Hate to be the one telling you this, but…
New Normal For The WSL?
Hate to be the one telling you this, but…
The new WSL tour is scheduled to kick off in Maui in November for the women and on Oahu in December for the men. This isn’t going to happen. Not a chance.
Stop, take a deep breath, ponder your existence, and think. Think fresh, positive thoughts. Think about glaciers and snow and empty waves, and clear away the detritus that this horrible pandemic has left.
So many people are so confident that this thing is nearly over, and that there are better days ahead. That we will all soon be able to travel on aeroplanes again, fly around the world, go sightseeing and visiting and surfing exotic waves and snowboarding with our families again.
So many of these people are also beholden to the idea that this is all going to happen in 2021. They believe that this year must just hurry up and be done with so that we can start again in 2021. That we need to get all this shit behind us and restart whatever we had going before the world turned into a rank piece of shit.
Unfortunately, if you think that this virus can read a calendar and is going to disappear on 1 January 2021 and that we are going to wake up to a blue sky day and a world that doesn’t need masks and that we can all go and hang out at the beach and watch surf events again, then you are going to come down really hard from whatever drugs you are on.
By the time you read this, the USA will have crested the 4 million mark, and the curve is still pointing quite far up towards the sky. Brazil will be close to the 2.5 million mark of confirmed infections, with their curve also looking rather precarious. South Africa is edging towards half a million confirmed cases.
It is a fact that between the men and women’s tour, there are 25 surfers combined from those three nations. As a percentage, that’s just less than 50% of the total CT tour men and women combined.
This conversation is not about COVID, though, the actual virus. It’s about travel and transport.
The USA is probably going to open up a few borders for travel because it seems that they are keen to get the economy going. Still, it is not going to be that soon, and it has a long list of loopholes and requirements before it is all smooth sailing.
Some USA airlines, however, have already decided that they’re not opening up until specific requirements are met. This includes the rate of infection, the death rate and the general spread reaches particular numbers. Wise moves.
Brazil, on the other hand, is running rife at the moment, and their borders are strained, with precise guidelines for International travel. They are still in a very compromised position with regards to events, crowds and social distancing. From all accounts, people do not really want to travel and climb into an aeroplane. Does anyone?
I reached out to a few global surf industry leaders for their opinion, and I reached out to a few friends who hold positions in government. I also reached out to a few friends in the medical profession in Australia, and a few such in America. My question was surf events, when?
Most people came in at 9 months from now until we’re good to go. Some said more, and some said less, but the average was 9 months until we can start doing things like having surf events again. On top of actual regulations, most people don’t want to catch COVID and don’t want to run the risk by travelling. There are very few people who want to put themselves into the firing line and take the risk. It seems a poor decision.
The new WSL plan is highly unlikely, sorry to say. It was a great speech from Erik Logan but it was in essence, spin-doctoring, and just what we the public needed to hear. I believe, and I have known to be wrong, that we can expect event cancellations, most likely fast and thick. Not all doom and gloom, though, the current paradigm is very conducive for more emphasis on domestic tours, and this can still come good for everyone. WSL, surfers and sponsors.
Domestic tours are going to be vital to keep the sport alive, and I believe they are the future. I also think that we still have a long, dark teatime to get through, and it’ll take about 9 months, starting now.
Tracks Note: We hope that Craig Jarvis and his collective of experts are wrong but when Jarvis suggested the scale of COVID would be much greater than we anticipated back in late Feb he copped a lot of online abuse and scepticism. Unfortunately, he and his sources were right back then and we have watched the pandemic rip the planet apart since.
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