigree from this region and will accelerate the opportunities that exist, we can’t wait to see the positive influence he has on the region and WSL.”
Stark added: “I am genuinely excited by this opportunity to join the WSL leadership team and grow the sport globally to new heights over the coming years. The next few years ahead represent what I believe to be the most exciting growth opportunity and period for global professional surfing in the history of the sport. To be able to work with the WSL and Kelly Slater Wave Co team during this exciting period for the sport is something I am extremely motivated and passionate about.
“I leave Surfing Australia after nine and a half years with absolute satisfaction and pride in the true legacy we have built as a team and I look forward to working with Surfing Australia in my new role at WSL to grow the region further.”