It’s official! Surfing will be included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics!
Following yesterday’s announcement, the surf world has been awash mainly with excitement, but also with grumbles of malcontent from certain corners.
(See if you can guess which side of the argument your correspondent is on).
After much speculation about formats, venues, divisions, here’s what we do know:
- The event will take place in the actual sea. Not in a wave pool, not in a dome. The venue will be one of the well known Japanese surf breaks at Chiba, near Tokyo.
- 20 men and 20 women will take part.
- The format will be shortboards only. No longboards, bodyboards, SUPs, kneelos, handplanes, tandems, etc. Sorry.
The man largely behind surfing’s 25 year campaign to be included in the Games of the Olympiad is Fernando Aguerre, ISA President.
In case you are unaware, the ISA is a South American-centric governing body whose main USP is that it’s not the ASP, I mean WSL. Fernando Aguerre is also co-founder of Reef, and the brains behind that brand’s use of provocative photos of arched back women in g-strings to sell flip flops.
Now does the idea of our sport’s starlets earning even more money, fame, adoration and urging on further millions to take up the sport excite you? Do you relish the idea of being able to stick BBC1 on and show your parents what you love to do? Or does the idea of the ancient sport of the ali’i being defiled by a ’14 billion dollar advert for the world’s worst companies’ have your inner puritan cat sicking in indignation?
Perhaps you’re wondering what it’ll actually be like. Aguerre said to SurferMag recently, “There might be a skate ramp — maybe it will be like what you see at the U.S. Open”
“This is a huge moment for professional surfing and further highlights surfing’s rise as a global participatory and spectator sport,” said the WSL’s CEO Paul Speaker.
Most pro surfers are understandably happy about the decision, with the likes of Leo Fioravanti gushing on his social media channels, all Olympics rings and Italian flags.
However, as reported on Beachgrit, the likes of Owen Wright are somewhat less thrilled, “Fuck the Olympics,” Owen is quoted (pre-injury, last year). “I think surfing in itself is more of an art form and an expression so I think the Olympic banner doesn’t really suit it”
If you are one of those people who thinks the Olympic should essentially be track and field with a bit of swimming and cycling, or that other team or individual sports should be included, so long as Olympic Gold is the highest honour in that sport (as in, not golf, tennis, etc), well you might get some sympatico here.
However, you might get even more if you went on to point out that, shit, if dancing pets is an Olympic sport, then why the fook shouldn’t surfing be?