The state announced today that it is suspending surfing competitions indefinitely due to health and safety concerns, immediately impacting at least two World Surf League meets.
The WSL’s Jaws Championship, men’s and women’s big-wave competition at Pe’ahi, Maui, was scheduled to run between January and March, and the Sunset Open for women and men was scheduled for Jan. 19-28 on the North Shore.
In a statement issued by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, the state said, “Following many discussions with health and natural resource leaders of the State to find a way forward for future surf contests in Hawaii, we have determined that the State will be suspending surf competitions at this time.”
The statement added, “The public health and safety of our communities, contestants, spectators and guests is first and foremost in this decision. Unlike other professional and amateur events held on private property, the enforcement of crowds and large gatherings on public property will be challenging. The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism consulted with the Department of Health, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and the Governor’s office in making this decision.”
The Billabong Pipe Masters was held on the North Shore last month under a film permit approved by the city and state that did not allow on-site spectators.