Earlier today, the International Olympic Committee announced five new additions to the Olympics: surfing, skateboarding, karate, baseball/softball, and sports climbing.
Described as the most “comprehensive evolution” of the Olympic Games to date, the additions are reported to be aimed at “bringing the Games to young people.”
The Olympic plans are said to include the construction of skateboard and sports climbing facilities in an urban setting where the events are planned to be held, said to reflect a trend of “urbanization” of sport.
“Taken together, the five sports are an innovative combination of established and emerging, youth-focused events that are popular in Japan and will add to the legacy of the Tokyo Games,” IOC President Thomas Bach was quoted.
The press release from the IOC does not provide details on a possible Olympic surfing venue. Under the right conditions, breaks in Japan are said to be comparable to those in Indonesia, but that the country’s surf is fickle, as reported by JapanSurf.com.
Much of the attention of the surfing community has focused on the artificial wave unveiled to the world by 11-time world champ Kelly Slater last December, as previously reported by the Inquisitr. The Olympic surfing event will be held in the ocean, not in man-made waves, as reported by Surfer Magazine.
Now shuttered, Japan was home to the world’s premiere artificial surfing wave for many years, the Seagaia Ocean Dome. The wave was the site of several professional surfing competitions and was said to be visited by 1.25 million people per year at its peak.
Surfing first made an appearance in the Summer Games in 2000, in Sydney, Australia, as reported by the Daily Beast. The 2020 Olympic surfing event will be the first appearance of the Polynesian sport since then. The 2020 games will be the first time skateboarders have appeared.
“It’s not a big deal to us at the mag,” Jaime Owens with Transworld Skateboarding was quoted by GrindTV. “They need skateboarding more than we need them. They just want to make money off of something we love and live for.”
“High-performance shortboarding only,” writes Surfer Magazine. It appears that both professional and amateur surfers will be eligible to compete.
“The IOC does not want to build more ‘white elephants’ — structures that have no use after the Olympics are over,” Aguerre explained. “So the IOC and Tokyo decided that since there are waves nearby, it’s better to do it in the ocean. We’re happy to be in the ocean.”
In total, the Olympic surfing competition is expected to take two full days to run. It is said to be planned that the surfing event will have the entire games as a window in order to increase chances of the surfers encountering favorable conditions.