Surfing in the Olympics will take place in the sea rather than an artificial wave pool it's been confirmed, after the board who organise the Olympic games voted in favour of making surfing an Olympic sport earlier today.
The International Olympic Committee agreed that surfing along with skateboarding, baseball, sports climbing and karate should be part of the games by Japan 2020. All that's left is for that decision to be signed off at this year's Rio competition.
Rumours, whispers and murmurings have been rife over the past few months that should surfing become an Olympic sport, it'll be held in a wave pool. But IOC sports director Kit McConnell said: "We are looking at a natural beach for surfing. Japan has a number of strong surfing areas and strong existing surfing culture." And there's already a handful of QS comps that take place over on the land of the rising sun.
Somewhat unexpected? With the WSL's parent company purchasing Kelly's wave company, it kind of blew the whole competitive surfing platform wide open. And regulating wave quality might eliminate any ambiguity about scoring the standard of surfing.
But then again, isn't surfing about reading the ocean as much as it is riding the wave? Of course it is. Anyway, it's going to be 20 women and 20 men athletes who will compete at the games. A few of the pros have already spoken out in support of it, Kelly, Julian Wilson and Gabriel Medina amongst them.
The news of the inclusion has delighted the International Surfing Association (ISA) "This is a wonderful moment for our sport and for the global surfing family," ISA President, Fernando Aguerre, said. "Our relationship with the IOC and inclusion in the Olympic Games has been a strategic priority for the ISA for many years and we are thrilled that we are now one step closer to realising our Olympic dream. We are immensely proud of our achievements and the core values that our sport represents. Surfing has incredible youth appeal and a unique culture that would offer huge value to the Olympic Movement.
''We are aware that the hard work does not stop here. Today's news gives us renewed energy and determination and we look forward to working with the IOC and Tokyo 2020 as we continue on the road to the IOC Session in Rio."
Cover shot: Dave John Gillett - Hebara, Japan