SURFING EVENTS ON HOLD: Pro sufers such as Tyler Wright will have more time for free surfing and training after the World Surf League annonced it putting some events on hold and cancelling others due to the COVID-19 situation. Photo: AAP
SURFING EVENTS ON HOLD: Pro sufers such as Tyler Wright will have more time for free surfing and training after the World Surf League annonced it putting some events on hold and cancelling others due to the COVID-19 situation. Photo: AAP

Wipe-out for prestigious surfing events

PROFESSIONAL surfers will have more time to free surf, after one of the world’s longest running surfing competitions was postponed.

The World Surf League has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by announcing it would postpone or cancel all events, at all levels of competition, through until the end of May.

This includes the venerable Rip Curl Pro, held annually at Easter at Bells Beach, Victoria.

Other events in the Australian leg of the Championship Tour, such as the Margaret River Pro, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards, are now in question.

The Quiksilver Pro G-Land scheduled to take place in a remote part of Indonesia in June will either be canceled or moved to an area with more infrastructure.

Surfing NSW is expected to make an announcement this afternoon in regard to future events.

However, on their webpage the organisation made it clear that it was liaising closely with state health authorities.

“The Sydney surf pro event was our last with multinational competitors until later in 2020,” the post said.

“We plan to continue with our regular program of events as currently anticipated, although we will liaise closely with key stakeholders including State and Local Government (and) follow Department of Health recommendations and advise if anything changes.”

Meanwhile, WSL chief executive Erik Logan said full details about the impact these changes will have on the 2020 Tour were not yet available, but they were working diligently to land the best solution for surfers and fans alike.

“We have every intention of commencing the 2020 Championship Tour season, and all our tours, as soon as possible,” he said,

“We are already hard at work doing scenario planning for what a reimagined 2020 tour might look like”.

Logan said the current and quickly evolving changes to international travel were making it extremely challenging to determine an appropriate time to recommence and get surfers to and from event locations safely.

“The WSL’s primary concern right now is for the health and safety for our athletes, fans and global employees.”

He said June was the most likely time to kick off the 2020 season safely.