Stab Magazine | Surfing all but locked for Japan 2020

Surfing all but locked for Japan 2020

But, not in an artificial lineup.

news // Jun 3, 2016
Words by Words
Reading Time: 2 minutes

In news sort of related to the Kelly Slater Wave Pool hype train but not really; it looks like Surfing is all but formally a lock for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But, it won’t be in a pool.

New guidelines introduced in 2014 allow host cities to hand pick sports popular in their host nations that are capable of attracting a younger audience and boosting ratings, with the International Olympic Committee board voting in favour of Tokyo 2020’s proposal to add five sports to the existing core of 28.

Following the recommendation on Wednesday by the IOC, five sports identified as ‘for the kids’ were named including Skateboarding, Sports Climbing, Karate, Softball (gnarly) and Surfing. The sports now await a final nod from the IOC for their inclusion into the games.

Interestingly, Surfing, which will include 20 men and 20 women, will not take place in an artificial pool, icing all current bids by pool owners for inclusion. According to IOC sports director Kit McConnell: “We are looking at a natural beach for surfing. Japan has a number of strong surfing areas and strong existing surfing culture.” Double John at THAT rivermouth, anyone?

No doubt WSL Holdings were looking to capitalise as soon as possible following their recent acquisition (in principle) of Kelly Slater Wave Pools, but any utilisation of the pool in the Olympics is at minimum eight years away. Furthermore, a 20-person field in both the men’s and women’s event suggests that maybe the ISA are far more entrenched here than the WSL, with ISA President Fernando Aguerre saying: “We are thrilled that we are now one step closer to realising our Olympic dream. I’d like to express our sincere thanks to the IOC Executive Board for providing us with this amazing opportunity.”

Given the historic failure of Wave Garden and the likely significant costs to bring KSWC to commercialisation, Kelly may’ve potentially offloaded the biggest white elephant in surfing’s history. The IOC meet again in August to make its final decision.


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Unlocked: Kael Walsh, Rolo Montes, And Al Cleland Jr In ‘Saturn’

Quik’s new 20-minute surf film is so good you’ll want to burn a DVD of…

Dec 2, 2022

How Surfers Get Paid, Episode 4

The energy drinks are here. They’ve got millions of dollars, and they want your head.

Dec 2, 2022

‘Saturn’ Orbits Into Southern California

Quiksilver's newest film made landfall in Encinitas, and we were there to document the occasion.

Dec 1, 2022

The Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing Returns In 2023

Can anyone beat John Florence and Carissa Moore in a three-week window?

Dec 1, 2022

What Will Airs Look Like In 10 Years?

The final installment of our editorial exploration into the nuances of airborne surfing.

Dec 1, 2022


Can A South African Cavern Queen With No Pipeline Experience Do Well At The Vans Pipe Masters?

Sophie Bell will have a steep learning curve in Hawaii.

Nov 30, 2022

After Years Of Tragic Shark Attacks, Surf Competition Returns To Reunion Island — And A CT Event Could Follow

"We compete at J-Bay and Margarets where there's the same problem." -Johanne Defay

Nov 30, 2022


Sharing Tubes And Hummus In The Middle East’s Surfing Jewel: Israel

No Contest does Tel Aviv!

Nov 29, 2022


Joao Chianca Wants A Pipeline Rematch With JJF

And ain't afraid to ride more foam to do it in the Vans Pipe Masters.

Nov 29, 2022

An Unorthodox Marriage Of Science And Surf

Cliff Kapono and The Mega Lab are changing stereotypes on all fronts.

Nov 28, 2022


Harry Bryant Dumps Crutches, Visualizes Pipeline Pits After Snapping Leg

“For once in my life, I’m taking something a bit more serious."

Nov 27, 2022

What If You Bought This Sumatran Surf Camp For $690k?

Making a blue print out of surfing's most recurring day dream.

Nov 27, 2022

Sierra Kerr On Greasing Full Rotes, Making Dad Cry & Her Concussion @ VSHPBME 

'I haven’t got my license yet, but I'm thinking of buying a little truck.'

Nov 27, 2022


“There Definitely Needs To Be More Girls That Try Airs”

Caity Simmers' thoughts on her Vans Pipe Masters debut.

Nov 26, 2022

Preview: Who’s John John Florence Flushing Down The Haleiwa Toilet Bowl?

The final event of the CS schedule is almost upon us. Let's dissect.

Nov 25, 2022


Dane Reynolds Said These Clips Weren’t Good Enough

Could'a fooled us.

Nov 25, 2022


How A Magic Island Birthed One Of The Most Radical Surf And Skate Scenes In The World

Mateus Herdy, Pedro Barros and friends in Red Bull x Stab's No Contest, Brazil.

Nov 23, 2022

The Uber Driver Turned Crypto Millionaire Who Denounced His US Citizenship And Whips Into XXL Nazare

"I do what I want, I don't have a boss." -Toby Trouble

Nov 23, 2022