WSL Suspends Pipe Masters After Event Crew (Including CEO Erik Logan) Contract Coronavirus
Oh. my. god.
Certainly, not the news we wanted to hear (or share) on a Friday evening, but here it goes.
From the WSL:
The WSL has decided to suspend the Billabong Pipe Masters presented by Hydro Flask competition as a result of positive COVID-19 tests within the WSL staff, including WSL CEO Erik Logan.
The WSL is committed to prioritizing the safety of the athletes, staff and surrounding community above all else, and is working closely and transparently with the Hawaii State Department of Health to determine the path forward.
As part of the league’s COVID Safety Plan, anyone who has returned a confirmed positive test is self-isolating until they are cleared, and contact tracing protocols have been fully implemented. The WSL does not believe that any athletes have been exposed and will continue to execute the safety protocols.
We’ll update this story with more info as it comes.
UPDATE 8:15 pm PST
We’ve come to learn that this “suspension” might not be as drastic as it first appeared.
Here’s the deal: In order to align with covid precautions, the WSL had to get a filming permit rather than an event permit to run the Pipe Masters, which is why they’re able to keep all bystanders off the beach (as it’s essentially their “film set”).
The thing with filming permits, though, is that if any of the crew contract covid, the entire production needs to shut down immediately to comply with Hawaii state laws. From what we understand, there is a single crew member (who is not a WSL employee) that tested positive for coronavirus, plus, amazingly, Erik Logan, who is obviously the CEO.
Essentially, everyone else that’s part of the production now needs to isolate and be re-tested. If everyone tests negative, it’s likely they’ll be able to get the event up and running again within the original event window. If not, the WSL is considering the possibility of an extension.
The main point is that, while unfortunate, this news does not spell the end of the WSL season, or even the Pipe Masters. This protocol was very well understood before the event started, and the WSL was fully prepared to handle such a situation.
For now, all we can do is wait and hope that no other WSL production members, staffers, or surfers have tested positive.
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