Here's How Surfers Can Showcase Their Sponsors at the Paris Olympics

“Sport equipment,” seems to be the key here, as Italo knew. Photo: Sean Evans//ISA

The Inertia

The International Olympic Committee does not joke around when it comes to protecting the value of their brand partners. They go to great lengths to ensure the maximum visibility for their sponsors – Coca-Cola, Airbnb, Visa, Toyota, etc. And that said visibility is not blurred by competing athlete sponsors.

In order to guarantee their partners that competing brands will not steal the limelight, they come up with a comprehensive set of rules of what you can and cannot wear. In fact, the rules for how surfers can dress and brand their boards is already determined.

A document available on the International Surfing Association’s website breaks down surfers’ clothing and logos into categories. Logos are categorized by manufacturer, product technology, and National Olympic Committee (NOC) identity. Furthermore, items are broken down into clothing, sport equipment, and accessories for both men and women.

The document specifies what logos can be present and what size for each category. Here is a general breakdown:

Clothing includes swimsuits, wetsuits, rash guards, shirts, jackets, and pants. The guidelines state that these items can only have one manufacturer logo that is no bigger than 30 square centimeters.

Other wearable items have been classified as accessories. That includes booties, gloves, hats, socks, braces, glasses, and bags. Each carries its own rules, generally ranging from logos no bigger than 5-10 square centimeters, or no bigger than 10 percent of the surface area, in the case of bags, for example. 

The sport equipment is where this gets interesting and creates a golden opportunity for manufacturers. 

The surfboard, fins, leash, traction pad, and helmet are all considered sport equipment. They can carry the manufacturer’s logo at any size as long as the items appear “as generally used on products sold through the retail trade during the period of six months prior to the Games.”

Think about those iconic “Burton” logos that covered the entire bottom of Shaun White’s snowboards as he won gold medals in the halfpipe. The sport equipment manufacturers have the chance to get extreme ROI on their athletes if they plan accordingly. They need to make sure the equipment that they want their athletes to use in the Olympics is available for retail sale by February 2024, six months ahead of the Games.

Aside from manufacturer logos there can also be a technology logo – the particular type of fabric or neoprene – no larger than 10 square centimeters. This additional logo can be placed on the wetsuits and clothing items, but not the aforementioned accessories.

Lastly, there is also the NOC identity, which states that athletes cannot have their names on any of these items and they must have a national flag at least four by six inches placed on the top third, and top and bottom, of the surfboard. 

There is a lot of thought that goes into the clothing, gear, and accessories that you see on Olympians. After all, Paris 2024’s surfing at Teahupo’o is primed to be the most visible surfing event ever. It’s crucial for the brands to pay attention to make items that meet the requirements and maximize visibility.


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