This needs to get straightened out. Photo: Brian Bielmann
A Missed Deadline May Result In The WSL Completely Pulling Out Of Hawaii
A letter from the Mayor of Honolulu, Kirk Caldwell.
The World Surf League continues to face off with City and County of Honolulu over policies regarding surf contest permit applications. The WSL is currently seeking a permit change for the winter season of 2018/2019. The change would see the Volcom Pipe Pro canceled in order to run two consecutive Pipe Masters events, one ending the 2018 season and another roughly a month later to kick off the 2019 season.
Today, in response to a perceived misrepresentation of the situation on the part of the WSL, Mayor Kirk Caldwell released the following statement:
The current permitting rules for surfing contests have been in place for years and were developed to balance the interests of the community with organizations that hold competitions. The process to secure permits at our beach parks is well known to all stakeholders, including officials with the World Surf League. The mayor and the director of Parks and Recreation do not have the authority to circumvent the rules, and arbitrarily changing them would be unfair to all parties involved, especially those applicants who are applying for the same location and time period as the WSL.
Swapping the Volcom Pipe Pro for the Billabong Pipe Masters for the January 29 through February 10 (2019) waiting period, as the WSL is demanding, would constitute a major change in the scope and type of event that would be held, even before the 2018-19 permits have been awarded. This would place other applicants at a disadvantage and be extremely unfair.
WSL missed the November 9 deadline to amend its permit applications (see attached letter), and the Department of Parks and Recreation must remain fair to those who followed the rules. However, WSL believes the city should grant their request without hesitation, outside of the established rules, because of their economic impact to the community. They have also intimated that they may not return in the next three years if their request is not granted.
The city's decision regarding this matter is about fairness, not money. If the changes WSL is requesting are indeed minor as the company claims, than the drastic action that is being threatened should not be taken. The city appreciates the contributions of WSL and hopes it will not jeopardize the relationship with Hawai‘i based on what it says are minor changes. WSL is free to incorporate its proposed changes for the 2019/2020 season during the next permit application period, and we encourage them to do so.
The resolution of the stand-off will have far-reaching effects within the realm of professional surfing. Effects within the economy of Hawaii are not quite so clear.
More to come as the story develops.