The World Surf League (WSL) has confirmed the updated schedule for the Championship Tour (CT) Australian leg, announcing the three upcoming events in North Narrabeen (NSW), Margaret River (WA), and Rottnest Island (WA). The WSL also announced the cancellation of the 2021 Corona Open Gold Coast pres. by Billabong and the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.<h/2>
*All tour stops and dates subject to change due to applicable COVID-19 related restrictions, including global travel restrictions.
Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona: April 1 – 1
Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic pres. by Corona: April 16 – 26
Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro pres. by Corona: May 2-12
Rip Curl Rottnest Search pres. by Corona: May 16 – 26
The WSL will concentrate its Australian CT events in New South Wales and Western Australia, following approvals for pre-approved quarantine bubbles. The WSL could not achieve these bubbles in Victoria and Queensland in the short amount of time it needed to do so but could in Western Australia, hence the two events in each state given the charter of international athletes lands in NSW.
“The WSL is truly excited to have the CT coming back to Australia in 2021 with the addition of an extra event,” said WSL APAC General Manager, Andrew Stark. “This year, the Aussie CT leg is looking very different to what we’re used to due to COVID-19, with the addition of three new stops. Although it’s genuinely disappointing to miss locations like Bells Beach and Snapper Rocks this year, we are stoked to add Newcastle, North Narrabeen and Rottnest Island to the schedule. We would like to sincerely thank all of our partners for their patience, understanding and support during this extremely difficult time. The WSL can’t wait to get the tour back underway and run epic and safe events for our athletes, fans and partners in Australia.”
Three New Stops Added to 2021 Championship Tour
Joining Margaret River on the elite CT will be three new CT stops in New South Wales and Western Australia. The opening stop of the Australian leg will see the Championship Tour head to the pro surfing hub of Merewether Beach in Newcastle continuing over 35 years of professional surfing history in this iconic Australian city.
Following Newcastle, the CT will head south to the Northern Beaches of Sydney to North Narrabeen. Similarly to Newcastle, North Narrabeen has a rich surfing lineage producing some of surfing’s biggest names. Home to legends such as Simon Anderson, Nathan Hedge, Laura Enever and Damien Hardman to name a few, the high-performance lefts of North Narra have hosted dozens of professional events over the last four decades with the Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic pres. by Corona, CT being the first event since the World Junior Championships over a decade ago.
“Narrabeen is one of Australia’s most iconic surfing beaches and we want to make sure the community can make the most of the recreational, tourism and economic benefits that surfing provides,” said NSW Deputy Premier, John Barilaro. “The impacts of COVID-19 hit the Northern Beaches hard, with forced lockdowns over Christmas last year, and our support for this event will stimulate the local economy and showcase Narrabeen as a world-class surfing and tourism destination.”
The third event of the Australian leg is a more familiar one for competitors and surf fans alike, Margaret River, where competition returns to the rugged and raw waters of South West Western Australia. Competitors will be tested as always with one of the most diverse events seeing Main Break and The Box coming into play across the event window. The pristine nature reserve of Rottnest Island will host the fourth stop of the Australian Championship Tour leg. The island is offshore from Western Australia’s capital, Perth, and its breaks are some of the most consistent in the state. Strickland Bay, where the event will take place, is predominantly a left and is considered one of the best waves in south-west Western Australia.
“This one-off event represents another real opportunity for a WA female and male surfer to compete at the highest level possible in Surfing,” said Surfing WA CEO Mark Lane. “Bronte Macaulay and Jack Robinson are both examples of WA surfers who have been provided with a similar opportunity via Wild Card positions in the past – and have successfully taken the step to legitimately earn themself a full-time position on the World Championship Tour.”
Rip Curl Take Naming Rights for Three New Events of Australian leg
Iconic surf brand Rip Curl has come on board for three of the four events as the naming rights sponsor in Newcastle, North Narrabeen, and Rottnest Island continuing their long and generous support of professional surfing.
Corona Open Gold Coast pres. by Billabong Canceled
The WSL also confirmed the unfortunate cancellation of the Corona Open Gold Coast presented by Billabong at Snapper Rocks. The difficult decision to cancel the event in 2021 is due to the ongoing issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The extremely difficult decision to cancel this event was based on the genuine possibility of multiple risks attached to sudden public health measures in reaction to COVID-19 such as lockdowns, state border restrictions, and event cancellations. Without a pre-approved bubble to enter the state amid a state border closure the risk to the event and to WSL was too great to bear.
Despite the cancellation, special thanks to our longtime partners at Corona, who we are thrilled to announce will be coming on as the Presenting partner of all four Australia CT stops. The Corona Lay Days social video series will continue at all four locations, giving our fans a behind-the-scenes look at what our CT athletes are doing when the competition is called off, and Corona Lay Days are on.
Jessi Miley-Dyer Appointed Senior Vice President of Tours and Head of Competition
Jessi Miley-Dyer, former CT competitor, has been appointed Senior Vice President of Tours and Head of Competition. Miley-Dyer previously served as Vice President of Tours and Competition and will succeed Pat O’Connell. Miley-Dyer will oversee all WSL Tours, including the Championship Tour, Challenger Series, Qualifying Series, Pro Junior Series, Big Wave, Longboard, and specialty events and series. O’Connell decided to transition out of his role to pursue new opportunities. Miley-Dyer will officially begin her new role on March 1 and be based out of the WSL Headquarters in Los Angeles, California.
“Surfing has been a passion since I was very young, from competing professionally to now leading an incredible team to shape surfing’s future,” said Miley-Dyer. “I feel very fortunate to have made a career doing something that I love, and something that has given me so much after retiring from professional competition. I am excited to lead the sport into a new era.”
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.