The WSL dropped a press release yesterday confirming that they had reached a landmark decision surrounding qualification for surfers in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Here’s a snippet from the presser:
The International Surfing Association (ISA) today announced an agreement with the World Surf League (WSL) on the qualification principles for surfing in the Olympics Games in Tokyo 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 (10 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 organizations' commitment to the successful Olympic debut for surfing, showcasing a strong collaboration between an IOC-recognized 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 of 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.
There are still many unanswered questions. Will Kelly’s wave pool be a late inclusion to the platform given the notoriously average surf for that time of year in Japan? Can countries have more than two surfers in the draw? Will there be drug testing? What country will surprise us with their pick? Does Glenn Hall still consider himself Irish? Who will share bunks in the Olympic Village? Do you care that surfing is in the Olympics? The mind boggles…