The 2020 Corona Piha Pro has been postponed as World Surf League puts into action its sweeping reaction to the Coronavirus pandemic, halting all of its March events throughout the world.
The Corona Piha Pro organisers apologised to stakeholders, residents, surfers and fans in a statement released today.
“We ask everyone to support the decision of the World Surf League on this matter of public safety. This decision is not a reflection of expected risk around the event in New Zealand, but is a decision of the global body to take the necessary steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
The statement also indicated that the intention was for the World Surf League to return to Piha for the Corona Piha Pro. Details around timing were not yet available.
There was no mention of the support available for athletes many of whom will have locked in travel arrangements. That situation is compounded by the type of insurance cover most surfers travel on – as soon as the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic most insurance policies invoke a clause that essentially null and voids the policy. It’s in the fineprint. Nasty stuff.
In a media release today, WSL admitted the decision was based on guidance from the WHO, who had declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, as well as in communication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, governments and local public health authorities where the events were being held.
“Coronavirus is having massive consequences for sporting events and gatherings of all kinds around the world, and we are no different,” offers WSL CEO Erik Logan. “We did not take this decision lightly as we are aware that it has a significant impact on the surfing community. However, the health and safety of our athletes, fans, and staff are paramount. From the standpoint of social responsibility, we also take very seriously the role our events might play in accelerating the spread of the virus. We’ve been in close contact with our athletes and we feel strongly that this is the right thing to do right now.”
“The fluid nature of this situation is forcing us to evaluate things day-by-day, and even hour-by-hour,” Logan said. “As this continues to evolve, we’ll continue to adapt, endeavouring to make the next right decision each day.”
WSL said that based on the information it had at this time, it was not currently canceling any additional events beyond this time frame.
The situation continues to evolve, and WSL is closely monitoring and evaluating the status of its upcoming events, including its looming CT event at Bells Beach in Victoria, Australia. WSL is carefully considering the impact of these cancellations on its tours and will provide further information as soon as it is able to.