WSL locks in December Pipe Masters for three more years
In an alternate universe, one we'll call Sophie's World for sake of convenience, competitors would currently be readying themselves for the Pipeline Masters, the first contest of the 2019 Championship Tour.
In Sophie's World, the tour would begin in February at Pipeline and end in September at Teahupoo, before the top six men and top four women sailed off in a boat to the Mentawais to determine the respective World Champions.
This plan was first floated in September 2017, two months after Sophie Goldschmidt took over the controls of the WSL, yet since then Goldschmidt has walked back those plans and the 2019 tour looks very much like the tour she inherited: starts in Oz, swings by Rio, bit of South Africa, a Pacific leg in there somewhere, and the title is decided in Hawaii.
In news released on New Year's Eve, the WSL has not only scrapped Sophie's World but locked in a December finish at Hawaii for the next three years. The Pipeline Masters will now be held during it's traditional December waiting period at least until 2021.
Also, the City & Council of Honolulu approved the permit applications for the five other existing Hawaiian WSL events: the Sunset Open, Volcom Pipe Pro, HIC Sunset Pro, Hawaiian Pro, and Vans World Cup.
Again, all of them are approved up until 2021.
Meanwhile, the WSL have once again locked in Quiksilver as the naming sponsor at Snapper Rocks. Till last week the contest appeared on the schedule as the 'Gold Coast Pro'. Other events on the schedule that are yet to secure naming sponsors are the Bali Pro (sponsored by Corona last year), the Margaret River Open (though it will likely pick up the WA Govt sponsor again), J'Bay Open (sponsored by Corona the last two years), the Tahiti Pro, and the Surf Ranch Pro.
Over on the Women's side, Roxy are yet to lock in Snapper - it's still being advertised as the Gold Coast Women's Pro - and their mainstay closing event, the Maui Pro, is now listed as the Hawaii Women's Pro. Back in November, Stab published a rumour that 2018 would be the last time the women visited Honolua, yet nothing was mentioned during or after the contest.
Though the WSL are yet to provide confirmation it appears the event will switch locations.