Shock as beloved Snapper Rocks event possibly removed from tour…
Relatively hot off the wire from Queensland is the rumour that while Bells will return to its traditional Easter slot in 2022, and for at least two years after that, Snapper Rocks is finished as a tour event.
The event, which ran from 2002 (won by Joel Parkinson) until 2019 (won by Italo Ferreira), and which was won by tour great Kelly Slater four times, was postponed in 2020, COVID, and swiped off the calendar in 2021 after the Queensland state government refused to cover the cost of quarantining surfers and the WSL’s considerable entourage.
Sensing blood, NSW and Western Australia created “war chests” of up to five million dollars to snatch the event away from Queensland, which offered half-a-mill toward the running of the event, believed to cost around four mill.
At the time, state’s tourism minister Stirls Hinchcliffe said he was “disappointed at the World Surf League’s decision to chase short-term dollars at the expense of surfing tradition… The WSL made it clear holding the event at Snapper Rocks this year was conditional on the Queensland Government picking up the quarantine tab for the WSL’s international competitors.”
The teats of state governments in Australia have long been a source of nourishing funds for pro surfing, although as Longtom pointed out after the Lennox Head fiasco, “It looks like cheap rent-seeking for a product that few want in their backyards and a story that has never really made sense except for a few rare birds who live at an altitude the rest of us will never attain.”
And, “Without a functioning business model to wean itself off State Tourism bodies the WSL is locked in a prison of its own making.”
I think, deleting the Quiksilver Pro is no great loss for surfing.
It gives Snapper Rocks room to breathe, maybe even eases the gross overcrowding a little.
Timely, too, given the retirement of Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson and their ascent, or descent, however you regard ageing, into middle age.
Or maybe it’s a bummer not to see Filipe doin’ his high-speed dance across Snapper’s pretty blue walls or Kolohe Andino chase his third runner-up finish there.