When it comes to surfing at the Olympics, we’d understand if you had some questions. Questions like will Kelly Slater be there? Has there been any surfing at the Olympics controversy? What big names will miss out? Will the competition be held in the ocean or man made waves? Don’t fret, we have all the answers to these enquiries (and many more to boot). Here’s almost everything you could possibly need to know about surfing’s debut at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.
Why Is It?
As in almost every aspect of surfing history the sport’s debut at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be traced back to Duke Kahanamoku. The Hawaiian, known as the father of modern surfing, won his first gold medal in the 100 metre freestyle at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. The fame and the international travel that came with his Olympic success allowed him to sow the seeds of surfing addiction all over the planet.
Over 100 years later, with the sport now practised from Brazil to Botswana and Vanuatu to Venezuela, surfing can be considered a truly international sport. In the year 2016, after a two-decade push by the International Surfing Association (ISA), the body recognised by the IOC, surfing’s bid to make its debut at the games was accepted. It will join skateboarding, baseball, karate and sport climbing as new sports at Tokyo.
Where Is It?
The competition will be held at Tsurigasaki Beach, located just 35 miles east of Tokyo on Chiba Prefecture’s Pacific coastline. The break’s reputation as a swell magnet and the fact that it is an hour’s drive from Tokyo has made it one of Japan’s most iconic surf spots. The province of Chiba has played host to a number of professional level surfing contests over the years, including a few Championship Tour (CT) events (special mention goes to one infamous final between Kelly Slater and the late Andy Irons in 2005).