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Surfers Granted Opportunity to Become Olympic Athletes in Tokyo 2020

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  • Photos by Jack McDaniel/Surfing America

It’s Official; surfing is an Olympic Sport.

Surfing America is pleased to announce the International Surfing Association (ISA) has successfully gained the sport entrance into the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

By unanimous vote of the International Olympic Committee on Wednesday, Aug. 3, surfing has officially become an Olympic sport for Tokyo 2020.

Surfing America would like to express its congratulations and appreciation to ISA President Fernando Aguerre and his organization for their hard work and dedication to this process over the last 20-plus years.

“It is fantastic that our international federation is so strong and has been so active in gaining Olympic recognition,” said Greg Cruse, Surfing America’s executive director. “As the official national governing body for the sport, Surfing America is looking forward to selecting, training and fielding the USA Surf Team in 2020.”


Surfing America was granted official National Governing Body (NGB) status by ISA in 2003, and has since fielded all official U.S. teams to the various ISA World Championship events.

Most recently, in October 2015, our USA Junior Team earned the gold medal at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championship.

WSL professional surfer and former USA Junior Team member Lakey Peterson was one of many U.S. surfers thrilled by the news.

"To compete in the Olympics has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl,” Peterson said. “It would truly be a dream come true to represent our country on the Olympic world stage. This is an amazing day for the sport of surfing and for the Olympics. Surfing is such an exciting sport to watch and I believe fans will love it!"

Kanoa Igarashi, also a WSL pro and former USA Team member, agreed wholeheartedly with Peterson’s sentiment.


“I'm really excited to hear that surfing has been added to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” Igarashi said. “As a fan, spectator and competitor of the sport, it gives me chicken skin to think I could possibly be competing in it. The next four years I will be training hard for a chance to compete at the highest level of sport."

Surfing America looks forward to continuing to work with the United States Olympic Committee toward official recognition and appreciates the support of the World Surf League (WSL) in granting waivers to their world tour surfers to participate on their various nations’ teams for the XXXII Olympiad.

Courtney Conlogue, currently the No. 2 ranked WSL Women’s World Championship Tour surfer and former USA Junior Surf Team member sees the Olympic announcement as a positive step in the evolution of the sport as a whole.

“I was honored to compete on the USA Surf Team for seven years and I'm very excited by today’s official announcement by the International Olympic Committee,” Conlogue said. “This is a new chapter for our sport and it will be fun to watch.”

C. J. Hobgood, former WSL World Tour champion (retired) and current Surfing America Board member also feels the IOC’s historic decision marks an important milestone for the sport of surfing and the future of the sport.

“To fly your country’s flag in the opening ceremony and compete for an Olympic medal has long been the dream of the world’s best athletes. And surfers are no exception,” Hobgood said. “It’s pretty crazy to think surfing will be in the Olympics and people across the world could be seeing our sport for the first time. A surfer will win an Olympic gold medal and it will not only change his or her life, but the lives of all competitive surfers. I hope the first gold goes to someone from the USA.”

About Surfing America

Surfing America is the ISA-recognized National Governing Body for Surfing in the United States. The International Surfing Association (ISA) is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the World Governing Authority for Surfing, Stand Up Paddling, Paddleboarding, Bodyboarding, and Surfriding.

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