Fans of the sport of surfing are thrilled by the fact that 2020 will mark the debut of surfing as an Olympic sport. However, there’s some evidence that could suggest the competition will take place in an artificial wave pool.
While there’s been no official announcement, rumors have surfaced that Kelly Slater is supervising the construction of a new wave pool that is scheduled to open right before the 2020 Summer Olympics begin.
The construction has kicked off in the area of the old Tokyo Dome, which is no stranger to artificial waves. The site was home to what was arguably the best man-made waves ever, although Slater’s venue in California seems to be taking that title over now.
When the rumors surfaced, inquiries started to reach the head of the International Surfing Association, Fernando Aguerre. His only response, so far, has been that the position of the International Olympic Committee and the International Surfing Association has not changed. In short, as of now the venue for the surfing competitions in the 2020 Games will be held in the ocean.
Specifically, the Olympic surfing will take place at Tsurigasaki Beach in Chiba. The Games will also serve as a chance to showcase the surfing lifestyle and culture, and an accompanying beach festival is scheduled to accompany the events.
While the announcement states that the competition will happen in the natural ocean, it’s important to remember that the ISA has long supported the development of artificial waves. That fact, combined with the fact that the opening of the Tokyo Dome wave pool is scheduled to open right as the 2020 Summer Olympics are scheduled to kick off makes for a heck of a coincidence.
And does it make sense to send the best surfers on the planet out into waves that could potentially be just a couple of feet high when there are perfect, man-made waves rolling just a few miles away?
For now, the ISA and Olympic Committee are sticking to their guns and claiming the competition will remain all natural, but 2020 is still a long way away.