Margaret River Pro to continue on World Surf League tour calendar until at least 2024
Western Australia’s Margaret River Pro will continue on the elite World Surf League tour calendar until at least 2024 after securing a three-year extension.
The Margaret River Pro was in grave danger of being axed at the end of 2016 when the WSL was considering cutting an Australian event from the main tour.
The event was saved when the WSL and WA government struck a deal that ran until 2021, and the latest contract extension has given it further security.
Superstars of the surf world to have competed in the Margaret River Pro in recent years include Kelly Slater, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons.
The event has been held in Margaret River in various forms since 1985 and supported by the state government since 1999.
But there has been drama in recent years, with the competition abandoned midway through in 2018 after there were two shark attacks on recreational surfers nearby.
Before the organisers made the call to abandon the event, two-time world champion Gabriel Medina was considering pulling out due to the shark fears.
Medina said he even saw some sharks when he went into the water to practice, with a nearby whale carcass thought to be the key factor in attracting the sharks.
The event window was moved from April to the end of May the following year in a bid to avoid the annual salmon run that was also thought to attract sharks to the area.
However, with the 2021 WSL tour schedule dramatically changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Margaret River Pro has been slotted in for an April 16-26 window next year, which will be the fifth stop on the elite tour.
Two-time world champion Florence, who won the Margaret River Pro in 2019, said he loved having the event on the main tour.
“You have the Main Break, which is as rippable as you can get when it’s light winds and those big peaks,” he said.
“Then you have The Box with those big barrels. And just the free surfs around there are incredible.
“It’s one of my favourite places in the world.”
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