Breaking News: Olympic Surfing Won’t Be Held In A Wave Pool

The IOC director has announced they are looking for a natural beach for future Olympic surf events

Photo: iStock

Rumours have been circulating for months about whether surfing and skateboarding will be part of the Summer Olympic Games.

Yesterday it was announced that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) agreed surfing and skateboarding should be introduced at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The final sign off will be completed between the 1st and 4th August in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

With the new wave pool technology taking over the world of inland surfing – and the WSL buying Kelly Slater’s wave pool – many believed that an Olympic surfing event would be held in a wave pool.

However, it’s just been announced by IOC sports director Kit McConnell that surfing will be held in a natural surf location.

Photo: WSL

“We are looking at a natural beach for surfing. Japan has a number of strong surfing areas and strong existing surfing culture,” McConnell told Magic Seaweed.

While the Land of The Rising Sun is no Hawaii when it comes to size and frequency of waves, there are already a number of World Qualifying Series events held in Japan – in areas such as Chiba, a city just 40km south-east of Tokyo.

Chiba has a number of consistent, powerful beach breaks popular with Japanese surfers and pros alike. It works best from August through to October during typhoon season, which would hypothetically work out quite nicely for the Olympic Games.

Photo: WSL

Right now, we know that there will be 20 male and 20 female surfers selected for the Olympic surfing events.

Kelly Slater has already spoken out supporting the introduction of surfing to the Olympics – saying he would be honoured to compete himself – alongside Julian Wilson and Gabriel Medina.

The question on everyone’s lips however is would this rule out landlocked countries for future Olympic bids? While wave pools would offer a mechanical consistency that you can’t get in the ocean and ironing out any scoring discrepancies, the WSL events have been faring fine on natural waves since, well…. forever.

No one is quite sure of the answer, and wave pools haven’t been totally ruled out of the equation, either way it’s an intriguing new prospect for surfing.

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