This news falls into the category of being so strange and unprecedented that even the most creative minds would have difficulty dreaming up a scenario like this. To catch you up, after multiple shark attacks near the contest site, the World Surf League (and more specifically its commissioner Kieren Perrow) decided to call it quits during the Margaret River Pro event before concluding the contest. 24 surfers earned equal 13ths.
Now, though, the League has confirmed that the remainder of the event will be surfed at the less sharky but more killer whaley Uluwatu 48 hours after the Corona Bali Pro at Keramas concludes.
“The cancellation of the Margaret River Pro was due to unique circumstances this season and we look forward to returning to Western Australia in 2019,” said WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt in a press release. “After consulting with Surfing West Australia about completing the event in 2018, we felt that the shark activity that prompted the event cancellation had not significantly improved and returning was not in the best interests of the surfers this season. We extensively explored various alternatives before deciding to invest in completing the event at Uluwatu in Bali.”
The move makes sense logistically but is totally strange given that Uluwatu is a left and North Point and the Box (two of the venues in West Oz) are dedicated rights.
“In the men’s event, 24 competitors remain in the field and competition will recommence with Round 3,” the release explains. “In the women’s event, eight competitors remain in the field and competition will recommence with the Quarterfinals.”
“As highlighted when we canceled the Margaret River Pro, there were extenuating circumstances surrounding this season’s event and we committed to trying to finish the competition if possible,” said Perrow. “It’s a significant investment for the WSL, but it’s the right thing to do. Uluwatu is a world-class wave and we’re excited to be completing the event there.”