The World Surf League Cancels First World Tour Stop Due to Coronavirus

kelly slater
Kelly Slater competing in the 2015 Quiksilver Pro at Snapper Rocks, Coolangatta.Photo: Courtesy of David Bostock/Shutterstock

The World Surf League just announced that due to the quickly escalating situation surrounding the COVID-19, all events slated for the month of March will be canceled, including the first stop on the ‘CT, the suddenly-ironically-titled Corona Gold Coast Open. The decision came as a preemptive move out of “caution for the safety of our athletes, fans, and staff.” Continue reading for more from the WSL on their recent decision:

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 our 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 we have at this time, we are not currently canceling any additional events beyond this time frame. That said, the situation continues to evolve, and we are closely monitoring and evaluating the status of our upcoming events, including our next CT event at Bells Beach in Victoria, Australia.

The WSL is carefully considering the impact of these cancellations on our tours and we will provide further information in due course.

For all events currently in progress, we have 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 our 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

Check back soon for further updates as more information becomes available for the upcoming events in April and beyond.

This article originally appeared on Surfer.com and was republished with permission.

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