The UK response is currently very much ‘Good luck!’ mixed with ‘Keep calm and carry on’ but the wider world is shutting down borders and sports events a rapid rate. The latest to go is the fittingly named Corona Pro, the opening event of the WSL big league season. That’s cancelled and a bunch of other events have been postponed to hopefully be rescheduled down the track. Uncertain times mean it’s the wisest course of action.
Due to the rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution for the safety of athletes, fans, and staff, the World Surf League (WSL) has made the decision to cancel all events yet to commence at all tour levels, worldwide for the remainder of March, including the opening event of the 2020 Championship Tour (CT) on the Gold Coast in Australia. Additionally, the WSL has canceled the Papara Pro Open Tahiti.
This decision is based on guidance from the World Health Organization, who has declared that COVID-19 is now a global pandemic, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, governments and local public health authorities where events are being held.
“Coronavirus is having massive consequences for sporting events and gatherings of all kinds around the world, and we are no different,” said WSL CEO Erik Logan. “We did not take this decision lightly as we are aware that it has a significant impact on the surfing community. However, the health and safety of our athletes, fans, and staff are paramount. From the standpoint of social responsibility, we also take very seriously the role our events might play in accelerating the spread of the virus. We’ve been in close contact with our athletes and we feel strongly that this is the right thing to do right now.”
“The fluid nature of this situation is forcing us to evaluate things day-by-day, and even hour-by-hour,” Logan said. “As this continues to evolve, we’ll continue to adapt, endeavoring to make the next right decision each day.”
Based on the information available at this time, the WSL is not currently canceling any additional events beyond this time frame. The situation continues to evolve, and the league is closely monitoring and evaluating the status of upcoming events, including the next CT event at Bells Beach in Victoria, Australia.
The WSL is carefully considering the impact of these cancellations on its tours and will provide further information in due course.
For all events currently in progress, the WSL has implemented a range of safety protocols as well as protective guidelines for athletes and staff. These include information on travel advisories and restrictions so anyone traveling can plan their travel routes to and from events to best limit their potential exposure; additional hand-washing facilities and hand sanitizer at events; and minimizing surfer and fan interactions.
List of currently canceled or postponed events:
Papara Pro Open Tahiti, French Polynesia – canceled
Piha Pro Junior, New Zealand – postponed
Corona Piha Pro, New Zealand – postponed
Seat Pro Netanya, Israel – postponed
Barbados Surf Pro, Barbados – postponed
Corona Open Gold Coast, Australia – canceled
WSL Awards – postponed
Red Bull Airborne Gold Coast, Australia – canceled
Jack’s Surfboards Pro, USA – postponed
Longboard Pro Espinho, Portugal – postponed
Caparica Surf Fest Pro, Portugal – postponed
Central Japan Open, Japan – postponed
Krui Pro, Indonesia – postponed