(Reuters) – The World Surfing League extended the postponement of events through June because of the COVID-19 pandemic, chief executive officer Erik Logan said on Tuesday, while at the same time announcing a major overhaul for future tours.
“As frustrating as it is, at this point the status of the 2020 Championship Tour and all of our (other) events is still unknown but we will work with all authorities on the possibility of returning to the line-up,” Logan said in a video message.
“Prior to COVID-19 we had been working very hard on how we would evolve the Championship Tour and the more we worked on this transformation, it became clear that this pause due to COVID allows us to accelerate these changes.”
Logan said last year’s end to the season, where Brazilians Italo Ferreira and Gabriel Medina went into the final heat of the final tour event in Hawaii with the title still at stake, showed that surfing needed to have a grand final every year.
“We were very fortunate that all the elements were aligned for it to happen but it is not every year that we get a dramatic world championship decider,” he said.
“But starting next year, the champion will be determined in a single day of competition on the last day of the season.”
Logan said more details of this post-season surf-off would be announced in July but he added that finishing top in of the regular tour rankings would ensure a major advantage.
Surfing will make its Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games next year.
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ken Ferris)