September 28th, 2015 – The International Surfing Association (ISA) has today expressed its delight at the decision by Tokyo 2020 to recommend to the IOC that Surfing is included on the Sports Programme for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The IOC will now make the final decision on the sports to be added to the 2020 Programme at the 129th IOC Session in Rio in August 2016.
The IOC also added skateboarding to the shortlist of five sports to be potentially added to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic roster.
“Surfing has incredible and growing global appeal, particularly amongst young people, and we believe that the dynamic energy of the sport and its fan base around the world would bring many benefits for Tokyo 2020 and the Games,” said ISA President Fernando Aguerre.
Speaking about the recommendation, ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, said:
“Tokyo 2020’s announcement today is an extraordinary moment for our sport and for the global Surfing Community. The ISA has been riding an amazing wave in this journey for Olympic inclusion and we are thrilled that Tokyo 2020 recognise the exceptional value and youthful lifestyle that Surfing can bring to the 2020 Games. We are deeply grateful to Tokyo 2020 and the IOC for providing us with this wonderful opportunity. We are immensely proud of our sport and what it would bring to the Games and we will continue to work closely with the Olympic Movement to achieve our Olympic dream.
Surfing embodies a cool, playful lifestyle that would add a completely new element to the programme, helping the Games reach new fans through live action and stunning broadcast opportunities.
“Today’s announcement gives us renewed drive and focus and we are looking forward to working closely with the IOC and Tokyo 2020 in the crucial months ahead to deliver the best possible solution to the IOC Session in Rio.”
Casper Steinfath (Denmark), ISA Vice-President, 2-time World Champion and Chairperson of the ISA Athletes’ Commission, said:
“Young, aspiring Surfers around the world are rejoicing today. This is a truly epic decision that will inspire and motivate all my fellow athletes to dream big and go for Gold in 2020. I am extremely stoked for my sport, but also for how Surfing will bring new excitement to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games if it is admitted by the IOC next year.”
Tia Blanco (USA), 2015 ISA World Surfing Games Champion, Professional Surfer and Member of the ISA Athletes’ Commission, said:
“Surfing would be an absolutely amazing addition to the Tokyo 2020 Games and I can’t wait for the opportunity to represent my country on the greatest sporting stage. The chance to Surf for Gold for my country in Tokyo would be a dream come true.”
The Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee has announced that it is proposing Baseball/Softball, Karate, Skateboarding, Sport Climbing and Surfing to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to be included as additional sports in the 2020 Summer Olympics. Surfing was originally considered as an option through an ISA bid with WSL’s support.
“We are pleased that surfing has been recommended for inclusion in the 2020 Games by the Tokyo Olympic Organizers,” said Kieren Perrow, Commissioner of the World Surf League, the sport’s global professional governing body. “Surfing’s international growth over the past few years, its loyal and enthusiastic fans combined with its globally recognized athletes makes it an ideal sport to showcase on the Olympic stage. We’re excited to show billions of Olympic viewers the athleticism and artistry of these world-class surfers.”
The WSL will release further details as they become available.
Taylor Knox, Veteran World Tour Surfer:
Surfing should be an Olympic Sport for sure. We surf against the best surfers from countries around the world on the ASP. It would be unreal competing alongside Kelly Slater against friends like Mick Fanning, while representing the U.S.A. Now more then ever there are many countries with talented surfers. Signs point to continuing in this direction. It would be hard to have the event when the hosting city is land locked, but with the way technology is going it seems we will be able to bring world class waves and surfing anywhere.
Sean Doherty, SURFER Senior Writer:
No, no and err…no. Olympic sports are all anchored around fairness and level playing fields, but the ocean doesn’t offer that. The only way surfing would ever be considered an Olympic sport is if it was held in wave pools, and if it was held in wave pools then I wouldn’t consider it surfing. The fact that no two waves are ever the same is what makes surfing, surfing. It’s not designed to be fair. The ocean isn’t fair, and unless you’re Kelly the ocean really doesn’t give a shit about you.
Fernando Aguerre, ISA President:
If surfing were to be included in the Olympics, I don’t think it would change the sport at all. Look at snowboarding for a future view of what surfing could look like if it were a part of the Olympics. I don’t believe surfing needs to change anything to become part of the Games. 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. The IOC wants to see solid world-class waves, so surfing’s future in the Olympic Games could be assured. I believe this technology will be available at a reasonable cost in the very near future.
Matt Warshaw, SURFER Historian:
Thought I was done being pissed off over the 100-year mainstreaming of this wonderful sport. Thought I was old enough, and far away enough from Orange County, to not much care. But the thought of surfing in the Olympics brings a familiar dab of bile to my throat. Can we just all agree to pretend, for a little while longer, that surfing is a unique thing to do? That this difference has in fact always been it’s strength?
Gabriel Medina, World Champ:
Yes, I think surfing should be included, and I would absolutely love to surf in the Olympics. It would be such a great honor to represent my country. Plus, it would be a sick competition with the Brazilians teaming together against the other counties. And of course we would win. Haha! Hopefully it will happen.
Dave Prodan, ASP International Media Manager:
Personally, I’m a big fan of the Olympics and enjoy any activity that pits nations against one another in friendly competition. However, 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. I love the Olympics, but for some reason seeing surfing as part of that hasn’t ever really been something that I’ve felt very strongly about. I’m sure that there are a lot of kids out there who dream about surfing in the Olympics, and I think that’s great, but it’s not something I’m particularly passionate about. I love the idea of representing my country, but I feel like I do that anyway right now.