Popular surfing event wiped out by coronavirus
ONE of the most significant annual competitions on the Northern NSW surfing calendar has been cancelled due to the health concerns arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday Surfing NSW announced on behalf of the organisation and Le-Ba Boardriders and the entire committee for the Skullcandy Oz Grom Cup that the competition held each July at Lennox Head is cancelled for 2020.
The six-day event was slated to run from 7 July – 11 July and normally comprises a World Surf League (WSL) sanctioned Pro Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) event as well as an elite competition for promising grommets in the 12, 14 and 16-year age divisions.
Lennox Head Nyxie Ryan, 16, said she had been training hard and hoping to make 2020 her hat-trick for the event.
“I am super bummed, because this is such a good comp and I’m said it’s been cancelled,” she said.
“In 2019 I won the U16 Girls event and in 2018 I won the event’s Pro Junior.”
Surfing NSW event manager Ethan Smith said the competition which is widely considered to be one of the biggest junior events in the world, attracting an international field with surfers coming from as far away as Europe, USA and Japan, and usually comprises a field of more than 220 surfers across all divisions.
Smith said the cancellation, while understandable during the pandemic, is a sad time for junior athletes.
“It’s a huge hiccup for these young surfers”, he said.
“This event usually attracts a lot of international entrants as well as local talent.”
Smith said that Surfing NSW is still hoping that some other of its events can run later this year.
“The goalposts keep changing every day with the pandemic,” he said.
“One day the curve is flattening, the next it’s up.”
Smith said it’s also tough for the local businesses who normally benefit from the influx of visitors each July.
“The local surfing community will be the ones hindered by the cancellation, as well as the surf club losing out on sponsorship.”
“The economic impact on the town, the surfing shops, bakery and the pub will have a downturn based on the fact there are less people there.”