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World Surf League to ‘explore all options’ after Caldwell rejects scheduling request

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    John John Florence competes during the Billabong Pipe Masters 2017 on Dec. 18 at Banzai Pipeline.

The World Surf League said today that it will “explore all possible options” when deciding its future schedule in response to Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s decision to deny the league’s request to help with a scheduling conflict.

“We have plans to continue to work with the Mayor’s Office on the status of our permits, but we must also explore all possible options for our schedule moving forward,” the league said in a statement posted on its Web site this afternoon. “We will share more information as soon as we’re able to.”

Earlier this week, WSL Chief Executive Officer Sophie Goldschmidt threatened to pull all of the league’s Hawaii-based surf meets if the city would not accommodate its request to change its desired dates for two of its events on the 2018-2019 North Shore surfing calendar. The league is the governing organization for the world’s major surf meets involving male and female surfers.

On Tuesday, Caldwell sent a letter to the league repeating his position that he does not have the authority to grant variances in a competitive process. He noted that the permits for the 2018-19 season have not yet been issued and that it would be unfair to other applicants requesting dates. The league also missed a deadline to make changes to its applications, he said.

Specifically, WSL wants to hold the Billabong Pipeline Masters events on the dates in January that it initially had requested for the Volcom Pipe Pro event. Historically, the Volcom is held in January and the Billabong in December.

WSL has a permit to hold the Billabong in December but wants to scratch out Volcom from its application for dates in January 2019 for a second Billabong in consecutive months. Historically, the Billabong has closed out WSL’s annual tour schedule and the proposal essentially would have it begin its 2019 season.

“The WSL acknowledges the City of Honolulu’s decision, but we remain very disappointed by it,” the league said in its statement today. “Our intention behind these proposed permitting changes is to improve competitive surfing globally, inclusive of the Hawaii surf community and its surfers.”

WSL Statement 02.09 by Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Scribd

Correction: >> The last name of World Surf League CEO Sophie Goldschmidt was misspelled in an earlier version of this story.
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