Last week the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that five new sports would be included in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The sports include: Baseball/softball, skateboarding, sports climbing, karate, and surfing.
Surfer Magazine reports that the Olympic surfing events will take place in the ocean, not a wave pool as some speculated. There will be 40 competitors from all over the world competing for the gold, evenly split between the genders.
In less exciting news, the competition will only consist of shortboards. Longboarders, bodyboarders, and SUP surfers will not be included. Perhaps in the future though, if the shortboard category proves popular enough, such divisions can be created.
Surfing organizations such as the International Surfing Association and World Surf League have been celebrating the achievement of their sport’s inclusion.
In an interview with Surfline, Paul Speaker, CEO of World Surf League said:
We’re excited. There’s no bigger global platform for the sport than to have surfing included in the Olympics. It’s an extraordinary thing. Hats off to Fernando. I mean, it was over two decades of working to get to this point, and we’re happy that our surfers felt the Olympics are a valuable thing. Representing a country is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and a Gold Medal is something that I imagine every athlete dreams of as a child.
Fernando Aguerre, president of the International Surfing Association, has been working with the IOC for around 20 years to add surfing to the Olympics according to Speaker.
In a separate interview with Surfline, Aguerre said:
This was a wave I’ve paddled for 22 years. Many times I thought Olympic surfing was going to take place, but not under my presidency. But I never cared about that. If someone else was finishing this, it was because someone started it.
The two organizations will work together with the IOC to insure the events run smoothly. Speaker said the World Surf League will mostly take care of their athletes and provide insight, while the International Surfing Association will handle format, locations, and judging.
When asked what a surfing scene at the Olympics would look like by Surfer Magazine, Aguerre suggested it could be something similar to the U.S. Open.
The IOC has asked us to to create a full-on beach scene at [the Tokyo Olympic’s beach site in Chiba] that will last the whole length of the Olympics. It will include the surf events of course, but also organic food, yoga in the morning—it will be a place where you want to hang out. There might be a skate ramp — maybe it will be like what you see at the U.S. Open. It’s never been done before at the Olympics.
As SUP enthusiasts here at California Kiteboarding, we’re still a little disappointed SUP won’t be included, but we’re looking forward to seeing how this plays out. Congratulations surfing!