Undoubtedly, by now, everyone is feeling the impact of coronavirus COVID-19, both professionally and in their personal lives. While it is our duty to ensure we do the best for our sport and for everyone involved in windsurfing and the PWA, we all have to ensure that we do what is required for the long term good of our communities, friends and families as well. The health and safety of people the world over needs to be a priority for all of us.
Travel limitations and rules preventing large public gatherings make it impossible for most events to happen at this time. The huge demands that the current situation is putting on society cannot be underestimated and, as with many other sporting organisations, we have to support all necessary actions in the fight against coronavirus, including cancelling or postponing events as we have done already.
The impact of the virus extends far beyond just limitations on travel and large gatherings, it has also significantly impacted other aspects of the PWA Tour, with much of the new 2020 equipment needed by our athletes to compete being unavailable still, on the large part due to China’s initial shutdown, which kept many of the factories from producing equipment.
Beyond that, retail outlets are closed in many locations with equipment orders being held in limbo with no way to reach the shops (let alone the customer). Any plans for windsurfing holidays this year are at best on hold, if not cancelled entirely. This is having a profound effect on our sport and the industry that surrounds it, creating uncertainty and immediate financial difficulty for some. As with almost all industry, the year ahead will be a tricky one for windsurfing, which we know will, in turn, make life hard for our athletes, with sponsorship contracts very possibly affected. We are considering all these aspects in our decision making and contingency planning and are aware of, and understand, the challenges that all our members are facing.
It is impossible to know exactly how the situation will unfold. Right now we are working closely with all our event organisers and, so far, no further events have been cancelled. That does not mean that we are not monitoring the situation closely or that other events will not be moved or cancelled but, in each case, both the PWA and our local event partners want to do everything possible to try to make the events happen if they can – provided we can do so safely, and without negative impact to the communities that host them, our athletes, or our supporters. If that becomes impossible then we will take whatever action is necessary, but with such a dynamic situation where things could get far worse, they could also get far better, in a short space of time, so until we are forced to do so, events will not be cancelled pre-emptively. As soon as any decision is taken to cancel or postpone, we will inform you without delay.
We are, like most of you, in the process of planning and preparing for all possible scenarios and we are confident that both windsurfing and the PWA Tour will survive the challenges we are all facing. The PWA is an organisation that operates very efficiently, and our remote, satellite working practices make us well suited for working in the current environment. At present nobody can know for certain how long we will have to endure the prevailing conditions, but however long it takes, we will continue to work to bring you windsurfing events at the highest level, as soon as possible.
We will continue to update you of any developments, but in the meantime, we will keep our online and social media channels alive to entertain you from a safe distance, so please stay safe and healthy and protect those around you by following the advice of your respective governments and health authorities.
We look forward to seeing you all on the water as soon as possible.
Jimmy Diaz (PWA Chairman)
Richard Page (PWA Tour Manager)