Sebastian Steudtner from Germany rides a wave during the Nazare Tow Surfing Challenge at Praia do Norte or North Beach in Nazare, Portugal, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)
Sebastian Steudtner from Germany rides a wave during the Nazare Tow Surfing Challenge at Praia do Norte or North Beach in Nazare, Portugal, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)
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GOLD COAST, Australia (AP) — The World Surf League is canceling or postponing all events through the end of May, citing the continued evolution of the coronavirus pandemic.

WSL events at Bells Beach in southeast Australia and at the Margaret River on the west coast have been postponed in the wake of the cancellation of the season-opening competition on the Gold Coast.

It's not expected to be a complete wipe out, though.

WSL chief executive Erik Logan is hopeful the season will get started by mid-year, saying “June feels like the most likely time to kick off the 2020 season safely.”

"We are a truly global sport. Moving tours and events between countries is challenging under the best of conditions. Under current circumstances, it's just not possible, and will not be for some time to come," Logan said in a video statement. "As a league that organizes public gatherings, we are also extremely conscious of our social responsibility not to enable and accelerate the spread of the virus."

A tour event scheduled for June 4-14 at Banyuwangi, Indonesia will either canceled or moved to an area with more infrastructure, the WSL said.

The surfing suspension follows cancellations or season delays in other sports, including the first four Formula One Grand Prix races of the season in Australia, Bahrain, Vietnam and China and the major sports leagues in the U.S.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, and most recover. The worldwide outbreak has infected more than 179,000 people and left more than 7,000 dead. More 78,000 people have recovered, most of them in China, where the outbreak started late last year.

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