Surf pro status buoys boss
Surfing WA chief executive Mark Lane is “quietly confident” the Margaret River Drug Aware Pro will have its two-year contract extended beyond 2019.
Mr Lane recently attended the World Surf League Partner Summit in California in September to discuss the future of the event after fears surfaced it would be axed from the world tour.
“Before the summit, I had already been in touch with the WSL, after the contract extension to discuss the future of the event beyond the next two years,” he said.
“We aren’t taking the contract extension lightly. We will do everything we can to see this event beyond 2019. Despite all that is happening, we are quietly confident that it will go ahead.”
Tourism Minister Paul Papalia announced the Pro’s two-year extension in August, but said the outlook of the event before the extension was dire.
Mr Papalia said the State Government saw the contract extension as important.
“The State Government, through Tourism WA, is continuously in talks with Surfing WA and the WSL on the future of the Margaret River Drug Aware Pro,” he said.
“We are proud to sponsor this high-profile international event as it presents massive tourism benefits to the State.”
Tourism WA also had a representative at the Californian summit, and executive director Saskia Doherty said the group was in ongoing talks with the WSL.
“We were represented at the 2017 WSL Partner Summit to reiterate our support of the event’s future in WA and our willingness to work proactively with the WSL and its partners to leverage our involve- ment with the world championship tour,” she said. Mr Lane said it was too soon for all parties involved to be working on specific details for a contract extension.
“We need to focus first on here and now,” he said. “However, having a Tourism WA representative at the summit gave me confidence for the path we are on.”
The Times previously reported one of Australia’s three tour legs would be axed by the WSL.