World championship surfing event WON’T be held at Snapper Rocks after Annastacia Palaszczuk refused to budge on Queensland’s Covid conditions
- The WSL Corona Open at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast has been cancelled
- State government said league demanded Sunshine State cover quarantine costs
- WSL boss said NSW was the only state to allow athletes to quarantine in a hub
- NSW’s two WSL events are estimated to be worth $15million in pre-Covid times
Queensland‘s world championship surfing tournament has been cancelled after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk refused to budge on the state’s Covid-19 protocol.
The World Surfing League’s Corona Open – traditionally held at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast – will be replaced by the Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic on Sydney’s northern beaches.
Queensland will no longer host a single event on the 2021 WSL calendar while New South Wales and Western Australia will both host two each.
NSW’s two WSL surfing events are estimated to be worth as much as $15million to the state government in pre-Covid times.
WSL Australia boss Andrew Stark said NSW was the only state to accept a charter plane of international surfers and support staff and let them quarantine in a pre-approved hub.
The Corona Open Gold Coast at Snapper Rocks has been cancelled after Queensland authorities refused to budge on quarantine arrangements. Pictured is surfer Caroline Marks winning the 2019 Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast in 2019
He said the league had also tried unsuccessfully to convince the Queensland state government to guarantee quarantine-free travel for its athletes travelling from New South Wales.
‘We requested a pre-approved bubble to operate our events and we requested Queensland Police resource support for this bubble, and both items were knocked back by the government,’ he told The Courier-Mail.
Ms Palaszczuk said Queensland Health could not agree on a Covid-safe plan with the WSL.
Queensland Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe claimed the WSL had demanded the Palaszczuk government cover quarantine expenses for more than 100 surfers and staff.
‘I am less disappointed with the NSW Government than I am with the World Surf League’s decision to chase short-term dollars at the expense of surfing tradition,’ he said.
‘The WSL made it clear holding the event at Snapper Rocks this year was conditional on the Queensland Government picking up the quarantine tab for the WSL’s international competitors.’
The NSW government estimates its two WSL events would be worth as much as $15million outside of a pandemic.
The Snapper Rocks surf event has been a lucrative event for the Queensland government in recent years, but officials said they refused to bow to demands to pay for surfers’ hotel quarantine
New South Wales and Western Australia will both host two events each on the 2021 tour. Pictured is Australia’s Sally Fitzgibbons during the 2020 Sydney Surf Pro at Manly Beach
Ms Palaszczuk said the WSL had failed to agree on a suitable Covid-safe plan with Queensland Health
The 2021 Championship Tour will begin in Newcastle on April 1 before moving onto Narrabeen on April 16.
Western Australia will then host two events in May at Margaret River and Rottnest Island.
WSL officials moved the Bells Beach, Victoria event to Newcastle after they were unable to secure a pre-approved bubble arrangement with the Victorian government.