Surfing to stay salted for the Paris 2024 Olympics

Surfing will make its debut at the Tokyo Olympics next year with the ocean as the playing field. Despite efforts to build a Kelly Slater wave pool in time for Tokyo, the decision remained to keep Olympic surfing salted. Now surfing in the 2024 Paris Olympics, which many hoped would be a pool competition, will also take place in the ocean.

Tony Estanguet, president of Paris 2024 informed press this week that surfing in the Paris 2024 Olympics will stay in the ocean. The decision was somewhat of a surprise since the city is in the midst of a massive urban renewal project that includes a Wavegarden Cove in nearby Sevran.

“It was decided at the last Paris 2024 Board of Directors meeting not to use artificial waves to host the surfing events, opting instead to use a natural site,” said Estanguet. “We are fortunate in France to have several natural sites that have the experience and expertise to host major international surfing events.”

Terre d'Eaux overview
The Wavegarden Cove at the center of the Terre d’Eaux urban renewal project

The Parisian banlieue of Sevran was pinning hopes on the new pool as ground zero for 2024 Olympic surfing. Most interviews about the project mentioned Olympic surfing as a possibility. But the mayor today said that even without Olympic surfing in his town, the project will still create a sports epicentre.

“We were expecting a decision like this because the subject had already been debated by the sports committee,” Sevran Mayor Stephane Blanchet told Le Parisien. “The door is not closed on Terre d’Eaux. It is still a designated training site for the Olympics, and it can still serve the Paralympic Games”

The salted communities on tap to host Olympic surfing in 2024 are Lacanau, Hossegor, La Torche and Biarritz. Biarritz is the favoured site as they recently hosted the International Surfing Association’s World Longboard Championships. The ISA’s president, Fernando Aguerre has been pushing surfing for Olympic inclusion for decades.

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