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Honolulu Mayor Rejects WSL’s Permit Change Request

Still unclear as to what will happen to the 2019 Pipe Masters

The drama between Honolulu’s Mayor’s office and the World Surf League continues. According to Hawaii News, Mayor Caldwell has officially denied the WSL’s request to run the 2019 Pipe Masters in January instead of December.

A few days ago, news broke that the WSL missed the deadline to request a permit change for the 2019 Pipe Masters to be moved to January instead of December. The WSL was aiming to end the 2018 season at Pipe (as per usual) and also begin the 2019 season at Pipe, and to do so, was asking Honolulu’s Department of Parks and Recreation if they could run the 2019 Pipe Masters in January in place of the Volcom Pipe Pro (which, instead of running in January, would run in December) as apart of their refurbished ‘CT schedule.

Earlier this week, Goldschmidt flew to Hawaii to discuss the issue with Caldwell in person. “I'm concerned and I hope logic will prevail," Goldschmidt told the Hawaii Star Advertiser. "If we can't get these minor administrative changes made, we won't be able to come back in 2019, and if that happens the likelihood is that we won't be able to return for years."

In the eyes of the WSL, swapping the two events would be a simple technicality. But according to Caldwell, it was a big ask. In a letter sent to WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt yesterday, Mayor Caldwell expressed that he, as mayor, doesn’t have the authority to accommodate their requests.

“Please know the city fully appreciates the economic spending the WSL brings to the islands, but as I've stated, this is an issue about fairness, not about money,” wrote Caldwell. “You have stated that the changes are minor, and if this is truly the case, we are perplexed that you would jeopardize your relationship to Hawaii on a minor change. I sincerely hope the WSL will continue to hold events in Hawaii, the birthplace of the sport of surfing."

Caldwell encouraged the WSL to implement their planned changes in 2020. But as for next year, it remains to be seen whether or not the storied Pipe Masters will run in December. The removal of such a historic event would be a huge blow for fans, locals, and professional surfers alike.