Ceremony with People of Tabanivono i Wai – Cloudbreak Tower Rebuild – Fiji Pro

October 9, 2023
One Ocean Fiji Team on the beach
One Ocean Fiji Team on the beach | Image: Supplied

Abstact

Fiji Pro: The World Surf League (WSL) is the global home of competitive surfing, crowning the undisputed World Champions since 1976 and showcasing the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves. WSL is comprised of the Tours and Competition division, which oversees and operates more than 180 global competitions each year; WSL WaveCo, home of the world’s largest high-performance, human-made wave; and WSL Studios, an independent producer of unscripted and scripted projects.

Main Article

Press Release: The World Surf League (WSL) and the Fiji Government last month announced the highly anticipated return of the Fiji Pro to the elite Championship Tour (CT) schedule in 2024. In addition to this exciting news, the WSL is deepening its commitment to the local communities that play an integral role in making this event a reality, via a significant donation of FJ$60,000 to the people of Tabanivono i Wai (Nabila & Momi villages) as a goodwill contribution for their support for the event and to facilitate access to the rebuilt Cloudbreak judging tower and reef annually.

The Fiji Pro is not just about world-class surfing; it’s about the deep connection between sport and community. This year’s announcement is even more special as it signifies the rebuilding of the Cloudbreak judging tower, which was destroyed during cyclone Harold in 2021 after standing tall for over two decades.

To mark this occasion, a traditional welcome and sevusevu ceremony was held today at the Nabila community hall. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, Honourable Viliame Gavoka was welcomed by the people of Tabanivono i Wai (Nabila and Momi village), followed by a sevusevu where WSL paid respects and expressed gratitude to the local community for their support in rebuilding the Cloudbreak tower.

The World Surfing League’s return to Fiji is making a positive impact on the community, boosting the economy, creating jobs, and fostering local pride while promoting environmental conservation

“Giving back to the local community and traditional custodians is an important part of tourism. In this case, we are empowering the people of Tabanivono i Wai who stand to benefit from commercialising the soon to be built Cloudbreak Tower,” said Hon. Gavoka.

Tourism Fiji CEO, Brent Hill highlighted this event as a crucial moment of recognition as to how tourism benefits and rebuilds the local communities.

“Events like the WSL not only boost tourism in Fiji but also forge meaningful connections with the local people, culture, and environment. We take great pride in collaborating with WSL to make this event a reality, generating a wide range of economic activities.”

WSL will cover the entire cost of constructing the new tower and donate it to Nabila and Momi Villages. A local working committee will be established to manage the tower, exploring opportunities for revenue generation outside of the event windows. This initiative aims to benefit the local communities year-round, ensuring that the tower’s operation adheres to the highest Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) standards.

Andrew Stark, WSL APAC President stated that “the WSL is grateful to the Fiji government and the local community for having the event back next year as it is a very exciting time for all involved and we look forward to working closely with the local community to create a lasting positive impact.” 

He further added that “the WSL is committed and focused on community impact through our events. The rebuilding of the tower along with the initiative for Tabanivono i Wai to use the tower asset as a source of income throughout the year only compounds our commitment to Fiji and its people. We are also proud to make this FJ$60,000 donation to the community along with the positive economic and social impact that will flow through the tower building phase and through the event.” (Full speech below)

As the world’s best surfers prepare to take on Cloudbreak’s perfect lefts in 2024, they do so with the knowledge that this event goes beyond competition – it is a positive commitment to both the sport and the communities that make it all possible.

Traditional welcome and sevusevu ceremony


On Monday 9th 2023, October, a special ceremony was held at the Nabila Community Hall with the people of Tabanivono i Wai (Nabila and Momi Village), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, Honourable Viliame Gavoka, and World Surf League APAC President Andrew Stark.
On Monday 9th 2023, October, a special ceremony was held at the Nabila Community Hall with the people of Tabanivono i Wai (Nabila and Momi Village), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, Honourable Viliame Gavoka, and World Surf League APAC President Andrew Stark. | Image: Supplied

On Monday 9th October, a special ceremony was held at the Nabila Community Hall with the people of Tabanivono i Wai (Nabila and Momi Village), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, Honourable Viliame Gavoka, and World Surf League APAC President Andrew Stark.

The essence of the occasion was to signify that the World Surf League (WSL) is committed to the Championship Tour event’s return to Fiji and the local communities in which the event is run.

