Have you heard? Surfing is in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan!
The decision to add surfing was actually made back at the 2016 Summer Olympics
In Rio De Janeiro , Brazil. The surfing competition in Japan will be held at Shidashita
Beach. Haven’t heard of Shidashita Beach? That’s O.K. It is not one of the top 10 places
to surf, or a top 50 surf spot for that matter, but we will take it for the sake of it. Why?
Surfing’s heritage is an open ocean wave riding sport. There is the surfer as an athlete, but
the athlete also has to judge the incoming set and read the waves. The surfer must withstand
the ocean elements, and pull off an athletically skilled ocean wave ride on an unpredictable
and unique wave never before created. A true beauty to the sport of surfing.
To hold the Olympic surfing competition in a man made concrete wave pool with identical
wave height and consistency would be like holding white water kayaking in an amusement water park.
Take the sport of snowboarding too. Snowboarding has always been on a fixed surface, but you have
the mountain downhill, and you have the man made halfpipe. If those events are separated, hands
down, surfing in the ocean should be a seperate competition than surfing in a concrete pool.
The ocean is a gift to the surfer. For every surfer to enjoy. Even if the wave quality does not fall
into World Champion Wave category. That is the unpredictable wave element that each Olympic surfing
athlete must account for.
The surfing event is allotted 4 days for the competition. However, the organizers have a window
to work in between July 22 and August 09, 2020. They will remain flexible to give an opportunity to
catch a swell at the best possible time. However, the IOC also has the task of organizing all the
Olympic sports, so you see where the ability to have wave predictability would be helpful.
Waiting for the right wave is nothing new to surfers, or surfing fans, but if you are not familiar
with the sport of surfing you may not know this is how all surf competitions have been held for decades.
It will still be typhoon season in Japan, similar to a farmer, we patiently wait to see the natural elements.
How do the surfers qualify to compete in the Olympics? Twenty men and twenty women will compete.
A maximum of 4 surfers, 2 women and 2 men, per host country. The surfers will be chosen from
multiple competitions held throughout the 2019 and 2020 season. The competitions have been placed
in a hieratical order. The first in the hierarchy is the World Surf League Championship Tour (WSL).
The competition is currently running at different waves around the world. The completion of the
tour is in December 2019. The top 10 men and 8 women will be chosen.
The second hierarchal competition is the 2020 International Surfing Association’s World Surf
Games (ISA). This competition will be held at a TBD wave in May 2020.
The top 4 men and 6 Women will qualify.
The third competition in the hierarchy was the 2019 ISA World Surf Games held at Miyazaki Japan.
The top 4 men and top 4 women based on the top eligible surfer of each gender for the
continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, and Oceania will be chosen.
The 4th Competition in the hierarchy was the Pan Am games in Lima, Peru. The top female, and top
male surfer will qualify.
Last, but not least, is the host country of Japan. Japan has an automatic 1 male and 1 female surfer.
Surfing competitions have always had surfers representing multiple countries competing on waves
all around the world. Surfing is a perfect fit for the Olympic Games.
With this first year of the Olympics, we will be able to see better known surf competitors along
with some surfers you might not know about yet. The lesser known might not have had the
exposer or the monetary means to compete in the World Tour. Many top surfers have corporate
sponsors that enable them to fly all over the world and compete in all the competitions.
The new surfing faces may not have the sponsors, but the nation they represent will help them because
they will be representing their country in the Olympic Games. These surfers will be Olympic qualified
athletes ready to showcase there athletic abilities alongside standing champions.
We are hoping for an exciting wave riding competition, and ocean waves that encourage
the IOC to choose the wonderful open ocean in the 2024 Summer Olympics in France, and
the 2028 Summer Olympics in California.
The Olympic exposer of surfing will indeed add to the line-up crowd. Remember to surf with gratitude.
There is no such thing as some random surfer so share the waves, and ride EZ.