Pro surfing contest canceled in Australia after shark attacks to resume at Bali, Indonesia

Pro surfing contest canceled in Australia after shark attacks to resume at Bali, Indonesia

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Pro surfing contest canceled in Australia after shark attacks to resume at Bali, Indonesia

The World Surf League  announced Thursday that the Margaret River Pro, which was canceled during early rounds last month after two shark attacks near the Western Australian venue, will be completed Bali, Indonesia, in June.

The decision to halt the competition, involving the world’s premier male and female surfers, occurred after two rounds as beach closures were in effect a few miles away, where the non-fatal attacks occurred.

Uluwatu in Bali, Indonesia. Photo: World Surf League

Great white sharks were implicated in both attacks.

Some surfers trying to build points toward the world-title race were not pleased with the decision, but the WSL did ask for surfers’ input before announcing the end of the contest.

WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt released the following statement after the announcement: “If we decided to continue the event under the current circumstances, and something terrible were to take place, we would never forgive ourselves.”

On Thursday the WSL, which had considered a return to Margaret River to resume the competition, said the contest instead will be completed at Uluwatu on Bali immediately after the Corona Bali Pro, scheduled May 27-June 9.

Stated Goldschmidt:

“The cancellation of the Margaret River Pro was due to unique circumstances this season and we look forward to returning to Western Australia in 2019.

“After consulting with Surfing West Australia about completing the event in 2018, we felt that the shark activity that prompted the event cancellation had not significantly improved and returning was not in the best interests of the surfers this season.”

Said Owen Wright, the world’s fourth-ranked surfer: “I love Western Australia and I’m looking forward to coming back in 2019, but it’s awesome that we’re going to complete the event this season at Uluwatu.

“It’s a high-performance wave and I’m frothing to get out there. It’s great that the WSL is investing in completing the event’s competition.”

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