JAPAN: WAVES OF HOPE FOR SURFERS ENTERING THE FIRST-EVER OLYMPIC COMPETITION

CLAIRE GUTE WRITES — The highly anticipated 2020 Summer Olympics will be held in Tokyo, Japan, following the postponement last year due to Covid-19. The games are set to occur between July 23 to August 8, with the first ever surfing competition at Tsurigasaki Beach in Ichinomiya, just 62 miles from Tokyo. (Spectators in Japan are welcome to attend competitions, although it was recently announced that foreigners will not be permitted to travel to watch the events. International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach revealed “he was ‘sorry’ when the decision was announced”).

One hundred years later, Hawaiian surf legend, pioneer and Olympic swimmer Duke Kahanamoku’s vision -of surfing as part of the Summer Olympics-is finally becoming a reality. Avid surf fans alike are eager to watch their favorite sport be featured for the first time.  The competition “will feature 20 male surfers and 20 female surfers who secured a qualifying spot at the Pan American Games, ISA World Surfing Games, and World Surf League.” The qualification process follows the ISA World Surfing Games, which are set to occur in “El Salvador from May 29 to June 6, 2021.”

And so, the sport of surfing is entering a historic period within this momentous debut at the Summer Olympics. Within the next few months, talented surfers will train diligently in hopes of securing spots to represent their countries, while also hoping that  July and August will present perfect conditions for qualified surfers. Tsurigasaki Beach is known for world-class waves, so this may well be the start of a historic global surfing competition.

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