Tahiti to host 2024 Olympic surfing competition

09:16 am on 13 December 2019

Tahiti is set to host the surfing competition at the 2024 Paris Olympics, after beating out rivals bids from Biarritz, Lacanau, Les Landes and La Torche on the French mainland

Teahupo'o is a regular host on the Men's World Surf League. Photo: Andrea Izzotti/123RF

Paris 2024 organisers announced they have chosen the French Territory to stage the event subject to confirmation from the International Olympic Committee.

Tahiti lies 15,700 kilometres from Paris but was chosen because the famed Teahupo'o reef break, which is renowned for offering some of the worlds biggest waves and is a regular host on the Men's World Surf League, offers near-guaranteed surfing waves in the summer months.

"It's an extremely pleasant surprise and recognition for our history that will restore honour to Polynesia, where surfing began," the president of Tahiti's surfing federation, Lionel Teihotu, told AFP.

International Surfing Association president Fernando Aguerre, who worked with the Paris 2024 organising committee in evaluating the bids, is fully behind the move.

"We salute the five candidatures, which were all excellent and well-known surf destinations, but Tahiti was truly exceptional in offering our athletes, and our sport, spectacular conditions for optimal competitions," he told Reuters.

"For us, Tahiti represents the authenticity of our sport and the ISA's mission to celebrate surfing's unique culture and lifestyle, while also recalling the long history and heritage of our sport from its Polynesian origins.

"Ultimately, our commitment is to the athletes and the sport and we have no doubt that Teahupo'o will offer an amazing platform for the world's best athletes to shine."

Aguerre said he applauded Paris 2024 organisers for their "courage and originality" in making the landmark proposal.

"Surfing is a sport for the new era of the Games and this approach by Paris 2024 demonstrates how our values are aligned. Our sport's connection to the environment also makes Tahiti a fitting choice -- with a bespoke concept that will deliver a sustainable and low carbon impact event."

If approved it would represent the longest distance between an event and the host city at any Olympic Games.

Surfing will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo next year.

- RNZ/BBC/Reuters/AFP