Last week the International Surfing Association submitted an application to the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee for the inclusion of Surfing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. This isn't the first time the ISA has made such an application, and it's unlikely to be the last, but given the advancements in wave pool technology and surfing's growing profile as a mainstream sport, it may be it's best chance yet.
ISA President Fernando Aguerre made the following statement:
"Our relationship with the Olympic Movement and inclusion in the Games has been a strategic priority for the ISA for many years and we are excited and energized by the spirit of change that has given us this opportunity.
“I firmly believe that Surfing’s incredible youth appeal, its unique core values and the sports willingness to innovate and embrace new technology would add huge value to Tokyo 2020 and to the Olympic Movement.
“I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to the IOC and to Tokyo 2020 for providing this opportunity. The ISA and the Surfing community will continue to do all that we can to help make our Olympic dream become a reality."
Surfer Mag asked a number of high-profile surfers, surf writers, and industry figures for their thoughts on the issue, a selection of which can be read below; head to the Surfer website for their responses in full.
Taylor Knox, Veteran World Tour Surfer:
Surfing should be an Olympic Sport for sure... It would be unreal competing alongside Kelly Slater against friends like Mick Fanning, while representing the U.S.A.
Sean Doherty, SURFER Senior Writer:
No, no and err…no.
Fernando Aguerre, ISA President:
Look at snowboarding for a future view of what surfing could look like if it were a part of the Olympics... I believe it’s just a matter of time until it happens. We’re very close. The Duke asked for surfing’s inclusion in the Olympics as early as 1920, but the biggest drawback is the fact that waves don’t exist in many of the Games’ host cities. Hence, manmade waves will be needed.
Matt Warshaw, SURFER Historian:
...the thought of surfing in the Olympics brings a familiar dab of bile to my throat.
Gabriel Medina, World Champ:
...it would be a sick competition with the Brazilians teaming together against the other countries. And of course we would win. Haha!
Steve Hawk, Former SURFER Editor:
Surfing is at its worst when people are trying to exploit it, and this push for the Olympics feels like it’s being driven by the exploiters. And I fear we’ll all end up being embarrassed if it happens. If it were up to a vote, I’d say no for sure.
Dave Prodan, ASP International Media Manager:
...I am torn on whether or not surfing is an appropriate fit for it. I absolutely think the athleticism performed by surfers qualifies it as a worthy activity, but the lack of a static playing field would be a challenge to hosting a worthy event in some nations and a virtual impossibility in others.
Damien Hobgood, Veteran World Tour Surfer:
This may sound like a selfish or a bad thing, but I’ve never really been that into seeing surfing in the Olympics...