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World Surf League hires former Disney executive to lead wave technology business
The World Surf League (WSL) has appointed former Disney executive Nick Franklin as President of its Kelly Slater Wave Company (KSWC) operation.
Franklin’s role will be driving the growth and development of the business globally, pursuing strategic and operational integration with the WSL and leading the continued innovation and evolution of the product, including the wave, the venues and the customer experience.
WSL Holdings, parent company of the WSL, agreed a deal to acquire a majority stake in the wave technology company formed by legend of the sport Kelly Slater, in May 2016. At the time, the WSL and KSWC envisioned the build-out of a global network of WSL-branded high-performance training centres utilising this wave technology.
Used this past weekend for WSL Tour event the Kelly Slater Pro at the KSWC developed Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California, USA, the technology creates what is claimed to be the best man-made wave in history - a 600 metre, high-performance, bi-directional wave featuring barrel, manoeuvre and air sections.
Announcing Franklin’s recent appointment, WSL Chief Executive Sophie Goldschmidt, stated “it's a time of unprecedented opportunity for the company with so many exciting aspects to develop, so Nick's incredible experience, stellar reputation and proven track record will make him vital to the successful future of KSWC and the WSL.
“Surf Ranch is transformational to surfing and for all those that have experienced its unique stoke, and Nick will push the boundaries of exceptional customer experience even further.”
Franklin (pictured) joins the WSL following a long career at the Walt Disney Company. During his 18 years with Disney, Franklin worked in corporate strategy and in the theme park and resort business unit where he led teams across a wide range of functions including global strategy, business development, real estate development, and brand and operations.
Following his time at Disney, Franklin served as Executive Vice-President of strategic Operations for KB Home.
Commenting on his new role, Franklin stated “having a chance to see the capabilities of this superb team, I can see all of the enormous potential and am looking forward to building on the amazing foundation of work that's been done so far by both the KSWC team and partners at the WSL.
“With the wave technology, Surf Ranch in Lemoore and the connection to the WSL, we have an incredible platform to engage with passionate surfers and also connect with those new to sport to expand the business.”
7th September 2018 - World Surf League stages first Tour event using artificial wave technology
6th September 2018 - World Surf League makes commitment to prize money equality
8th August 2018 - New artificial surfing attractions to open in Japan
21st February 2018 - URBNSURF announces investment backing for Australia’s first surf park
29th November 2017 - 2018 World Surf League calendar to include artificial wave park venue
27th November 2017 - Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mayor plans artificial beach and surf wave attraction
4th August 2016 - New sports confirmed for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games
25th January 2012 - Slater makes waves with plans for artificial surf
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