Surfing – Road to Olympics 2021

The long path for Olympics surfing has made more than 100 years, and finally International Olympic Committee regarded Surfing and included it in the list of official sports......

This summer we have become part of a significant event in the world of surfing.

The long path for Olympics surfing has made more than 100 years, and finally International Olympic Committee regarded Surfing and included it in the list of official sports. As well as surfing, three additional sports are debuting at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2021 as a proposal of The Organizing Committee: karate, skateboarding and sport climbing. For the Tokyo games, shortboards were used.

We are convinced that this moment is really special and quite overwhelming for the many surfers, especially those who are on a professional route with their boards, and will help to make a step forward and take it to another level  for those who want to achieve a position in the official sporting events like Olympics.

Route to Olympics.

If we look way back, Duke Kahanamoku, the Hawaiian-born, known as “the father of modern surfing” won gold medals in swimming at the Stockholm 1912. When receiving his medal, he said his dream was to see surfing become an Olympic sport.

The International Olympic Committee

(IOC) decided in 2014 that organizing committees of each Olympic Games edition could propose new events. In September 2015, the Tokyo committee sent its proposal to include karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing as new sports.

Previously, this sport was not always taken seriously, considering it entertaining. The International Surfing Association, and his president Fernando Aguerre, with his amazing team managed to prove that surfing is a large and competitive sport, and shortly after, in August 2016, IOC approved their addition.

Thomas Bach is the president of the mentioned committee. He explained the reason behind this decision.

“We want to take sport to the youth. With the many options that young people have, we can no longer expect them to come to us automatically. We have to go to them… Taken together, the four sports are an innovative blend of established and emerging, youth-focused events that are popular in Japan and will complement the legacy of the Tokyo Games.”

So, the reason for adding surfing to the list of Olympic sports is to attract new audiences to enjoy the sporting spectacle, taking advantage of its popularity in the Japanese culture and expanding the range of disciplines.

Inclusion in the Olympics offers to surfing and other incoming sports an important global spotlight — and the most importantly, the big opportunity to grow and develop.

Fernando Aguerre

“The Olympics are the highest, largest, most visible stage for any sport. Surfing being in the Olympic Games will be great for surfing. We’ll be allowed to communicate our message and our lifestyle to billions of people. It’s developing surfing, taking it to Africa, to Asia, to Latin America — to areas where there are incredible waves,” but there aren’t as many surfers.

The path to gold.

In early summer of 2021 countries, participating in the event, carried out qualification to select and identify the best candidates who will represent the country.

The Olympic surfing field featured 20 men and 20 women at the Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach. The competition took place in groups of four or five in the two preliminary rounds. After which participants entered into a one-on-one bracket, to determine who wins gold.

Surfers were judged on every wave they ride, on a scale of 0 to 10. And only the top two highest scores from their 30-minute heat are ultimately counted.

Meanwhile, the judging process, can be a bit difficult for beginners to understand and follow, because of the unpredictability of the waves, it is all based on a five-point system.  Some of the top criteria are variety, difficulty, innovation, combination, speed, power and flow. There are a several ways that surfers can score points. It can be as usual stunning aerial tricks, as well as clean and smooth rides through the barrel of a wave.

The final day of competition started with big and clean waves that delighted the competitors. But a strong wind from the shore raised the wave, making it sharper and more inconsistent with good waves. However, it made no difference to Ferreira and Moore as they went on the attack in pursuit of Olympic gold.

Male category

Brazilian athlete Italo Ferreira became the first-ever Olympic surfing champion in the male category.

Ítalo Ferreira

In the final of the tournament, he defeated the Kanoa Igarashi (Japan), and the bronze went to Owen Wright (Australia).

After the competition, a delighted Ferreira spoke about the joy winning the gold medal brought to him. “It’s one of the best days of my life for sure,” he said. “I was so nervous at the beginning but I just tried to surf and have fun. Two months ago I was busy with training and thinking and dreaming and now I’ve got the gold medal.” The dream came true.

Italo’s words also echoing his statement from 2016, his rookie year, before his rise to the top.

“When I won my first contest my mind changed, my dreams, everything,” he begins. “Now I live the dream, so it’s time to enjoy it and have fun”.

Female category

The victory in the female category in the Olympic went to Carissa Moore (USA), who defeated Bianca Buitendag (RSA). And the bronze medal went to Amuro Tsuzuki (Japan).

Carissa moore
Carissa Moore –

Carissa Moore, world champion:

“It’s quite heavy [the medal],” Moore said. “I am incredibly happy to be a part of the Olympics. I’m very proud and honored.  It’s been a crazy couple of days. A little bit of a rollercoaster of emotions just trying to figure out the break, find my rhythm, learning how to trust myself without my family here. “I feel super blessed, super fortunate. It’s been an incredible experience. When I was young, I never dreamed of this, it was simply impossible. “It is very cool that surfing has received the highest level of recognition.”

We congratulate the Champions and cheer all the participants in the events for their devotion and loyalty to the passion they live.

The ISA has a many perspectives and dreams for the future of surfing at the Olympics. And in 2024 Surfing already was confirmed for the games in Paris, and accordingly there are huge plans to prove again the perspectives, which surfing can bring, including big interest from one of the largest communities from all around the world.

More so, ahead we are waiting for summer Olympic games in 2028, which will take place in L.A., USA, where very likely that inclusion in the official list of events will be confirmed again. And now what is the official sport of the state of California – Surfing. Then, what is the front runner for 2032 Summer Olympic – Brisbane, Gold Coast, Australia.

“It always was, and will be not just a competition, but more so a cultural experience, because we all know that in the ocean it doesn’t matter who you are, because the ocean is like a big mother with big open arms, that welcomes anybody that wants to be her child” .

We, of course share that overwhelmingly inspiring initiatives and hopes of Fernando Aguerre and ISA, and imagine the opportunities which can bring this amazing long-term vision in the future of surfing.

Thus far, we are looking forward to see there are another waves coming…

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