Accelerate Sport, event organisers of the Zigzag Durban Surf Pro, scheduled to run from 10 to 12 May 2019 at Durban’s North Beach has regrettably had to cancel the event due to Durban beaches being closed because of high levels of sewage from Durban Harbour affecting the surrounding area.
Below is an excerpt from the letter explaining the severity of the situation.
Please be advised that we are suspending all diving operations and fishing in the port due to the sewage flowing into the port. It is approximately 720 000 litters per hour that is flowing through. The City has taken the sewage pumps out and these pumps require spares that will be coming from overseas.
Our Environmental Department has been engaging with the City but will only be able to contain this spillage earliest by the 31st May 2019.
Furthermore, damages on City infrastructure are making matters worse. Port of Durban has invoked BCP as we need to do water samples. We need to test for dissolved oxygen levels, and do analysis of faecal contamination across the port.
A recent Ecoli account puts the pollution at mind-boggling levels – 15 5231 at Addington. “Good” water quality is less than 100. “Poor” is anything more than 2000.
Zigzag, a long time supporter and media partner of the event, has always believed that the safety of surfers comes first, and whilst its unfortunate that the event can’t take place , the danger of any athlete failing ill is not worth the risk.
With regards to re locating the event, it’s not as easy as it seems. Accelerate Sports weighed up various options but logistically, it simply wasn’t possible.
The difficulty of moving locations is that it would have taken at least a day to secure a permit for an event of this size, but the event would also need 3 days to run and complete.
Starting the event and not being able to complete it by Sunday 12 May 2019 would have meant no winners would have been finalised and the surfers competing would have forfeited a refund of their entry fees. Due to WSL rules, as soon as an event gets underway, the option of refunds falls away if an event is incomplete.