"I will never surf by myself here because it’s not safe.”
Australia has a population of 25 million hearty souls and three World Surf League Championship Tour contests, the greatest of which is Margaret River there on the continental island’s west side. Margs is scenic, has a variety of waves and is filled to overflowing with sharks. Who could forget last year when the event, brought to us all by Western Australia’s tourism department, was cancelled due to nearby shark attacks and resumed across the sea in Bali?
A wonderful moment for Western Australian tourism courtesy of our World Surf League.
Well, everyone must have been very pleased with the bright light shown on Uluwatu, very picturesque itself, because the contest has been re-upped for the next three years and let’s read the Guardian. Let’s really learn why.
The Margaret River Pro will remain on the World Surf League schedule after it secured a contract extension until 2021, despite last year’s shark scares. The 2018 event was called off midway through the competition after two non-fatal shark attacks nearby.
Alejandro Travaglini needed surgery to both legs after he was attacked at Cobblestones beach in Gracetown, while Jason Longgrass walked to an ambulance after he was bitten on the leg at nearby Lefthanders break. 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 WA state 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 nearby shark attacks, two-time world champion Gabriel Medina and Brazilian Italo Ferreira expressed fears about entering the water in Margaret River.
“I just don’t feel comfortable surfing there. I will never surf by myself here because it’s not safe,” Medina said after the attack while Ferreira tweeted at the time: “I do not feel comfortable training and competing in places like this.”
So…. hypothetical here. What if 2018 World Champion and very good friend of Neymar, Mr. Gabriel Medina, makes it to the quarters and his opponent bows out midway with injury. Let’s just call his opponent Kelly Slater and let’s say Kelly’s massively shattered foot acts up and Gabriel Medina has to be out there alone.
Will he follow Kelly to the beach?
Will he qualify for the injury wildcard next year?