The WSL’s World Tour event at Margaret River has had the chips stacked against it in recent times, having been cancelled midway through the event last year due to shark scares (the event was bumped up to May this year, which they’ve somehow determined to be less sharky), and now it faces more potential complications.
According to PerthNow, a local council governing North Point, one of the event’s two backup sites, is weighing whether to allow heats to take place at the secondary location for the entirety of the requested event window.
From PerthNow [Queen’s English, theirs]:
Last month the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River gave permission for the international event to be held for the next five years at Surfers Point [Main Break] and the Box in Prevelly and North Point in Gracetown.
Organisers sought a condition to allow surfing for a maximum of four days at North Point to tick-off semifinals and finals being held at the spot if conditions were poor at the other two main event locations.
It was knocked back, however, with the council only giving the nod to two days of potential surfing and no finals.
The council cited environmental concerns, fearing multiple days of crowds (and particularly a large, finals-day crowd) could cause damage to vegetation around North Point.
The council is expected to revisit the issue this week. The Margaret River Pro is still scheduled to kick off during its May 27 through June 7 contest window. But, depending on the vote, organizers may only have Main Break and The Box as options. While no one wants to see a pristine stretch of coast negatively impacted by crowds, the loss of North Point for the event would be a harsh blow for surf fans, considering the deep barrels and stratospheric punts that North Point allows (and the complete lack thereof at Main Break). For now, we’ll just have to wait and see.