Pipe Masters out of the 2019 Championship Tour schedule

February 16, 2018 | Surfing
Pipeline: not part of the 2019 Championship Tour schedule

The World Surf League (WSL) announced that the permit for the 2019 Billabong Pipe Masters has not been granted.

The public rumors were true. Oahu's Banzai Pipeline will not take part in the 2019 WSL Championship Tour (CT) schedule. At least, the ultimate surfing arena will not open next year's calendar.

"We are disappointed. However, we are pleased that the Mayor recognizes that fundamental changes are required to the permit process that will benefit Hawaiian surfing, the surfers, and the community," underlined Sophie Goldschmidt, CEO of WSL.

"We would love to continue to bring our full array of events to Hawaii, but we need to be able to plan long-term and receive the appropriate local support to help grow Hawaiian surfing in a sustainable way."

The WSL wanted to kick off the 2019 pro surfing season with the Pipe Masters, but Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell replied saying that he had already received 26 applications for surf contests on North Shore during the 2018-2019 winter season.

"Twenty-three out of the 26 were in direct conflict with each other. In other words, people competing for the same place on the same day," said Caldwell recently.

WSl threatened to suspend contests all CT and Qualifying Series (QS) events held in Hawaii. But after a meeting with the local authorities, the surfing organization left the door open to future talks.

"The WSL requires fundamental changes to the permit process in order to determine what its plans will be from winter 2019/2020 onwards," an official statement notes.

In the end, the World Surf League was able to confirm six events for the 2018/2019 winter months. Four contests will take place in 2018 - HIC Pro, Hawaiian Pro, Vans World Cup of Surfing, and the Billabong Pipe Masters; and two will run in 2019 - Sunset Open, and Volcom Pipe Pro.

But how will fans react to a Championship Tour without the ultimate surfing event? And why should the Pipe Masters open a season, instead of crowning a champion?