The World Surf League cancelled all events until the end of May over the coronavirus outbreak Tuesday, throwing its season into chaos.
Chief executive Erik Logan had already announced the postponement of this month’s season-opening competition at Snapper Rocks on Australia’s Gold Coast, and the shutdown has been extended.
It will see the second and third legs of the Championship Tour, at Bells Beach and Margaret River, both in Australia, put on hold.
The Quiksilver Pro G-land in Indonesia in June is also in doubt.
“We have every intention of commencing the 2020 Championship Tour season, and all our tours, as soon as possible,” Logan said in a statement.
“We are a truly global sport. Moving tours and events between countries is challenging under the best of conditions. Under current circumstances, it’s just not possible, and will not be for some time to come,” Logan said in a video statement.
“As a league that organizes public gatherings, we are also extremely conscious of our social responsibility not to enable and accelerate the spread of the virus.”
Due to the rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our athletes, fans, and staff, the World Surf League (WSL) has made the decision to cancel all events yet to… https://t.co/nCw8ye0ci6
— Erik Logan (@eriklogan_elo) March 12, 2020
“We are already hard at work doing scenario planning for what a re-imagined 2020 tour might look like.”
He pointed to rapidly evolving changes to international travel — a mandatory 14-day self-isolation is in place in Australia — as making it challenging to determine when the season can start.
Surfing is due to make its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.
The surfing suspension follows cancellations or season delays in other sports, including the first four Formula One Grand Prix races of the season in Australia, Bahrain, Vietnam and China and the major sports leagues in the U.S.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, and most recover.
The worldwide outbreak has infected more than 179,000 people and left more than 7,000 dead. More 78,000 people have recovered, most of them in China, where the outbreak started late last year.