As part of the special ceremony a traditional welcome and sevusevu ceremony was held and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, Honourable Viliame Gavoka was welcomed by the people of Tabanivono i Wai (Nabila and Momi village), followed by a sevusevu where WSL paid respects and expressed gratitude to the local community for their support in rebuilding the Cloudbreak tower.

At the ceremony WSL presented a whale tooth to the people of Tabanivono i Wai (Nabila and Momi village), which is the ultimate sign of respect in Fijian culture. WSL also gifted the Kava and mats that were used for the ceremony, which is a Fijian cultural custom.

The WSL has committed to build a new tower at Cloudbreak.


Cloudbreak judging tower destroyed during cyclone Harold in 2021
Cloudbreak judging tower destroyed during cyclone Harold in 2021 | Image: Supplied

The Cloudbreak judging tower was unfortunately destroyed during cyclone Harold in 2021 after standing tall for over 20yrs, thus requiring a new improved tower to be constructed.

New Cloudbreak proposed judging tower Design, Mamanuca Islands Fiji
New Cloudbreak proposed judging tower Design, Mamanuca Islands Fiji | Image: Supplied

The WSL has allocated FJD$60,000 to the people of Tabanivono I Wai (Nabila & Momi villages) as a goodwill payment due to the new tower being constructed and for access to the tower and reef annually.

WSL will in addition cover the cost to construct the new tower and donate the tower to Nabila & Momi Villages. A local working committee to manage the tower will be formed for other revenue generation opportunities for the local Nabila & Momi villages outside of the event windows every year along with ensuring that the OHS practices are adhered to when it’s in use.  [Press Release PDF]

Andrew Stark Full Unedited Speech


Andrew Stark at the Ceremony with People of Tabanivono i Wai - Cloudbreak Tower Rebuild
Andrew Stark Chief Guest at the Cloudbreak Tower Rebuild Ceremony with People of Tabanivono I Wai, Fiji | Image: Supplied

Bula Good Afternoon, my name is Andrew Stark. I am the President of WSL Asia Pacific, and I am truly honoured and excited to be here today to discuss the exciting return of the Fiji Pro WSL event.

I would firstly like to acknowledge and sincerely thank the acting Prime Minister, Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, Honourable Viliame Gavoka.

Also, I would like to acknowledge the Turaqa Itaukei Tabanivono I Wai and the people of Momi and Nabila Villages.

Also, thanks and acknowledgement to Brent Hill, CEO of Tourism Fiji.

The WSL is grateful to the Fiji Government and the local community for having the event back next year. It is a very exciting time for all, and we look forward to working with the local community to create a lasting impact. We are committed to staging the event in 2024, 2025, and 2026, and we look forward to working towards keeping the event in the future in Fiji.

The essence of the occasion today is to signify that the World Surf League (WSL) is committed to the Championship Tour events returning to Fiji and the local communities in which the event is run.

We propose to rebuild the cloudbreak judging tower that was unfortunately destroyed during Hurricane Harold in 2021. WSL will cover the cost of constructing the new tower, and we would like to donate the new tower to Nabila and Momi Villages.

The WSL has also allocated FJD$60,000 to the people of Tabanivono I Wai (Nabila and Momi Villages) as a goodwill gesture payment to acknowledge that the new tower is being constructed. We will establish an agreement between the parties.

To maximise community impact from the tower, we propose that a local working committee be set up to manage the tower. The committee will oversee other revenue generation opportunities for the local Nabila and Momi villages outside of the event windows every year, along with ensuring that OHS practices are adhered to when in use.

We would like to nominate Jon Roseman of Tavaruan Island Resort and Uri Kurop, who is our Fiji WSL Representative, to be on the tower committee along with representatives from Tabanivono I Wai (Nabila and Momi Villages).

The WSl is extremely committed and focused on community impact through our events and the rebuilding of the tower, along with the initiative for Tabanivono I Wai to use the tower asset as a source of income through other events that take place at Cloudbreak, which only demonstrates our commitment to Fiji and its people. We are also proud to make this $60,000 donation to the community, along with the positive economic impact that will flow through the tower building phase and through the event.

Vinaka and a sincere thank you for having me. Fiji is dear to me personally, as I came here as a young boy playing rugby and was with my late father. A very big Vinaka Vaka Levu to everyone here today.

YouTube Video: Fiji Pro


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