Organisers look north for Margaret River Pro solution
Following the interruption of this year's Margaret River Pro, Surfing WA is looking north for an alternative location for its event.
This year's contest was postoned due to consecutive shark attacks in the south-west while the competiton was running. Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferriera made their fears public on social media which forced the WSL to cut short the contest. It was ultimately finished at Uluwatu.
Surfing WA, however, are contracted to run the contest for another year. They also hold hopes of running a top-tier contest for many years to come.
Last week they approached Shire of Northampton chief executive Garry Keefe and representatives from the Kalbarri Boardriders club to discuss moving the competition north. Both Jake’s Point at Kalbarri and Gnaraloo were floated as possible locations.
To no-one's surprise the local tourism bureau and the local mayor are backing the move.
"An event like this coming to our Midwest Batavia Coast region would be certainly beneficial, I think it will showcase our region," Shire of Northampton president Craig Simkin told the ABC.
While Kit Rayner, President of Kalbarri Boardriders Association, said, "we at the Kalbarri Boardriders and surfers were all opposed to it."
"They want a world-class left-hander on their schedule and Gnaraloo and Kalbarri were put in the equation and the Bluff I think."
"Most travelling surfers would like to keep Kalbarri how it is and same goes with Gnaraloo."
"We hope it just goes back to WSL and they say 'no, the boys don't want it, we'll leave it at that'."
In 2007, Gnaraloo was proposed as a site for the Rip Curl Search contest but it was met with heavy opposition. The contest was eventually held at Arica, Chile.
Surfing WA will have a similar fight if they're to get any of the north-west locations over the line.