2020 Championship Tour cancelled, new tour format announced
In news that should surprise no-one, the WSL has cancelled the remaining events in the 2020 CT season.
The announcment came via an overnight press release, which said in part:
“After careful consideration and extensive discussions with key stakeholders, we have made the decision to cancel the 2020 championship tour and qualifying series seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said WSL chief executive officer Erik Logan.
“While we firmly believe that surfing is among the sports best suited for competition to be held safely during the age of unresolved COVID, we have huge respect for the ongoing concerns of many in our community as the world works to resolve this.”
The cancellation wasn't the only announcement the Woz made. They also outlined an overhaul of the tour, one they'd threatened to make for four years.
The 2021 tour will actually begin later this year, at the Pipe Masters for men and Honolua Bay for women, then follow a ten-stop tour, again the same for men and women, up until September. Then, the top five placed men and women will have a one-day surf off.
When the idea was initially floated by then-CEO Sophie Goldschmidt, the surf off was intended to be in the Mentawais. As yet, the location is unknown. In fact, most of the locations are still unknown as each country deals with its COVID strategy independently.
Two-time world champion Tyler Wright said of the new schedule: “I’m really excited about these new format changes. As someone who has spent a lot of time out with injury and on the couch these last few years as a professional spectator, I feel that change is good and needed."
“Having Tahiti come back on the schedule will be interesting and challenging. It will take us a few years to get our feet in. However, with the next generation of strong and talented women coming through, I think we’ll some have Tahiti specialists.”
The WSL will also host a series of regional, pre-season exhibition events featuring CT surfers in the USA, Australia, France, and Portugal called The WSL Countdown.
In the US, Surf Ranch will host Rumble at the Ranch, a special mixed-gender team format event in August. In Australia, the Australian Grand Slam will feature 'strike mission' events at the Gold Coast and Margaret River over the months of September and October. In France and Portugal, the Euro Surf Cup will feature regional CT stars in late September and early October.
2021 Championship Tour Season*:
* All events and dates subject to change due to applicable COVID-19 related restrictions, including global travel restrictions
Shiseido Maui Pro presented by ROXY: Maui, Hawaii
November 25 - December 6, 2020
Billabong Pipe Masters: Oahu, Hawaii
December 8 - 20, 2020
MEO Pro Portugal: Peniche, Portugal
February 18 - 28, 2021
Corona Open Gold Coast presented by Billabong: Queensland, Australia
March 18 - 28, 2021
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: Victoria, Australia
April 1 - 11, 2021
Margaret River Pro: Western Australia, Australia
April 16 - 26, 2021
Oi Rio Pro presented by Corona: Saquarema, Brasil
May 20 - 29, 2021
Surf Ranch Pro: California, USA
June 10 - 13, 2021
Quiksilver Pro G-Land: Indonesia
June 20 - 29, 2021
Corona Open J-Bay: South Africa
July 7 - 19, 2021
Outerknown Tahiti Pro: Teahupo’o, Tahiti
August 26 - September 6, 2021
The WSL Finals: Location TBD
September 8 - 16, 2021