Following much discussion between Billabong, the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), World Professional Surfers (WPS) and the Mundaka Surf Club, it has been decided that due to recent deterioration of wave conditions at Mundaka, the 2005 Billabong Pro World Championship Tour (WCT) event will not take place.
After closely monitoring the sandbar that generates the wave and months of waiting for a possible regeneration it was decided that the location could not guarantee the high quality conditions required for an event of WCT standard.
“This has been one of the most difficult decisions to make, said Derek O’Neill CEO of Billabong International. “We’ve been in constant communication with the Mundaka Surf Club and the Town Hall for many months and a decision had to be made. We have had a long association with Mundaka and we intend to work closely with all concerned in the hope that the conditions will allow us to return in 2006.
The governing body of the Foster’s Men’s World Tour, the ASP, was equally disappointed that the event was not taking place but like Billabong was confident that the cancellation of this year’s event was only a “one-off.
“Currently we have the Foster’s Men’s World Tour running in 12 of the best locations around the world, said Wayne Bartholomew, President of the ASP. “ASP have a great affection for the Mundaka people and the wave, but without the guarantee that Mundaka would produce a quality platform for the athletes to perform we felt it best to look forward to 2006 and hope that the wave will return.
Representing the Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour surfers, Jake Paterson felt that it was big blow as the annual visit to the region was one that was always well looked forward to.
“It’s a great disappointment that we can’t compete at Mundaka this year -- it is a favored stop on the WCT. We’ve always been welcomed into the area with open arms and the warmth and friendship from the Mundaka people is always amazing. Let’s hope that wave returns and we can get down to business there in 2006.
The Mundaka Surf Club, the local surfing organization which strongly supports the event, felt that the decision was best not only for the WCT but also so as not to tarnish the region’s reputation for staging world class surfing events.
“To celebrate a competition with the current situation would damage the image of the Basque country, Mundaka and the surrounding areas and the surfing community, they said. “We would like to thank Billabong, the principle sponsor of the competition for its actions and commitment to the town on Mundaka, the Basque Country and the surfers as we wait for the return of the necessary conditions to celebrate such a prestigious international event.
Despite this cancellation Billabong remain soundly committed to professional men’s, women’s and junior surfing, hosting the Billabong Pro events in Tahiti, Jeffreys Bay, South Africa and Maui, plus the Billabong Pro Teen series in Australia as well as the Billabong World Junior Championship in Narrabeen, Sydney, Australia.