The 2020 Olympics Will Be Very Similar To The US Open
4000-plus fans expected, traffic jams imminent…maybe a riot, who knows?
The surf in Chiba Prefecture is not that much different than it is in Southern California right now. It’s less than a week out before the Vans U.S. Open and the south side of the Huntington Pier is about waist-high with a few plus sets. It’s a little bigger down at Lowers where a lot of the competitors have been training.
Chiba’s about the same right now. Some spots are flat, others are hanging in the two-to-three-foot range, while the magnets are pulling in chest-to-head-high pulses.
The point being, last weekend a “test” event was run at Tsurigasaki Beach in Chiba, and while it certainly wasn’t typhoon-fueled fury, the waves appeared to be as serviceable as an average day at the U.S. Open. That’s probably a realistic place to put your expectation level.
The four-day test event featured 40 Japanese surfers, representing the 20 male and 20 female international surfers that will compete in the Games next year. They reportedly mirrored the format that we’ll be seeing in the Games, basically giving it a full trial run.
The format is different than a WSL Championship Tour contest. According to Olympic.org, round one featured four surfers, round two, somehow, had five, and from there on it was head-to-head. Heats were 30 minutes with the top two waves counting. The surfing portion of the 2020 Tokyo Games will be between July 26 – August 2, 2020. They’ll have an eight-day waiting period to run the four days of competition.
At the recent test event, Hiroto Ohhara won the men’s event, while Minami Nonaka took out the ladies division.
“There’s an idea that the waves aren’t sufficient but they were probably three to four feet, which is absolutely good contestable conditions for a solid competition,” ISA Director Robert Fasulo told the Associated Press. “I think the novelty and uniqueness of what we are bringing is going to create a lot of interest.”
“The waves today were a bit small,” countered Ohara, who won the 2015 U.S. Open in micro conditions, then a year later bought his car. “I plan to surf a lot and gain as much experience as I can, since I know this beach I hope to be able to use it my advantage during the Olympics if I qualify.”
Fasulo went on to tell the AP that they expected to see an estimated 4,000 fans on the beach during the Olympics. Tsurigasaki is about two hours outside of Tokyo and the infrastructure to support the crowds the Games draw has been in question. There is reportedly only one road in and out of the area, setting up potential traffic nightmares. There are also limited accommodations and restaurants.
According to reports, the test event went off with relatively few hitches. It sounds like one of the biggest issues was that a bunch of sea turtles decided to lay their eggs in front of the judge’s tower the night before the contest, which required a little logistical ingenuity to proceed without disturbing the turtles.
“The biggest three lessons were that the event format works, the waves are absolutely up to standard to run a high-quality, world-class event, and we can innovate a little bit in the way we present the sport,” concluded Fasulo.
What’s Happening To Orange County’s Sand, And Is It Worsening The Waves At Lowers?
Read this to upgrade your understanding of your local beach break and coastal environment.
Here Are The 15 People Who Qualified For The 2023 CT
After seven events and much groveling, 10 men and 5 women will officially be CT…
An Ode To Aussie Chick Pros From The Nineties
A celebration of stoicism, resilience, grit, core lordship, and unconditional love.
Update: John John Flushes Everyone Down The Haleiwa Toilet Bowl
And the CT qualifications for 2023 are set.
Riaru Ito Is Cooler Than His Cucumber Garden
Meet our passion pick for the Vans Pipe Masters.
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…
How Surfers Get Paid, Episode 4
The energy drinks are here. They’ve got millions of dollars, and they want your head.
‘Saturn’ Orbits Into Southern California
Quiksilver's newest film made landfall in Encinitas, and we were there to document the occasion.
The Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing Returns In 2023
Can anyone beat John Florence and Carissa Moore in a three-week window?
What Will Airs Look Like In 10 Years?
The final installment of our editorial exploration into the nuances of airborne surfing.
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.
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
Sharing Tubes And Hummus In The Middle East’s Surfing Jewel: Israel
No Contest does Tel Aviv!
Joao Chianca Wants A Pipeline Rematch With JJF
And ain't afraid to ride more foam to do it in the Vans Pipe Masters.
An Unorthodox Marriage Of Science And Surf
Cliff Kapono and The Mega Lab are changing stereotypes on all fronts.
Harry Bryant Dumps Crutches, Visualizes Pipeline Pits After Snapping Leg
“For once in my life, I’m taking something a bit more serious."