The International Surfing Association (ISA) have announced an agreement with the World Surf League (WSL) on the qualification principles for surfing in the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020, ensuring the participation of the world’s best surfers from the WSL Championship Tour (CT) as well as promoting universal opportunities for surfers around the world.
In principle, the agreement will see up to 18 of the 40 places at the Games reserved for WSL Championship Tour (CT) surfers (ten men and eight women), with the remaining 22 places determined at the 2019 and 2020 ISA World Surfing Games, the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, and a single slot each for men and women for the host nation (Japan).
With the support of the WSL, the ISA eligibility rules for Olympic participation will require surfers to make themselves available for their national teams to compete in the ISA World Surfing Games in 2019 and 2020 and, if selected by their National Federation, to participate.
The final decision on the complete process is subject to the approval of the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at its meeting in February 2018.
The agreement between the ISA and the WSL reinforces both organisations’ commitment to the successful Olympic debut for surfing, showcasing a strong collaboration between an IOC-recognised International Olympic Federation and the professional home of the world’s best surfers.
Surfing was confirmed as an Olympic sport for Tokyo 2020 in August 2016 after decades of campaigning by the ISA for the global development of surfing. Surfing will also be included in the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima. This campaign has been buoyed by the continued improvement in high-performance surfing and mainstream attention of the WSL Championship Tour.
ISA president, Fernando Aguerre, said: “We are happy to reach this historic agreement with the WSL on the participation of their top stars in the Olympic Games and ISA World Surfing Games. The support, endorsement and collaboration of the WSL and its top professional surfers have always been an important part of our Olympic pathway to Tokyo 2020 and beyond.
“This agreement not only under-lines our commitment to have the world’s best athletes competing for gold in surfing’s debut in Tokyo, but also to ensure that the competitions reflect the open access and universality of our sport around the world, in all five continents.
“We are also very pleased to have the WSL’s full support of and commitment to the ISA World Surfing Games between now and 2020. The participation of the top profession- als in their national teams will elevate the surfing to new heights, creating additional excitement and drama in the lead-up to the Olympic Games.”