The World Surf League (WSL) has officially confirmed the cancellation of the annual Gold Coast Corona Open at Snapper Rocks.

The event has been axed from the WSL Australian leg of their championship tour.

The long-running Corona Open at Snapper Rocks has been relocated to the Sydney suburb of North Narrabeen, after almost 20 years on the Gold Coast.

It is another blow to the Gold Coast tourism industry which continues to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic amid international and state border closures.

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Cancellation ‘unfortunate’

The WSL said in a statement that the cancellation was “unfortunate,” but necessary due to Queensland coronavirus restrictions.

“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.”

WSL Asia Pacific General Manager, Andrew Stark said it was an extremely difficult time.

“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,” Mr Stark said.

“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.”

Headshot of Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk listening at media conference.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she hoped the surfing would return to the Gold Coast in future.(ABC News: Chris Gillette)

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she hoped the event will return in the future.

“I hope in years to come they will come back to the Gold Coast.

“But at the moment, COVID-safe plans, keeping Queensland safe, keeping the Gold Coast safe, is paramount.”

A ‘coup’ for northern beaches

Sydney’s Northern Beaches Council said it will co-sponsor the marquee event along with the NSW Government.

A man stands on the rocks photographing the swell at Narrabeen North beach.
A man stands on the rocks photographing the swell at Narrabeen North beach.(Supplied: Adrian Thrisk)

Mayor Michael Regan described it as a coup for the area.

“The WSL is a perfect fit with the lifestyle we are very proud of in our coastal community.

“We welcome this opportunity and the promise of much-needed economic activity and jobs for our local businesses.

“With surfing to make its Olympic debut in Tokyo this year, there will be additional interest on the tussle at this elite level of the sport.”

The event will be held on 16-26 April attracting over 50 professional surfers including 11-time world champion Kelly Slater, Julian Wilson and female stars Stephanie Gilmore and Tyler Wright.



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