Surfing at the Olympics

After lobbying for inclusion into the Olympic Games for many years, surfing was finally accepted onto the program for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, along with four other new sports. Surfing was confirmed as an Olympic sport for Tokyo 2020 in August of 2016.

Some of the challenges the sport will face is making it a more spectator friendly sport, and also it would be a challenge for a landlocked country without a coastline to host a surfing event. Even if there was a coastal area, it does not mean that good surf could be guaranteed. This may mean that Olympic surfing would require the construction of an expensive wave-generating stadium, which would be pretty cool.


The Surfing competition at Tokyo 2020 will feature 20 men and 20 women and will take place on natural waves at Tsurigasaki Beach on the Chiba peninsula. In an agreement between the World Surf League (WSL) and the International Surfing Association (ISA), 18 of the 40 places at the Games reserved for WSL Championship Tour (CT) surfers (10 men and eight women), with the remaining 22 places determined at the 2019 and 2020 ISA World Surfing Games, the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, and a single slot (each for men and women) for the host nation (Japan).

Surfing is already on the program for the World Beach Games. The sport was also added to the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, which boosted its chances of being included in the program for the 2020 Olympics.

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