Tokyo Olympics 2020 (or 2021?) – Surfing and Skateboarding’s big debut

Is it the Tokyo Olympics 2020 or 2021…..we have absolutely no idea. Either way, there have been some exciting additions to the schedule at this years event, most notably surfing and skateboarding. The thought of getting to see two of our favourite sports at the Olympics makes us salivate. Given that neither of these sports have been seen at the games before, we thought we’d give you a run down of exactly what to expect. 


For the sport of surfing, this is a momentous occasion. Never before have we seen anyone ride a wave in search of an Olympic medal and, hopefully, its debut in the games will be nothing short of spectacular. That being said, the decision to hold the event in the ocean, as opposed to in a wave pool, has seen some criticism thrown in the Olympic committee’s direction. The main issue appears to be the potential quality of the waves at Tsurigasaki Beach, Chibao. This spot is home to some distinctly average waves at the best of times, particularly given that the timing of the event is before typhoon season. 

So what can we expect? Its likely that the event may be on stand by for a significant period and when its on, we’ll most likely see beachbreaks peaks at 1-3ft. 


Despite the potential wave quality, the decision to hold the event in the ocean is, in our view, a good one for the sport. Whilst the technology of wave pools is increasing dramatically and producing some epic waves, there is nothing quite like being at the mercy of the ocean. Plus, the unpredictability adds another dimension of excitement to the sport. 

In terms of the format, there will be 20 men and 20 women in each event with a maximum of 2 competitors from each gender from each nation.  The event will use a four person heat structure with the best two in each heat progressing through. Each heat will run for 20-25 minutes with the two best scores in the heat counting for each competitor. The usual rules of priority will also be in play. The dates are obviously a little tricky to anticipate given that it is entirely reliant on the wave forecast, however, the schedule looks to be aiming for anytime between 25th July and 1st August so keep an eye out. 

The qualified competitors are:-

Qualified Men:

Gabriel Medina (BRA), Italo Ferreira (BRA), Kolohe Andino (USA), John John Florence (USA), Owen Wright (AUS), Julian Wilson (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Michel Bourez (FRA), Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), Jordy Smith (RSA), Leon Glatzer (GER), Miguel Tudela (PER), Lucca Mesinas (PER), Manuel Selman (CHI), Hiroto Ohhara (JPN), Rio Waida (INA), Frederico Morais (POR), Billy Stairmand (NZL), Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR), Leandro Usuna (ARG)

Carissa Moore (USA), Caroline Marks (USA), Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), Silvana Lima (BRA), Brisa Hennessy (CRC), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Johanne Defay (FRA), Yolanda Sequeria (POR), Teresa Bonvalot (POR), Daniella Rosas (PER), Leilani McGonagle (CRC), Mahina Maeda (JPN), Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN), Pauline Ado (FRA), Anat Lelior (ISR), Bianca Buitendag (RSA), Ella Williams (NZL), Sofia Mulanovich (PER), Dominic Barona (ECU)

Judging by the list of competitors, this is sure to be an exciting competition. Whilst John John Florence and Kolohe Andino are two competitors who are more than capable of putting on an electric display, the presence of Kelly Slater (aka the GOAT) will surely be missed. Other big names not on the line up include Felipe Toledo and Lakey Peterson in the women’s event. It’ll also be interesting to see how much sponsorship the competitors will be allowed given the Olympic rules on advertising. Presumably the board manufacturers names will remain on the decks but it’s possible that the usual vinyls may have to be removed. 

Our picks for the Golds are Carissa Moore in the women’s and who can ignore Italo’s acrobatics in the men’s. Unfortunately, the North East coast, or Cornwall for that matter, hasn’t yet produced a British Olympic surfer, but who’s to say we wont see one in the future?



Much like surfing, the 2020 Olympics also sees Skateboarding getting its debut. It has also been provisionally approved for the 2024 games. 

The format of Skateboarding, however, will be split into both Street and Park disciplines. Both events will be held at the Ariake Sports Park which looks absolutely sick from the photographs. 

The street competition will be held on a street based course which will have various features such as curbs, stairs, rails, benches, walls and slopes. Each competitor will perform individually and will demonstrate their skills by performing tricks on all aspects of the park. Judges will then take into consideration a number of factors such as degree of difficulty of each trick, originality and execution.

The Park discipline is slightly different in that it will take place in a bowl park.  This should provide a number of vertical sections allowing for more aerial and mid-air tricks.

In terms of competitors, there are a total of 80 spots, with 20 competitors in each event for both men and women. Each nation is allowed six men and six women but no more than three athletes per gender for each event. The men’s and women’s street events look to be taking place on 25th and 26th July with the women’s park and men’s park taking place on 4th and 5th August.

If you’re wondering who we are looking out for in this event, well there are two British females in the Women’s Park event, Sky Brown and Bombette Martin, both of which have the coolest names. 

Regardless of who wins and who doesn’t, it’s our view that the inclusion of both of these sports in such a highly regarded event will be phenomenal in terms of increasing awareness and participation. Hopefully being able to see the top athletes compete at the Olympics will influence all those potential groms out there to go out and shred the hell out of any board they can get their hands on!

Dark Turtle x 


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