Rip Curl Blog
Australian Leg of 2021 WSL Championship Tour Announced as Rip Curl Take Naming Rights for Three New Events
Today, the World Surf League (WSL) confirmed the updated schedule for the Championship Tour (CT) Australian leg, announcing the three upcoming events in North Narrabeen, Margaret River, and Rottnest Island. The WSL also announced the cancellation of the 2021 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach and Corona Open Gold Coast pres. by Billabong.
Australian Leg of 2021 WSL Championship Tour*:
* All tour stops and dates subject to change due to applicable COVID-19 related restrictions, including global travel restrictions.
- Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona: April 1 - 11
- Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic pres. by Corona: April 16 - 26
- Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro pres. by Corona: May 2-12
- Rip Curl Rottnest Search pres. by Corona: May 16 - 26
The WSL will concentrate its Australian CT events in New South Wales and Western Australia, following approvals for pre-approved quarantine bubbles. The WSL could not achieve these bubbles in Victoria and Queensland in the short amount of time it needed to do so but could in Western Australia, hence the two events in each state given the charter of international athletes lands in NSW.
"The WSL is truly excited to have the CT coming back to Australia in 2021 with the addition of an extra event," said WSL APAC General Manager, Andrew Stark. “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.
Although it's very 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 genuinely thank all of our partners for their patience, understanding and support during this extremely difficult time. The WSL can't wait to get the tour back underway and run epic and safe events for our athletes, fans and partners in Australia."
Last week, the WSL announced the agreement with the New South Wales Government that will see all international competitors board a chartered flight in Los Angeles that will land in Sydney. Once in Australia, all traveling athletes and support staff will undergo the mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine and must receive a medical clearance from public health officials before entering the general community and preparing for competition in Newcastle.
The WSL will implement a robust and thorough COVID-19 health and safety plan for each event during the Australian leg of the CT in accordance with federal and state guidance. The WSL’s health and safety plan includes physical distancing measures, temperature checks, enhanced high-touch cleaning at the event site, contact tracing procedures, sanitizer stations throughout the event site, and minimal personnel on-site.
Rip Curl Take Naming Rights for Three New Events of Australian leg
Iconic surf brand Rip Curl has come on board for three of the four events as the naming rights sponsor in Newcastle, North Narrabeen, and Rottnest Island continuing their long and generous support of professional surfing.
“When the WSL told us they had three alternative World Tour events to sponsor after the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach got cancelled due to Covid 19 we did what comes natural and got involved,” said Rip Curl Founder and pro surfing legend Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick. The former WSL judge, competitor and Board Member sees it as a great opportunity to keep pro surfing rolling. “Newcastle, Narrabeen and Margaret River have long-term pro surfing histories; and Rottnest Island gave us the chance to bring back the Rip Curl Search, which hasn’t run since twice world champion Gabe Medina won in San Francisco a decade ago. The Cup, The Classic, The Masters and The Search. That’s a great Quaddie to go for! Congratulations to WSL. They are working very hard to keep the Tour alive and we are privileged to be onboard. We love watching the world’s best surfers ripping in great waves.”
Three New Stops Added to 2021 Championship Tour
Joining Margaret River on the elite CT will be three new CT stops in New South Wales and Western Australia. The opening stop of the Australian leg will see the Championship Tour head to the pro surfing hub of Merewether Beach in Newcastle continuing over 35 years of professional surfing history in this iconic Australian city.
Following Newcastle, the CT will head south to the Northern Beaches of Sydney to North Narrabeen. Similarly to Newcastle, North Narrabeen has a rich surfing lineage producing some of surfing’s biggest names. Home to legends such as Simon Anderson, Nathan Hedge, Laura Enever and Damien Hardman to name a few, the high-performance lefts of North Narra have hosted dozens of professional events over the last four decades with the Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic pres. by Corona CT being the first event since the World Junior Championships over a decade ago.
“Narrabeen is one of Australia’s most iconic surfing beaches and we want to make sure the community can make the most of the recreational, tourism and economic benefits that surfing provides,” said NSW Deputy Premier, John Barilaro. “The impacts of COVID-19 hit the Northern Beaches hard, with forced lockdowns over Christmas last year, and our support for this event will stimulate the local economy and showcase Narrabeen as a world-class surfing and tourism destination.”
“This highly coveted Championship Tour will bring much-needed tourism dollars into the local shops, eateries, and accommodation here in Narrabeen and surrounds, helping to rebuild our economy after a very tough year for many local businesses,” said Rob Stokes, Member for Pittwater. “I’m thrilled to see this spectacular event coming to our shores, boosting our profile on the global stage and encouraging a sense of pride in our community.
“This is a huge opportunity to showcase the Northern Beaches on the world stage for ten days,” said Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan. “The WSL is a perfect fit with the lifestyle we are very proud of in our coastal community. This will bring much-needed economic activity and jobs to local businesses.”
“We haven’t had a world tour event on the Northern Beaches for over 20 years, it is going to be great for surfers, particularly grommets, to see the best surfers in the world competing at Narrabeen, the most consistent wave in Sydney,” said local legend and two-time World Champion Damian Hardman. “After the impact of the Northern Beaches being forced into a COVID lockdown over the busy Xmas period this event could not come at a better time for many businesses.”
The third event of the Australian leg is a more familiar one for competitors and surf fans alike, Margaret River, where competition returns to the rugged and raw waters of South West Western Australia. Competitors will be tested as always with one of the most diverse events seeing Main Break and The Box coming into play across the event window.
The pristine nature reserve of Rottnest Island will host the fourth stop of the Australian Championship Tour leg. The island is offshore from Western Australia’s capital, Perth, and its breaks are some of the most consistent in the state. Strickland Bay, where the event will take place, is predominantly a left and is considered one of the best waves in south-west Western Australia.
“The Margaret River Pro has already captured the hearts and minds of this audience the world over with its waves, wines and magnificent forests. The Rip Curl Rottnest Search is a great platform to open their eyes further to the adventures that await them here,” said Tourism Western Australia Acting Managing Director, Derryn Belford. “We have an excellent long-term relationship with the WSL and were delighted that WA could be part of a solution to the current challenging environment they’re working in. The addition of the Rip Curl Rottnest Search to the tour is a win for our partnership. This one-off event gives the WSL a much-needed world-class stop on the tour, while significantly bolstering the profile of Western Australia as a surf tourism destination.”
“This one off event represents another real opportunity for a WA female and male surfer to compete at the highest level possible in Surfing,” said Surfing WA CEO Mark Lane. “Bronte MacAuley and Jack Robinson are both examples of WA surfers who have been provided with a similar opportunity via Wild Card positions in the past - and have successfully taken the step to legitimately earn themself a full time position on the World Championship Tour.”
While Rottnest Island will remain open for visitors while hosting the event, spectators won’t be permitted in order to limit environmental impacts to the island.