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Huntington Beach surfers want this to be the official venue of surfing’s second Olympic showing. Photo:

The Inertia

It’s official. Three years from now surfing will make its historic Olympic debut in Japan. The specifics of what athletes will be involved, where exactly it will take place, etc. are all factors being deliberated upon as we speak. But while decisions continue to be made about how surfing will be presented to the world in 2020, surfers in Huntington Beach are already thinking ahead to surfing’s second showing – so long as it doesn’t get cut – in 2024.

To bring you up to speed, the Olympic bid contest is heating up as two potential host cities remain – Paris and Los Angeles. And should Los Angeles be officially selected when the International Olympic Committee makes their announcement from Lima, Peru in September, residents of Huntington Beach are hoping Surf City be selected to host the surfing events.

In order to draw attention to the cause, the Huntington Beach International Surf Museum is organizing two ideas where surfers would join hands in the lineup on International Surfing Day (June 20th) in a show of camaraderie and unity – very much in parallel to the values of the Games themselves. The first is dependent on IOC approval, but would involve surfers paddling out and forming five linking circles that resemble the Olympic logo. The surfers comprising each ring would wear colored jerseys so that from above the circles mirror the Olympic rings.

If the first idea is not approved, plan B is to have surfers paddle out and form one giant ring called the “Circle of Honor.” Organizers would reach out to the Guiness Book of World Records and try to set the record for “most surfers forming a ring in the water.”


Diana Dehm, director of the Huntington Beach International Surf Museum, told the Orange County Register that the circles are symbolic. “The rings, the core of it is solidarity,” she said. “To us, that is really important.”

In the five ring plan, each ring would have a captain that would corral surfers into their respective circles. The captains would be made up of some of Surf City’s living surf legends in residence, from Duke Aipa to Peter Townend to Bud Llamas. The museum has also toyed with the idea of making each circle themed – with one for celebrities, another for youth, and another for women – all to demonstrate the diversity and unity of the city’s surf community.

While Dehm and Huntington Beach Mayor Barbara Delgleize have been integral in lobbying the City of Los Angeles to consider Surf City as a venue for surfing, Dehm is clear the idea for a paddle out is a grassroots one.

“It’s the surfers who have come together to make this happen,” she told the Register.

And while seven years remain until surfing makes its second Olympic appearance, many Huntington Beach locals are convinced that should Los Angeles be selected, there’d be no greater venue than Surf City, USA.

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