Surfing Is Now A Permanent Olympic Sport - Stab Mag

Surfing Is Now A Permanent Olympic Sport

And now there’s an opportunity to get frisky with ‘other disciplines’.

elsewhere // Feb 15, 2022
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Surfing and the Olympics have tied the knot, forever. 

Earlier this month, the International Olympic Committee approved surfing’s bid for the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles, and the International Surfing Association announced surfing’s status as a permanent sport in the Olympic roster. That means more funding, more inclusion of ‘various surfing disciplines’, and more commitment to surfing’s Olympic future.

There’s a couple of things of note here:

  1. Surfing and the Olympics have said their vowels and consecrated their marriage. Horny.
  2. ‘Other disciplines’. Longboarding? SUP’s? Foils? Dogs? Joel Tudor’s verbal tirade caused quite the commotion when he called out the WSL for not running Women’s longboarding events. Is the IOC’s inclusion of ‘various disciplines’ a better place for JT to vent his smoke? 
  3. ‘More funding’ means more entertainment, bigger contests, and a better broadcast. “Only 28 sports – we can call them ‘permanent’ or ‘core’ sports – receive distribution of funding from the Olympic Games. In other words, since surfing was only invited as a one-time deal to Tokyo and upcoming in Paris, it received nothing. But for LA 2028, we are one of those core sports,” said ISA President, Fernando Aguerre.

By most metrics, surfing’s 2020 Olympic debut in Tokyo was a success. We had 40 surfers in total, 18 CT surfers who qualified by their end of year rankings (2 from each country), 8 surfers that qualified via the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games, 12 from the 2021 ISA World Surfing Games, and 2 from the 2019 Pan American Games. If we didn’t have Italo, John, Gabby, Riss, Steph, it could’ve easily fallen short.

Additionally, there was no one on the beach at Tsuriagasaki who put their leg rope on the wrong foot, which is the kind of thing you would expect to see at an Olympic sports debut had the top-two surfers from any of the world’s 44-landlocked countries been allowed to enter regardless of their ability. Praise Allah for the ISA’s quality control pipeline. 

Surfing’s Olympic debut was more of a first date than a wedding and if it went to shit, there wouldn’t be another one. It ended up resonating with viewers beyond core surf fans, and I was pleasantly surprised friends told me about how cool it was to see Leon Glatzer’s spinny-majig or Italo Ferreira ‘acrobatics’. Allow Snoop Dogg and Kevin Hart’s enthusiasm to demonstrate the point.


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