In a press release yesterday, the World Surf League announced that the Billabong Pipe Masters will not run as the opening event of the 2019 season.
The drama between the Honolulu Mayor’s office and the WSL started when the WSL missed the deadline to switch the 2019 Pipe Masters from December to January on their permit application. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has remained unflinching in his denial of the WSL’s tardy request, mainly out of fairness to permit applicants who submitted on time. Read the details here.
WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt previously announced that if Hawaii’s local government is unable to grant their date change request then the Pipe Masters may not be able to run for a few years following 2019, though as of right now she’s just announced no 2019 Pipe Masters.
"We are disappointed we will not be able to run the 2019 Billabong Pipe Masters,” said Goldschmidt. “However, we are pleased that the Mayor recognizes that fundamental changes are required to the permit process that will benefit Hawaiian surfing, the surfers, the community and other stakeholders. We will assist however we can during this process and once we understand the changes, we will be able to determine which events we can invest in bringing to Hawaii in winter 2019 and beyond. As previously stated, we would love to continue to bring our full array of events to Hawaii, but we need to be able to plan long term and receive the appropriate local support in order to help grow Hawaiian surfing in a sustainable way."
According to the press release, the WSL are pursuing alternative options to open the season next year. Even so, it’s hard to imagine the “Dream Tour” without the Pipe Masters…along with the Fiji and Lowers event too for that matter. Stay tuned for more updates.
WSL PRELIMINARILY PERMITTED EVENTS FOR HAWAII 2018/2019
HIC PRO – Sunset Beach – Oct. 27 – Nov. 9, 2018
HAWAIIAN PRO – Haleiwa – Nov. 12-24, 2018
VANS WORLD CUP OF SURFING – Sunset – Nov. 25 – Dec. 6, 2018
BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS – Ehukai – Dec. 8-20, 2018
SUNSET OPEN – Sunset Beach – Jan. 18-28, 2019
VOLCOM PIPE PRO – Ehukai – Jan 29 – Feb. 10, 2019