April 2, 2018. The debut of Olympic surfing is two years away and some countries are not wasting any time in preparation while others hardly flinch at the idea. Australia is booking sessions in a world-class wave pool and other nations are not receiving funding or support at all. As imagined, the Aussies are picking up quite a bit of support given their high chances of taking home a medal. Adversely, the UK, a country less-known for their surfing culture has been written off by their governing sports organization and will not receive any funding.
Last week the surf associations between the British Nations of England, Scotland, Wales, and the Channel Islands released a statement explaining their funding situation for an Olympic campaign. UK Sport is the lead distributors of Olympic Sports funding for the United Kingdom. They’ve decided that the surfing federations will not receive funding to pursue Olympic Medal.
“We have made submissions of funding requests and submission of all relevant data to UK Sport. On extensive analysis, UK Sport believes it is currently unlikely that currently, any British surfer will win a medal in Tokyo 2020. UK Sport investment is wholly focused on medal-winning performances to inspire our nation.” – UK Surf Associations
” It is also yet to be confirmed if surfing will be in the 2024 and 2028 Olympics which also makes attracting investment into surfing a challenge. We will continue to collectively work to source performance funding.”
Thanks but no thanks says the UK, we’d rather do curling. Meanwhile, in Australia, they have fully supported surfing entering the Olympic stage. Looking towards a victory Surfing Australia announced that they’ve already secured time for their Olympic surf training camps and will be the first team to prepare at Kelly Slater’s wave pool. So far, they are to run two separate training camps at the location.
In order to take home a medal, Australia wants to give every opportunity presentable to the surfers. They’re going to be the most prepared they can be for the start of the 2020 Games.
“We want to provide our athletes with every advantage possible when preparing them for the upcoming Olympics where surfing will make its debut, and going to Surf Ranch is the ultimate way to achieve that,” said Andrew Stark, Surfing Australia CEO. “Coming to train at WSL’s facility is aligned with our commitment to providing our team access to the best training and technology available.”
“Our Australian Olympic Readiness program is about ensuring that we are the absolute best-prepared nation headed into Japan 2020 and we firmly believe that the Surf Ranch training camps will be a strong addition to our extensive high-performance program.”
Although the waves in Chiba don’t quite resemble those of the Surf Ranch, the wave pool training will be beneficial. Allowing the surfers to get a feel for the team aspect will be a change for the competitive surfers. It would be no surprise to see nations like the United States or Brazil to start booking training sessions themselves.
Founders’ Cup is the first time the Ranch will be open to the public. Five teams representing USA, Brazil, Australia, Europe and a World Team comprised of men’s and women’s surfers from the elite WSL Championship Tour will compete over the two-day event against a festival backdrop honoring the culture of surfing. Food, music, beverage, art, and special guests will all be on site for the inaugural event.