Hawaiian CT Events In Jeopardy Following Permit Issues
Hawaii may soon be off the World Surf League calendar. Sound crazy? Well, there's been some complex administrative manouvering over the last few days.
As tipped back in early September, the WSL have been looking to make wholesale changes to the tour schedule from 2019 onwards. One of the most notable alterations being Pipeline's shift from season-finisher in December, to season-opener in February.
Although the WSL claims it has been working with the City of Honolulu on proposed date changes for almost a year, Mayor Kirk Caldwell told the Star Advertiser that it received a request to change dates in mid-December, well after the November deadline.
"The WSL missed deadlines in the process and now they’re trying to take dates that others have applied for prior to the process being completed. That’s not how we do business in Hawaii".
On Monday, the World Surf League undertook the unusual step of issuing a press release where they publicly expressed hope "of gaining an appointment" with Hawaiian authorities "to find an amicable solution".
Sophie Goldschmidt - appointed WSL CEO in July last year - told the Star Advertiser "If we can’t get these minor administrative changes made, we won’t be able to come back in 2019, and if that happens the likelihood is that we won’t be able to return for years.”
It turns out that the 2019 reshuffle - whilst confirmed by WSL Deputy Commissioner Renato Hickel in Portuguese sports newspaper O Jogo in late October 2018 - was not quite as locked-in as suggested.
"In 2019, the plan is to start the season in February in Hawaii and end in September in Tahiti," Hickel told O Jogo.
With just weeks until the Hawaiian administrative deadline, Renato's words were more foretelling than first glance suggested - it was only still a plan - with the proposed month of competition to be moved again from February to January.
On Wednesday, Mayor Kirk Caldwell reiterated his decision, issuing a final rejection to the WSL's date change requests.
"We encourage you to consider implementing the changes for the next application period in late summer 2018, for the 2019/2020 winter surf season", Caldwell told the Star Advertiser.