How To Qualify For The 2024 Surfing Olympics (At Teahupo’o!) - Stab Mag
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The bronze medalist that had us all choked up

How To Qualify For The 2024 Surfing Olympics (At Teahupo’o!)

Rule changes, loopholes, and ISA master-puppetry explained. 

news // Jun 2, 2022
Words by Coral McDuffee
Reading Time: 4 minutes


The surfing portion of the 2024 Paris Olympics will take place in Teahupo’o, Tahiti, a technical extension of the host nation France.

Securing one of the world’s best waves for surfing’s second Olympic showing — some 10,000 miles away from the host city— is a testament to the hard work and ingenuity of the IOC, ISA, WSL and other important acronyms. 

It also means that every surfer under the sun will want a chance to compete in (perhaps) the most coveted surf event in history — much more so than Tokyo, 2021, at least. 

Basically the same thing as Tokyo

Today, the ISA explained the nine avenues through which a surfer can qualify for the 2024 Olympics. Their qualification outline is pretty dense and convoluted, so we did our best to simplify it — for ourselves as much as our readers. 

First, the changes from 2021 to 2024: 

Last year, there were 20 male and 20 female surfers in the Olympic field, with only two surfers per gender, per nation, allowed to compete. 

In 2024, there will be 24 male and 24 female surfers in the field, with only two surfers per gender, per nation, allowed to qualify through the traditional channels. However, there is a loophole that could allow teams to add a third male and female surfer to their roster. It works like this:

Regardless of how many surfers a nation has already qualified, an extra male and female spot will fall into the hands of the teams that win the 2022 and 2024 ISA Games. As far as we can tell, teams are limited to three spots — you cannot secure a fourth by winning both ISA events.  

Maybe Kanoa will crack a grin if Japan gets the third spot

ISA President Fernando Aguerre explained the significance of this change: “Providing the winning teams at our World Surfing Games in 2022 and 2024 the opportunity win additional slots, regardless of the 2-per country limit, is an important innovation that will further motivate the top surfing nations to win the ISA Team World Champion Trophy.” 

A clever incentivization strategy. 

Capturing the coveted third spot will come down to two events:

  1. The 2022 ISA World Surfing Games will be held in Surf City, USA. The waiting period stretches from September 17-24th — just a day after the waiting period for the CT finals at Trestles closes. 
  1. The 2024 ISA World Surfing Games will be held at a TBD time and location. We know that the event must run before the start of the Olympic Games, which begin on July 26th, 2024. 

The assumption can be made that countries with stacked CT rosters (like Brazil, USA, and Australia) will encourage their surfers to go to bat in the 2022 and 2024 ISA events to secure an additional spot for their nation, as the extra member is a pivotal point of advantage for collecting medals — imagine if Filipe was tossed on Brazil’s roster last year, or Lakey for Team USA. 

Carissa Moore shooting rockets after clinching gold

Even if high-ranking CT surfers are unmoved by their nation’s pleas, they have a personal incentive to compete in the 2022 ISA World Surfing Games — if their team wins, they will have a greater personal opportunity to reach the Olympics, as there will now be three available spots for their nation/gender rather than two. 

And if they want to be eligible for the 2024 Olympics, CT surfers are required to compete in the 2023 and 2024 World Surfing Games, so they have no choice but to compete in those events too. 

Checkmate, says the ISA.

Below is a list of all the other ways one might qualify for the 2024 Olympics, in hierarchical order. 

  1. 2023 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour: First 10 eligible men and first 8 eligible women.
  2. 2023 ISA World Surfing Games: 4 men and 4 women selected based on their continent. Top finishing eligible surfer of each gender from Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
  3. 2023 Pan American Games: First eligible man and first eligible woman in the surfing competitions.
  4. 2024 ISA World Surfing Games: First 5 eligible men and first 7 eligible women.
  5. 2024 ISA World Surfing Games: The winning teams by gender, will qualify 1 place for their respective country/NOC (National Olympic Committee), regardless of the 2-per country quota limit.
  6. 2022 ISA World Surfing Games: The winning teams by gender, will qualify 1 place for their respective country/NOC, regardless of the 2-per country quota limit.
  7. Host nation slot: One man and one woman slot will be guaranteed for the host nation of France, unless already filled through the above hierarchies. Should athletes from France qualify regularly, their slots will be reallocated to the highest ranked eligible surfers from the 2024 World Surfing Games.
  8. Universality Place: For the first time, one place per gender will be made available to eligible NOCs. Special consideration will be given to the nature of the wave in Teahupoo in terms of the eligibility criteria for these places. 

So that’s how you qualify for the 2024 Teahupo’o Olympics. Any questions? Fire ‘em below. 

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