Note: The following letter was sent out by Harry Hodge, CEO of Quiksilver Europe.
Quiksilver would like to update and clarify the situation in respect to the cancellation the European leg of the WCT Tour.
Since the shocking events in the USA on September 11TH, the ASP and the sponsors of the European events worked together to ensure the correct decision was made in respect to the European leg of the ASP Tour.
We all felt it was appropriate, for safety reasons, that the American surfers together, with the ASP surfers’ representatives, on behalf of the WPS (World Professional Surfers), make a final decision as to whether they would travel to Europe to compete.
The ASP received a definitive response from the surfers last Thursday, September 20th that the American professional surfers agreed not to travel to Europe for the 30 day, three tournament World Tour leg.
Earlier in the week Jake Paterson said in an E mail to all surfers. “The majority of the Aussie guys here (in Portugal) are very concerned about the situation and we will support whatever decision the Americans make because we realize that you are worst affected.”
Given other examples of cancellations of European sporting events, most notably the Ryder Cup in Great Britain, PGA golf and ATP tennis tournaments in Portugal and the fact that very few American sportsmen planned to travel to Europe, including Tiger Woods for the Lancome Trophy in Paris, it is obvious the correct decision has been made.
General Motors has banned all employees from traveling internationally, except on corporate planes and ATT and Dell Computor are insisting employees, during this period in time, use tele-conferencing instead of traveling to Europe.
It must be noted that to put on “hold” or “postpone” the events in Europe was not a viable option as the closer each event gets means that infrastructure and expenses are incurred are totally lost if the event is finally cancelled. As was the case with Portugal.
Right now neither Quikslver and Billabong have not been placed in this position.
In turn Quiksilver has offered to pay the ASP their full sanction fee to support professional surfing and the professional surfers.
“We will also ensure our event remains with the $300,000 USD prizemoney for 2002.” Said Harry Hodge.
Quiksilver believes it would have been insensitive and clearly inappropriate to disregard the surfers decision and to push ahead regardless.
Surfing would have been one of the only international sports to proceed against public opinion and the decision of the athletes.
[IMAGE 2]Pat O’Connell, representing the American surfers said. “We feel it is too soon to travel internationally. We all realize the magnitude and consequences of our decision and we deeply regret the situation that these global events have put us in. We would like to thank the ASP, Sportworld Media Group, the WPS, the IPS and the event co-ordinators and sponsors for their understanding and support during this crisis.”
Billabong Europe PDG, Derek O’Neill said last week. “Billabong respects the decision taken today by the ASP and the WCT surfers, which was obviously difficult to take, to cancel the European leg of the WCT Tour. The latest developments after last week’s horrific events have shown that it would be hard to continue and we have been prepared for this. We hope that the tour can resume again soon and look forward to holding the Mundaka Billabong Pro in the future.”
“Derek O’Neill and myself kept in close contact with the ASP and each other during the past two weeks to ensure we acted in a bi-partisan way and in the best interests of everyone concerned, especially the American pro surfers.” Said Harry Hodge.