Surfing’s journey toward inclusion in the Olympic games just took another turn. While event organizers in Tokyo for the 2020 games have lobbied to add surfing, the general assumption has been that competition would be possible with the introduction and popularity of reliable wave pools. This summer, surfing made it onto the short list of new events for the 2020 games. Then this past month Tokyo 2020 organizers made an official proposal for five sports they’d like to include in the total games medal count. That proposal was part of a new rule that allows the host city to pick a sport of their liking, with no limit on how many overall events the games could feature, significantly boosting the likelihood of seeing surfers on medal podiums.
The latest piece of the puzzle now has wave pool detractors breathing a sigh of relief, as Tokyo 2020 made a new recommendation to the IOC that surfing take place in “natural ocean waves” if it is included in the Olympic program.
In response to the news, ISA President Fernando Aguerre said, “We are delighted that Surfing will take place on natural waves if it is admitted to the Tokyo 2020 Sports Programme. Surfing is hugely popular in Japan and the country has hosted many national and international competitions in a number of beautiful ocean locations. There are some great and thriving beach-based Surfing hotspots to choose from which would be ideal for Olympic Surfing.”
“The new wave pool technology remains very much on the Surfing agenda and the next generation of wave parks are on their way. It is great to know that Surfing is developing and growing on so many different fronts. These are exciting times for our sport.”