The 2024 Olympics might still be a few years out, but if the last few have has taught us anything, it’s that those years are flying by. And, since the 2024 Olympics are of the French variety, Olympic surfing is set to run at Teahupo’o — which, of course, is just about the best possible place to run an Olympic surfing event. The ISA, forward looking as it is, just released the official avenues of qualification.
“The Olympic QS builds on the previous system used for Tokyo 2020,” reads a press release, “ensuring the participation of the world’s best professional surfers as well as promoting geographical universal opportunities for surfers from around the world at the Games.”
Surfing did pretty well in its inaugural year at the 2020 Tokyo Games, and if wave quality is any barometer of how much interest the general public shows, Teahupo’o is going to be a chart topper — if the conditions cooperate.
“Teahupo’o will be a spectacular, magical showcase for our sport in the Olympics,” ISA President Fernando Aguerre said. “Surfing was a very popular sport in the 2020 Tokyo Games. Olympic Surfing in 2024, will certainly expand on the Tokyo success. We are super excited to share this tangible pathway for surfers to reach their Olympic dreams.”
Teahupo’o was chosen because Olympic organizers decided that it would “offer an opportunity to engage French overseas territories and their communities in the Olympic Games – for the first time in history – while showcasing France’s rich and diverse heritage.” A good decision, right?
According to Aguerre, there were a few important considerations that came into play when figuring out how the qualification process was going to work. It also dictated a few small tweaks.
“Surfing is such a personal, individual expression of performance that it was really important for us to continue to enable the surfers to win the right to qualify based on their own performances,” he explained. ” For this reason, all qualification places, with a few noted special exceptions, will be made by name. Providing the winning teams at our World Surfing Games in 2022 and 2024 the opportunity to win additional slots, regardless of the two-per country limit, is an important innovation that will further motivate the top surfing nations to win the ISA Team World Champion Trophy.”
So here’s how it’s going to work, all bullet-pointed and straight(ish) forward.
- 24 men, 24 women.
- Maximum of two surfers per gender per National Olympic Committee (NOC). There will be two exceptions to this limit made for the winning teams, per gender, at the 2022 and 2024 ISA World Surfing Games (WSG) where each team will qualify one spot for their country/NOC.
- Qualification spots will be earned on an individual basis, by name, other than for 2022 and 2024 WSG Team World Champion slots.
- 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.
- All surfers selected by their respective National Federations for their national teams must have participated in 2023 and 2024 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 hierarchical order of qualification will be as follows:
- 2023 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour: First 10 eligible men and first eight eligible women.
- 2023 ISA World Surfing Games: four men and four women selected based on their continent. Top finishing eligible surfer of each gender from Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
- 2023 Pan American Games: First eligible man and first eligible woman in the surfing competitions.
- 2024 ISA World Surfing Games: First five eligible men and first seven eligible women.
- 2024 ISA World Surfing Games: The winning teams by gender, will qualify one place for their respective country/NOC, regardless of the two-per country quota limit.
- 2022 ISA World Surfing Games: The winning teams by gender, will qualify one place for their respective country/NOC, regardless of the two-per country quota limit.
- Host nation slot: One man and one woman slot will be guaranteed for the host nation of France, unless already filled through the above hierarchies. Should athletes from France qualify regularly, their slots will be reallocated to the highest ranked eligible surfers from the 2024 World Surfing Games.
- Universality Place: For the first time, one place per gender will be made available to eligible NOCs. Special consideration will be given to the nature of the wave at Teahupo’o in terms of the eligibility criteria for these places. Should there deemed to be no qualified surfers in this category, these slots will be reallocated to the highest ranked eligible surfers from the 2024 World Surfing Games. The complete process and selection criteria for these places will be communicated by the IOC at a later date.
Got that all? Me neither. But if you want to dive a little deeper into it, there’s more here. But honestly, I’m just excited about the possibility of running an Olympic event at maxing Chopes.