Since its elevation to the men’s elite tier in 2014 (and women’s in 2013), the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro has delighted surf fans and athletes alike. Who could forget the first time a ‘CT event was run at The Box?
But following swirling rumors that the WSL will soon announce major cuts to next year’s Tour, Western Australia State Tourism Minister Paul Papalia has been vocal about keeping the Margaret River event on the schedule for next year.
“As I understand it, negotiations are still ongoing and I am hopeful that we can retain Margaret River as a world tour event,” Mr Papalia told the West Australian. “As a State we contribute a hell of a lot more than competitors on the east coast, so there’s no logic to it, were they to shift it.”
The concern is that of the three Australia events on the schedule, the Quik Pro at Snapper and Ripcurl Pro at Bells have roots in competitive surfing that run deep. That and the five-year contract for the contest at Margaret River is set to expire at the end of this year.
Surfing WA, the governing body for surfing in the state of Western Australia, has been in negotiations with the WSL in an effort to persuade them to keep the contest, according to reports.
With the 2017 event beginning today and swell in the forecast, it’s disheartening for fans of the event especially to think Margaret River may not be on the schedule for next year – especially with a number of events producing less than satisfactory surf over the last few years.
Papalia is hoping for a last-minute breakthrough in negotiations. If the event totally lights up, the WSL may be forced to reconsider.