Margaret River Pro canned amid shark fears
The remainder of the 2018 Margaret River Pro has been cancelled and the long-term future of the World Surf League event may be in jeopardy due to fears of shark attacks.
Two recreational surfers were mauled by sharks in separate incidents about 6km from the Pro's main event site on Monday.
Alejandro Travaglini, 37, needed surgery to both legs after he was attacked at Cobblestones beach in Gracetown, while 41-year-old Jason Longgrass walked to an ambulance after he was bitten on the leg at nearby Lefthanders break.
The WSL says the safety of surfers is a priority and they have therefore decided to cancel the rest of the competition.
"If we decided to continue the event under the current circumstances and something terrible were to take place, we would never forgive ourselves," chief executive Sophie Goldschmidt said.
Western Australia Tourism Minister Paul Papalia says he has been given guarantees from the league that Margaret River Pro will return in 2019.
But the shark scares are sure to play against hopes of the tournament earning a new deal beyond that, with the current contract to expire in 2019.
Its long-term future was under threat even before the shark incidents this week.
The event was almost cut at the end of last year before extensive campaigning by the WA government and Surfing WA secured the current two-year deal.
One-time world champion Gabriel Medina expressed fears about re-entering the water this week following the attacks and current world No.1 Italo Ferreira echoed those sentiments.
The presence of a beached whale in the area attracted sharks and contributed to their aggressive behaviour.
A white pointer and two tiger sharks followed the whale carcass as it was being towed from Lefthanders surf break to Gracetown beach, where it was loaded onto a truck.
Just how the cancellation of the event affects world title points remains to be seen.
The women's event was up to the quarterfinal stage, while the men were about to enter round three.
WSL organisers say there is a chance the remainder of the event may be run later this year at a yet-to-be decided location.
Or if that can't be squeezed into the tour, the WSL has an option of distributing points as they see fit.