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The 2020 Aloha Classic cancelled due to ongoing Covid-19 safety concerns

by International Windsurfing Tour 29 Jul 2020 04:15 PDT
Takuma Sugi - 2019 Mercedes-Benz Aloha Classic day 4 © Si Crowther / IWT

"Maui Mayor seeks renewed inter-island travel quarantine"
(Maui Times, July 25 2020)

"Calling recent Oahu COVID-19 numbers "extremely dangerous," Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said Friday that he asked the governor to reinstate the 14-day inter-island travel quarantine. "The (Oahu) numbers have been extremely high, and it's passed some of the trigger points we have discussed at some of our meetings about stepping back if necessary," Victorino said during a county news conference Friday afternoon." (Maui Times, July 25 2020)

In light of this dangerous resurgence in case numbers and the risk to the Maui community and international competitors, The International Windsurfing Tour (IWT), announced today that the 2020 Aloha Classic will not go ahead.

IWT Director Simeon Glasson said that, "As the Grand Final, the Super Bowl of windsurfing, and the most prestigious event on the official IWT 2020 Wave Tour calendar, we have been working extremely hard to find a way for the event to go forward in this most challenging year in our history. IWT Aloha Classic Event Director Dawn Pooley has been in close and constant contact with the County of Maui staff to navigate options for the event to proceed. Dawn and the County of Maui had a workable plan in motion that would have allowed competitors and local residents to be safe while still running the event in late October, but this new wave of cases across the islands has substantially escalated the risks profile for an international event of this size."

Mayor Victorino's letter to the Governor of Hawaii states, "Furthermore, we will be evaluating the need for suspension of medium to high risk activities in Maui County."

"The IWT supports Mayor Victorino in his call for caution. The IWT supports the County of Maui and the Department of Parks & Recreation, in their decision to protect the Maui community," said IWT Director Simeon Glasson.

"We are all deeply saddened by theses events, deeply saddened by the further loss of economic activity that this cancellation will mean for the people of Maui (the event is estimated to bring in well over USD $1,000,000 into the local economy), deeply saddened by the economic hardships faced by so many in the local Maui community, deeply saddened by the increasing number of people living homeless on the island as a result of the loss of a thriving tourism economy, deeply saddened by those who are struggling with illness, loss and economic pain from this pandemic across all of Hawaii, mainland USA and the world generally. These are obviously very tough times indeed and so we will, of course, play our small part in keeping people safe by cancelling the 2020 Aloha Classic."

Thankfully the online #IWTBIGWAVE Challenge will proceed as planned. There is no need for any international travel, so no Covid-19 risks, as this competition format is entirely based on people riding big waves wherever they may be (with no physical interaction with large groups) and capturing those waves in photo or video to be posted with the hashtag #IWTBIGWAVE. It turns out that this is a very pandemic resilient contest model! We are grateful that we can still celebrate the great wave riders of the world and entertain the global windsurfing fan base in this way and we look forward to the big swells rolling in around the world. Stay tuned!

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