Yes, it’s a world-class wave, but is it the right place for a tour event?
What began as a rumour earlier this week has now been substantiated. The WSL is pressing for the green light to run an impromptu tour event at Lennox Point this Easter. If successful it would become the fourth event in what is shaping up to be a mini-tour of Australia.
After the cancellation/postponements of tour events at Sunset Beach and Steamer Lane, and the mysterious disappearance of G-Land from the schedule, it reads as an attempt by the WSL to save their 2021 season by running as many events as possible while in OZ in order to crown a legitimate World Champion come the end of the year.
Understandably the announcement has divided the Lennox Head community, and it’s not the first time. In 2008, Rip Curl sought approval to run a Search event at the iconic point break. Back then Lennox was much sleepier than it is now, and it was the surfing fraternity, who saw even the mere suggestion of a contest at the point as surfing sacrilege, facing off against local businesses who wanted the increase in tourist dollars. In the end, it was the surfing fraternity who got their way, and the Rip Curl attempt was buried.
Nowadays Lennox, just like its northern neighbour of Byron Bay, is straining under record numbers of visitors and new residents. And the thought of adding more people to the mix, courtesy of the WSL is proving hard to swallow for locals. Not to mention the thought of setting up the WSL big-top on the pristine headland.
Already there have been Facebook groups spawned decrying the potential contest.
From No Corpo CT Tour for Lennox Head, “WSL met with Ballina Shire Council last Thursday (28th January), they expect a decision this coming Wednesday (3rd February) - that's four business days. Does that sound like proper due diligence on a major CT event in a small town during peak season (Easter) or an attempt to ramrod something through the backdoor before the community got wind of it? A very similar odour to how they went about it last time in 2008. Where's the DA? Where's the proposal?”
Also, “Does any Lennox business need the sugar hit of a CT during the Easter Holiday - no. Does any real estate need the property prices further inflated by a CT at Lennox - no. Business case for a CT at Lennox = null and void.”
And “Mayor David Wright on ABC North Coast said there would be "virtually no mingling" between the WSL pros, staff and the general public. Based on previous Covid protocols at Pipe, Cabarita and South Straddie that means it's highly probable that local surf fans will be blocked from accessing The Point to watch the comp live i.e. no spectators. #duddealforlocals"
Flamboyant Ballina Mayor David Wright called a press conference at Pat Moreton Lookout ( the carpark overlooking the point) and ABC North Coast reported the following from the event.
Ballina Mayor David Wright said the WSL met with council representatives last week to discuss the proposal.
Cr Wright said a lot of boxes would need to be ticked before the event could be approved.
"We've said that they need to do full community consultation beforehand, before we can really do anything," he said.
"Meanwhile our planners are looking at the possibility of putting the structures in that are needed at Pat Moreton [Lookout]."
If all is to be believed, there may be a decision made as early as today.
Also, isn’t Bells supposed to be running at Easter? So many questions.
More to come…