2001 EUROPEAN WCT EVENTS CANCELLED
ASP today announced the cancellation of the European leg of the WorldChampionship Tour (WCT).
The decision was made after the American professional surfers agreed not totravel to Europe for the 30 day, three tournament World Tour leg.
In the aftermath of the tragic events of September 11th in the UnitedStates, the first event in Europe, Portugal’s Figueira Pro, was postponedfor a week to allow ASP officials to monitor any developing situations on adaily basis. The delayed start to Portugal gave pause, while Americansurfers grieved with the rest of the nation and rescheduled travelitineraries in the wake of massive disruptions within the airline industry.
Cancelling Portugal and continuing on with the Quiksilver Pro France, Oct3-12 and Mundaka’s Billabong Pro, Oct 13-24 was not an option for ASP.During a meeting of the European Surf Industry Manufacturers Association(EuroSima) earlier this week, it was agreed unanimously that if Portugal didnot go ahead the entire European leg would be cancelled for 2001.
President of EuroSima and Quiksilver Europe, Harry Hodge said “Since thetragic events in the USA last week we have been monitoring the situationwith the ASP in respect to the European leg of the World Championship Tour.Quiksilver and it’s management totally support and respect the decision bythe ASP, especially the surfers themselves, and again wish to extend oursympathies to all those who have suffered.”
Derek O’Neill, CEO Billabong Europe added, “Billabong respects the decisiontaken today by the ASP and the WCT surfers, which was obviously difficult totake, to cancel the European leg of the WCT tour. The latest developmentsafter last weeks horrific events have shown that it would be hard tocontinue and we have been prepared for this. We hope that the tour canresume again soon and look forward to holding the Mundaka Billabong Pro inthe future.
For the American surfers it was an agonising decision. After a traumaticweek, the uncertainty of travelling abroad, amid breaking news aboutimpending retaliatory strikes and fears of being stranded in Europe if Wardid in fact break out in the region, led to a unanimous vote by the Americanprofessionals not to travel to Europe.
Pat O’Connell, spokesperson for the American surfers said, “Feelings anddecisions on life after an attack on your home country are initially hard tosort through and as time goes by we realize what fears and feelings are trueand what is obvious shock reaction. In a unanimous decision, we, theAmerican surfers and our families, feel that it is not in our best personalinterest to leave our country at this time. After a week of “we are at war”news reports, transatlantic phone calls and genuine concern from our friendsand family, we feel that it is still too soon to travel internationally.With talks of Afghanistan ground attacks, possible air strikes againstproposed terrorist targets, global alliance against terrorism & threats ofbiological attacks during the coming week, we feel that it is impossible foranyone to determine the outcome and whether we would be able to return home.We all realize the magnitude and consequences of our decision and we deeplyregret the situation that these global events have put us in. We would liketo thank the ASP, Sportsworld Media Group, the WPS, IPS and the eventcoordinators and sponsors for their understanding and support during thiscrisis.”
Full support from all the WCT surfers from around the world had alreadyindicated that they would back the Americans, out of respect for theirsurfing brothers and sisters, and not go forward in competition withoutthem.
ASP President / CEO Wayne Bartholomew said, “The ebb and flow of thisdecision has been an agonizing and harrowing process. However, at the endof the day this situation represents an unprecedented emergency, and thesport stands behind the American surfers.”