Kael Walsh: he was ready to compete in Round 3 | Photo: Dunbar/WSL

The World Surf League (WSL) decided to cancel the remainder of the 2018 Margaret River Pro.

The third event on the 2018 Championship Tour saw two separate shark incidents taking place near Gracetown, roughly six kilometers away from Margaret River's Main Break.

Sophie Goldschmidt, CEO of WSL, informed the surfers that there were not enough conditions to resume the contest and that the sharky waters would threaten the safety of the competitors.

"Safety cannot be just talk, and it cannot be compromised. Surfing carries various forms of risk, and is unique in that wild animals inhabit the performance environment," Goldschmidt explained.

It was the second time in the history of the CT that an event is canceled before its completion. The first time was in 2015 when Mick Fanning was attacked by a shark during the J-Bay Open final.

"Sharks are an occasional reality, and there have been incidents in the past. The current circumstances are very unusual and troubling, and they have crossed the threshold for what is acceptable."

Gabriel Medina was one of the surfers who expressed his discomfort with running an event in shark-infested waters. Now, he is happy with the call.

"I thank the WSL for caring about the safety of all athletes and canceling the event due to recent events," wrote the Brazilian surfer.

The Margaret River Pro was canceled when the women's event was in the quarterfinals, and the men's competition was ready for Round 3.

As a result, and according to the WSL rulebook, all male surfers in Round 3 will get a 13th place finish and 1665 points, while female athletes will earn 4745 points and a 5th place finish for the quarterfinal stage.


Although Western Australia is one of the most shark-infested regions in the world, the WSL has not ruled out the possibility of completing the contest elsewhere during the season.

Surfing Western Australia Understands the Decision

The region governing body for surfing in Western Australia is disappointed with the outcome, but understands and supports the decisions.

"The safety of surfers and event crew is paramount, as it should be. The unique and unusual circumstances of whale carcasses at sites both north and south of Main Break escalated activity and thus the safety risk," noted Justin Majeks, event director at Surfing Western Australia.

"We worked with Department of Fisheries who yesterday removed the whale carcass from Lefthanders that was attracting sharks. We increased the number of jet skis in our Water Patrol Australia safety team and increased the drones used for surveillance."

"The Margaret River Pro has a long history holding surfing competition, and there is one more year in the contract with WSL. Discussions will take place to renegotiate, as per the usual course of business. The WSL has stated that they have no plans not to return in the future."

2018 Margaret River Women's Pro | Quarterfinal Matchups

Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW)
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) vs. Johanne Defay (FRA)
Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Lakey Peterson (USA)

2018 Margaret River Men’s Pro | Round 3 Matchups

Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Keanu Asing (HAW)
Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Michael February (ZAF)
Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Michael Rodrigues (BRA)
Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Conner Coffin (USA)
Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Kael Walsh (AUS)
Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Jack Robinson (AUS)
Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Connor O’Leary (AUS)
Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Willian Cardoso (BRA)
Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Yago Dora (BRA)
Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)
John John Florence (HAW) vs. Mikey Wright (AUS)