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Permit issue likely to keep 2019 Billabong Pipe Masters out of Hawaii

The World Surf League is looking at alternative locations to hold its 2019 Billabong Pipe Masters.

The WSL made the announcement Thursday after the city did not approve a permit change for the contest.

The 2018 contest will take place on Oahu's North Shore as scheduled this December.

But as part of a global revamp of its World Championship tour, the league wanted to hold its 2019 event during the same time frame it previously requested for the Volcom Pipe Pro event: Jan. 29 to Feb. 10, 2019.

The city did not approve the request, because it says the WSL failed to submit changes to its August application by the Nov. 9 deadline, as required by the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell met with WSL on Wednesday. In a press conference, he reiterated that he would not interfere with the process and change the rules.

He previously wrote: "It is the applicant's responsibility to be aware of deadlines and to make whatever changes are needed. In addition, the department must take into consideration that other applicants have applied for the same location and time period. All applications are reviewed and scored. It is unfair to hand-select WSL as the permit awardee prematurely, with no consideration to the other applicants, and to allow WSL to change the contents of the application, while the process is on-going."

In a statement Thursday, the mayor added: "The WSL has been awarded six events for the 2018/2019 winter surf season on the North Shore, more than any other applicant. I am happy that they decided not to pull out of Hawaii for the upcoming season. I am disappointed that they don't plan to apply for the 2019 Pipe Masters in Hawaii, and I hope they will keep an open mind and reconsider for the sake of giving Hawaii's young local surfers the opportunity to compete on the world stage. We look forward to working with WSL for other events in future years."

Caldwell says the city is open to changing the permit process, something the WSL is pushing for. He also wants to form an advisory committee made up of respected surfers, cultural advisers, and other community members.

"My request is cool heads," he said. "Let's talk about what we can do going forward. We've heard your concerns, and we'd like to see what we can do to make it better in the future."

"We are disappointed we will not be able to run the 2019 Billabong Pipe Masters. However, we are pleased that the Mayor recognizes that fundamental changes are required to the permit process that will benefit Hawaiian surfing, the surfers, the community and other stakeholders," WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt said. "We will assist however we can during this process and once we understand the changes, we will be able to determine which events we can invest in bringing to Hawaii in winter 2019 and beyond. As previously stated, 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 in order to help grow Hawaiian surfing in a sustainable way."

The 2018 WSL Championship Tour season will commence on March 11, 2018 with the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast at Snapper Rocks in Australia.

Click here for more information from the World Surf League.WSL PRELIMINARILY PERMITTED EVENTS FOR HAWAII 2018/2019

HIC PRO - Sunset Beach - Oct. 27 - Nov. 9, 2018

HAWAIIAN PRO - Haleiwa - Nov. 12-24, 2018

VANS WORLD CUP OF SURFING - Sunset - Nov. 25 - Dec. 6, 2018

BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS - Ehukai - Dec. 8-20, 2018

SUNSET OPEN - Sunset Beach - Jan. 18-28, 2019

VOLCOM PIPE PRO - Ehukai - Jan 29 - Feb. 10, 2019


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