Last week the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that surfing will be among the five proposed sports- along with baseball/softball, skateboarding, sports climbing, and karate- added to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
According to the press release from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Organising Committee:
This package of events represents both traditional and emerging, youth-focused events, all of which are popular both in Japan and internationally. They will serve as a driving force to further promote the Olympic Movement and its values, with a focus on youth appeal, and will add value to the Games by engaging the Japanese population and new audiences worldwide, reflecting the Tokyo 2020 Games vision.
Fernando Aguerre, president of the International Surfing Association believes that this is an extraordinary step for surfing:
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. 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.
Now, whatever your opinion on this addition may be, there are definitely flaws within competitive surfing that question how practical it is- one being that the ocean is an unpredictable, uneven playing field. Unlike a halfpipe where each skater rides the same vert walls, every wave is different in the ocean. There has been talk about artificial wave pools setting the stage for Olympic surfing because they create identical waves for the surfers to compete on and eliminate other uncertainties in the ocean such as flat spells.
But for now, we will have to wait until August 2016 for the IOC to make its final decision.