ISA ensures the participation of proven worlds best surfers from the WCT while providing opportunities for non-CT surfers to represent their countries.
March 25, 2018.
Last week the ISA and the International Olympic Committee released the qualification process for surfing in the upcoming Olympic games. This qualification system is the result from the discussions between the WSL, ISA and the International Olympic Committee. It ensures spots for proven world-class surfers from the WCT as well as creating opportunities for non-CT surfers to represent their country.
Last December the WSL and ISA reached a landmark agreement and issued press releases giving a rough outline of how the process would go – 18 of the 40 slots would go to WCT surfers and a maximum of 4 surfers per country.
Now, after months of building on that initial agreement, the ISA and IOC have reached what they say promotes universal opportunities for surfers and enables for the world’s best surfers to compete in the Games.
The key details of the Olympic qualification system are as follows:
- 20 men, 20 women.
- Maximum of 2 surfers per gender per National Olympic Committee (NOC).
- Qualification spots will be earned on an individual basis, by name.
- In accordance with IOC guidelines, the qualification events have been determined in hierarchical order of qualification, as further explained below; If two surfers of a gender have qualified through the first hierarchical order, that NOC will not be able to qualify more surfers of that gender through qualifying events lower in hierarchical order.
- All surfers selected by their respective National Federations for their national teams must participate in 2019 and 2020 ISA World Surfing Games in order to be eligible for Olympic qualification. The final details of the eligibility requirements are still under review by the ISA and the IOC.
Here is the hierarchical order for qualification.
- 2019 World Surf League Championship Tour: First 10 eligible men and first 8 eligible women.
- 2020 ISA World Surfing Games: First 4 eligible men and first 6 eligible women.
- 2019 ISA World Surfing Games: 4 men and 4 women selected based on their continent. Top finishing eligible surfer of each gender from Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
- 2019 Pan American Games: First eligible man and first eligible woman in the surfing competitions.
- Host nation slot: One man and one woman slot will be guaranteed for the host nation of Japan, unless already filled through the above hierarchies. Should athletes from Japan qualify regularly, their slots will be reallocated to the highest ranked eligible surfers from the 2020 World Surfing Games.
The complete Olympic Qualification System for surfing in Tokyo 2020 is available here.
Following this decision, any CT surfer that is within Olympic Qualifying range via the WCT must compete in the 2019 and 2020 ISA World Surfing games, something that normally WCT surfers don’t do. With each country receiving 4 of the 40 slots that means a total of ten countries will be represented, while only eight countries are currently represented on the WCT.
In the result that there are not 10 eligible athletes within the top 34 ranked on the 2019 WSL Championship tour the slots will be given as follows:
- To the highest ranked surfer on the 2019 WSL CT rankings from the country of the
men’s and women’s team gold medalists in the WSG in 2020. Should there be no
athlete represented on the 2019 WSL CT rankings from the NOC of the 2020 WSG
team gold medalists, the highest ranked athlete from the NOC from final 2019 WSL
Qualifying Series (QS) rankings shall be used to determine the qualified athlete.
- Should there still be quota places remaining, such places will be allocated to the
next highest ranked eligible athletes on the final 2019 WSL Qualifying System (QS)
The host country Japan has one guaranteed spot for a man and a woman each. Kanoa Igarashi has the opportunity to surf for either Japan or the US, the country he chooses could certainly be the one to take gold.