The Margaret River Pro surfing competition has been cancelled by organisers due to safety concerns following two shark attacks near Gracetown on Monday.
The event had been suspended yesterday due to poor conditions, but in a statement this morning World Surf League CEO Sophie Goldschmidt said the event could not continue due to safety concerns.
“The WSL puts the highest premium on safety,” Ms Goldschmidt said in a statement.
“This cannot be just talk, and it cannot be compromised.”
A difficult decision, but surfer and staff safety are paramount to the @WSL . The situation in Margaret River is unique right now w/ the presence of actively aggressive sharks in the area as well as beached whales. Thanks to our partners, surfers and community for understanding. https://t.co/MwA9ACIrlG
— Sophie Goldschmidt (@sogoldschmidt) April 18, 2018
The move comes after two of the world’s top surfers said they did not feel safe competing in the Margaret River region in the wake of the attacks.
Brazilian surfers Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferreira took to social media to voice their concerns, with Medina saying anything could happen at any time and Ferreira calling it “very dangerous”.
Ms Goldschmidt said surfing carried various forms of risk, but the cancellation was necessary.
“Sharks are an occasional reality of WSL competitions, and of surfing in general,” she said.
“Everyone associated with our sport knows that.
“There have been incidents in the past – and it’s possible that there will be incidents in the future – which did not (and will not) result in the cancellation of an event.
“However, current circumstances are very unusual and troubling, and we have decided that the elevated risk during this season’s Margaret River Pro has crossed the threshold for what is acceptable.”