Since surfing was given the official nod as an Olympic sport, there's been a few hot questions raised about the whole process – including, how do you go about qualifying for the 2020 games?
Last week, The International Olympic Committee and the International Surfing Association put that to rest, revealing the qualification process for 2020.
The main elements are; there'll be 20 men and 20 women competing, maximum of two surfers per gender per National Olympic Committee (NOC). Qualification spots will be earned on an individual basis, by name. In accordance with IOC guidelines, the qualification events have been determined in hierarchical order of qualification, as further explained below; If two surfers of a gender have qualified through the first hierarchical order, that NOC will not be able to qualify more surfers of that gender through qualifying events lower in hierarchical order.
And, perhaps the most important info; all surfers selected by their respective National Federations for their national teams must participate in 2019 and 2020 ISA World Surfing Games in order to be eligible for Olympic qualification. The final details of the eligibility requirements are still under review by the ISA and the IOC.
The hierarchal order of qualification is as follow:
1) 2019 World Surf League Championship Tour: First 10 eligible men and first 8 eligible women.
2) 2020 ISA World Surfing Games: First 4 eligible men and first 6 eligible women.
3) 2019 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.
4) 2019 Pan American Games: First eligible man and first eligible woman in the surfing competitions.
5) Host nation slot: One man and one woman slot will be guaranteed for the host nation of Japan, unless already filled through the above hierarchies. Should athletes from Japan qualify regularly, their slots will be reallocated to the highest ranked eligible surfers from the 2020 World Surfing Games.
ISA President Fernando Aguerre said: "Olympic Surfing's debut at Tokyo 2020 promises to be a unique moment. Together with the IOC and Tokyo 2020 we have pledged to bring Surfing's vibrant culture and youthful energy to the Games in the form of an Olympic Beach Festival, which will run alongside the competition, and give an exciting dimension to the Olympic Surfing experience.
"We are delighted to continue to work alongside the IOC and the Tokyo Organising Committee to put together the best conditions for Surfing's Olympic debut. I wish the many athletes from around the world the best of luck as they embark on this exciting journey through qualification."
You may remember in December, an agreement was made with the WSL to allow the world's best surfers to compete in the games.
Timely then, that the WSL launch the Founders' Cup in May– a team-driven competition, pitting nation vs nation against each other, held in Slater's wave ranch in Lemoore California. Perhaps an unofficial preview of how the Olympics could look in an artificial setting? To clarify, the ISA and IOC have firmly committed to hosting the 2020 Olympics in the ocean, at Tsurigasaki Beach in Chiba. Still, watch this space. Oh and who's your pick for the top Olympic team? USA? Aus? Sling your suggestions in the comments below.