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Surfing Australia

Surf pros left in doubt by virus



SINCE news broke the Olympics have been postponed until 2021 and the World Surf League has cancelled the Australian leg of the WCT and the WQS events until May, the fallout for professional surfing continues to raise doubts.

Although free surfers on the southern end of the coast from Burleigh to Snapper Rocks were surfing in big numbers over the weekend.

“Surfers were keeping safe distance at Burleigh and avoiding party wave (multiple surfers on one wave),” Australian longboard champion Nigel Canterbury said.

A surf check of the border beaches Snapper Queensland and Duranbah NSW noticed that the weekend wave warriors were out in force.

No sign of border security preventing the locals from crossing over to surf both sides of the border. Cabarita has become an obvious hotspot.

Tues 11th February Press Conference for GWC2020 at GC Library. Photo: PETER STURM

Miami-based TSBW which imports surfboards from China has been hit heavily by the global pandemic.

Surf journalist Nick Carroll asked if surfing was immune from COVID-19 and sought professional advice from Australian scientist Dr Karl Kruszelnicki who could not verify whether the virus can spread in the surf as there is little information or research to rely on.

UQ (University of Queensland) is working on a protein to stem the spread as an antibody, strangely Carroll found that the Norway research body sponsoring the UQ work was funded by Equinor who recently pulled out of mining the South Australian Bight.

The annual Surfing Australia Hall of Awards that were to be held at Q2 last week will now be presented as a live web production at a date to be announced.

All the categories have been voted in including nominations for the Greater Good Award listing the Fight for the Bight, Mental Health and GWC2020.

Meanwhile the World Tour professional surfers from the World Championship Tour and World Qualifying Series must be wondering what World Surf League will do regarding the rest of 2020 and their expected competitive earnings.

At this stage a resumption is set down for Brazil in May followed up by Gland Java in June and JBay South Africa in July.

All three countries are affected by COVID-19 and travelling would appear to be off limits.

The European situation which had been called the epicentre of the virus seems even more less likely to happen in September.

Optimistically this leaves Hawaii and the Triple Crown as the only real alternative to an end of the year contest surf season.

Questions sent to WSL on this matter have gone unanswered.

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