10 Things to Know About Surfing’s Debut in Tokyo 2020

July 22, 2021

Surfing has arrived at the doorstep of the Olympic Games, set to make its debut appearance at Tokyo 2020.

Here are the 10 things you need to know about this historic moment for the sport.

1. Duke’s dream

Hawaii’s Duke Kahanamoku, an Olympic Gold Medalist swimmer and the father of modern surfing, first dreamt of surfing’s inclusion more than a century ago.

At the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Duke expressed his wish for his beloved sport of surfing to be included in the Games. Recent revelations have even suggested that Duke may have put on a surfing display for the spectators in Stockholm.

After a 20+ year campaign led by ISA President Fernando Aguerre, in 2016 the IOC approved the inclusion of Surfing in the Olympic Games. Duke’s dream was fulfilled.

Duke Kahanamoku, the father of modern surfing.

2. Who’s competing?

20 men and 20 women have made history and become the first Olympic surfers. With athletes hailing from all 5 continents and 18 different countries, the first wave of Olympic surfers will represent the truly global nature of the sport.

See the list of qualified surfers here.

3. Where to watch

Use this tool to see where you can watch the Olympics action live in your country.

For viewers in the USA, all the Surfing competition will be available on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports App with TV provider authentication.

Brazil’s Gabriel Medina will look to add an Olympic Gold Medal to his illustrious career. Photo: ISA / Ben Reed

4. The Matchups

The first round of surfing at Tokyo 2020 will be non-elimination and feature 5 heats of 4 surfers each. See the heat draws and progression here.

5. The Venue

The competition will take place at Tsurigasaki beach in the Chiba Prefecture east of Tokyo. Tsurigasaki is known as one of the most consistent breaks in the country, providing quality, sand-bottom peaks between two jetties.

Tsurigasaki beach will host the world’s best surfers for Tokyo 2020. Photo: The Surf News

6. Social Media

The ISA will be posting live updates from the competition on social media. Follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Don’t forget to use the official hashtags #StrongerTogether, #Olympics, and #Tokyo2020.

Facebook: International Surfing Association
Instagram: @ISAsurfing
Twitter: @ISAsurfing
YouTube: @ISAsurfing
Tiktok: @isasurfing

7. Follow along on isasurf.org & Olympics.com

The ISA will be updating the official event page with photos, news, schedules, athlete rosters, and event info. View here.

Real-time surfing results will also be available on the Games’ official website here.

Ramzi Boukhiam will fly the flag of Morocco at Surfing’s Olympic debut. Photo: ISA / Pablo Jimenez

8. The Schedule

The Surfing competition window will run from July 25 to August 1, with the event taking place according to the conditions. If conditions permit, the competition could run in as few as 4 days.

9. Surfing’s Qualification System

The 40 Olympic surfers qualified through a system that included 4 events: The 2019 WSL Championship Tour (CT), the 2021 and 2019 ISA World Surfing Games, and the Lima 2019 Pan Am Games.

Learn more about Surfing’s Olympic Qualification System here.

10. Paris 2024 and beyond

Surfing has already begun the first steps for creating a long-term runway for permanent inclusion in the Games. The IOC has already confirmed that Surfing will be included in the Paris 2024 Games, with the competition taking place in Tahiti.

The ISA plans to push for Surfing’s inclusion in the LA 2028 Games and beyond to make its youthful energy and high performance values a staple of the Olympics.

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