Just when you thought we had a shot at a full tour.
Sad news for fans of professional surfing this morning after the WSL released a statement on its upcoming tour events scheduled to take place at Sunset Beach and Santa Cruz. The Sunset Pro has been officially cancelled, after Hawaii, in what is most likely continued fallout from the Covid positive cases that occurred during the Pipe Masters, put the boot down and squashed all surfing competitions until further notice.
As this is being typed, mainland US, and in particular its trouble-plagued health system, is struggling under the weight of a giant surge of cases. There are even reports in the news this morning of Ambulance Officers in California being ordered to refuse transport to a hospital for patients they believe are likely to die due to the disease. Therefore the WSL has decided to postpone the event, which is to take place in that state.
Here’s the full release from the WSL:
As a result of Hawaii's suspension of all surfing competitions until further notice, the upcoming Championship Tour (CT) event, the Sunset Open -- scheduled for January 19 - 28, 2021 -- and the Big Wave Jaws Championship Pe'ahi have been cancelled. The World Surf League (WSL) has also decided to postpone the CT Santa Cruz Pro, which had been scheduled for February 2 - 12, 2021.
The decision to postpone the Santa Cruz Pro, the last planned event of the US leg of the Championship Tour, is based primarily on the surge of COVID-19 cases in California. The postponement is also heavily influenced by the length of time our athletes have been away from home, and by the complexities of global travel during this pandemic, which would have caused significant logistical challenges for athletes and staff to travel home and return to California for the event.
It is a testament to our surfers, staff, and the local community of Hawaii that we were able to successfully complete both the men's and women's opening CT events of the 2021 season, and we would like to thank the communities in both Maui and Oahu for their support. We look forward to safely continuing the 2021 CT season with the Australia leg starting at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in April.
Troublesome times indeed. One can’t help but sympathise with the WSL. They have done their best to get a full tour off the ground, but without the pull of major sports like NFL or NRL, they are much more at the whim of both the pandemic and the authorities.
Perhaps the hardest part for professional surfing fans is that, as evidenced by the clips coming out of the North Shore, John John Florence is currently blossoming into the best surfer of a generation, and may go without the opportunity to solidify his legacy with more genuine world titles, at least in 2021. And we Australians are missing out on watching our hopefuls in Jack Robbo and Ethan Ewing get their opportunities to make their mark.
If these two events fail to run, that makes Bells Beach in April the next possible event. And we all know that’s going to be a major challenge to pull off if Covid is still playing nasty games.
Also of note, is the total disappearance of G-Land from the schedule. We’re guessing the event had no hope of going ahead, so it was quietly axed.
Whatever the case, one sad fact remains, that this year’s world champ (if one is crowned at all) will forever have an asterisk next to their name.