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Margaret River Pro to remain on World Surf League schedule despite shark fears
Despite shark scares at its 2018 edition, the Margaret River Pro will remain on the World Surf League schedule after it secured a contract extension with the Western Australian Government until 2021.
Last year’s event was called off midway through the competition after two non-fatal shark attacks nearby.
The presence of beached whales in the area attracted sharks and contributed to their aggressive behaviour.
The Margaret River Pro’s future beyond 2019 was already in doubt even before the shark attacks but the Western Australian Government and Tourism WA have put up the funds to secure a two-year contract extension.
However, it remains to be seen whether the world’s best surfers feel safe returning to Margaret River. After last year’s incidents, two-time world champion Gabriel Medina and Brazilian Italo Ferreira expressed fears about entering the water in Margaret River.
Medina said after the attack “I just don’t feel comfortable surfing there. I will never surf by myself here because it’s not safe” while Ferreira tweeted at the time “I do not feel comfortable training and competing in places like this.”
The new deal will also include opportunities to showcase other parts of Western Australia's coastline, through video content during the event's broadcast.
Comments on the contract extension, Western Australian Tourism Minister Paul Papalia stated "Margaret River is one of Western Australia's key tourist destinations, known around the world for magnificent surf, its premium food and wine, and its stunning natural assets including majestic forests and caves.
"The Margaret River Pro not only injects money and creates jobs for the local economy, but it gives us the opportunity to showcase the region and the state to a global audience.”
The Margaret River Pro has been part of the WSL Championship Tour since 2014 and has regularly attracted the world’s best surfers, including Kelly Slater, John John Florence, Mick Fanning, and Stephanie Gilmore.
A Hall of Fame with the names of winners of the Margaret River Pro is engraved can be seen at event site. After last year’s Margaret River Pro was called off, someone wrote ‘shark’ in the 2018 winner’s section.
This year’s Margaret River Pro will start on 29th May.
21st January 2019 - Western Australia promoted as sports event and training hub for Asia
19th November 2018 - World Surf League announces Commercial Director appointment
2nd November 2018 - Tourism Council WA calls for change in Western Australian tourism activity
6th September 2018 - Former world surfing chief executive named Tourism WA Managing Director
18th April 2018 - Shark attacks prompt cancellation of Margaret River Pro surfing event
29th November 2017 - 2018 World Surf League calendar to include artificial wave park venue
7th April 2013 - Drug Aware Margaret River Pro sets new records
3rd December 2012 - Tourism spotlight to shine on Margaret River
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