Yesterday it was revealed that world number 2 Caroline Marks, had returned a positive result after undergoing a mandatory Covid-19 test before boarding the WSL’s Australian bound charter flight, and will not be on board when it touches down in Oz.

It’s a huge blow for the 19-year-old Floridian, who was right in the mix to claim a world title in 2021.

On Instagram she posted:

Hi guys,

Some very unfortunate news, I tested positive for Covid-19. I will not be making the charter flight to Austrailia tonight. I am following all the Covid protocols and do expect to be competing when I’m cleared. I want to wish all the WSL competitors and staff a safe flight. I’ll Keep everyone posted.

The takeaway from Caroline’s Insta post, apart from her misspelling of Australia, is that she expects to be competing once she is cleared. Whether that means she will somehow take a later flight into Australia and quarantine in time to compete at one of the later events of the Australian leg, or wait until the tour moves on (tentatively) to the Oi Rio Pro in Brazil or the Corona Open J-Bay we’re not sure.

The WSL’s take?

The World Surf League (WSL) has tested all passengers traveling to Australia on WSL's charter flight. Caroline Marks tested positive for COVID-19 and is therefore unable to board the flight. All other tests were negative. The necessary contact tracing has been conducted and Marks, as well as any close contacts, are self-quarantining and following all appropriate COVID protocols. WSL will continue to monitor the situation.

In accordance with Australian federal and state requirements, everyone on the charter flight will undertake 14 days of mandatory quarantine and receive a medical clearance from public health officials before entering the general community.

It comes on the back of the news that Kelly Slater will also not be present in Australia when the season recommences, citing a variety of niggling injuries as the cause, but could also be the fact that he doesn’t have the desire to surf heats in average Australian beachies.