Picture the scene: as the Olympic Flag flutters in the ocean breeze, dueling surfers unleash a series of mesmerising skills and manoeuvres on the shimmering waves that reach the Japanese coastline.
With the high-flying Surfing contest unfolding on the waves, the rapturous crowds on a packed sandy beach are also entertained by live music and DJs – a fantastic beach party experience to witness the battle for the first ever Olympic Surfing medals.
This is the party that everyone wants to attend. This is Olympic Surfing if we are honoured to have the sport admitted to the Tokyo 2020 Sports Programme.
Surfing has a unique and modern blend of sport performance, lifestyle and youth culture and it is our aim to share these wonderful, inclusive values with our Olympic friends. We fully believe the cool vibe of the sport and its youthful energy would add an exhilarating new dimension to the Olympic Games.
Furthermore, the sport’s incredible reach among young people can provide the Olympic Movement with a unique opportunity to connect with new, younger audiences. Surfing can therefore also help to contribute to the successful implementation of Olympic Agenda 2020 and the focus on engagement and inspiration.
Importantly, our sport is popular in Japan. The island nation has hosted many fantastic national and international Surfing competitions in a number of beautiful coastal locations and there are some great Surfing spots that would be ideal venues for Olympic Surfing in 2020.
Our relationship with the Olympic Movement and inclusion in the Olympic Games has been a strategic priority for the ISA for many years. This is expressed through our work to promote Surfing globally, encouraging participation for all ages and for both genders and developing the sport in new, exciting markets where there is fantastic potential and a real appetite for Surfing – particularly in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Since January 2014 – a mere 22 months – 19 new National Surfing Federations have formed and joined the ISA, including nations like Algeria, Bangladesh, Haiti, Scotland and Norway – showcasing the sport’s booming popularity and the universality of Surfing. At the time of writing we now have 97 member federations.
Our sport is blessed with some of the coolest young athletes on the planet. Their incredible wave-riding skills will capture
Fernando Aguerre. (Getty Images)
the imagination of watching audiences and these Surfing superstars have strong reach on digital and social media, which will further promote the Games and the Olympic brand to the younger generation. And all these athletes want to be a part of the Games.
Surfing is a visually powerful sport and the energy of our star athletes on the waves, with cameras on boards and on drones above the action, will light up TV screens, laptops and hand held devices around the world.
Surfing is also pioneering revolutionary new wave pool technology. The next generation of wave parks are well on their way. They are another means of growth for our sport and we are very confident that as the technology continues to advance we will see new facilitates capable of hosting world-class competitions in the near future.
These are exciting times for our sport and we are thrilled by the prospect of sharing the stoke at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Our thanks go to all those colleagues at Tokyo 2020 and the IOC who share our vision and have made our Olympic dream a possibility.
Fernando Aguerre is the President of the International Surfing Association.
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