Why go to Hossegor when you can go to Teahupoo? That’s what Paris 2024, the organizing group behind the 2024 Olympic Games, were thinking. So break out the poisson cru and Hinanos because Tahiti will be the home of Olympic surfing in four years…pretty much. The Paris 2024 executive board just approved French Polynesia as the site for surfing in the 2024 Games.
“With Tahiti, Paris 2024 has opted for a well-preserved ‘reef break’ site in an exceptional natural setting. With its specific topography as a sensitive coastal area with limited capacity, the competition will adapt to the site and not the other way around,” read a statement released by Paris 2024.
Four other French surf towns were in the mix, including Hossegor and Biarritz, but the lure of the South Pacific was too much to resist.
“This site, which fits perfectly with the vision of Paris 2024, will strengthen the spectacular nature of the project, showing the world some extraordinary images not only of the discipline itself, but of France as well,” continued the statement.
To pump the breaks a little, it’s not exactly a done deal. The official decision needs approval by the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee. They will meet early next year to continue the conversation.
Organizers were emphatic that the 2024 Games were not going to be held in a wave pool. And the Tahitian “Wall of Skulls” will certainly be an upgrade compared to the Japanese beachbreak we’ll experience this July.
If the Teahupoo Games were held today, we’d see Owen Wright, Gabe Medina, John John Florence, Jeremy Flores and Michel Bourez all going for the gold in the Pacific—basically an all-star cast. But four years is a long time, and Tahitian groms like Eimeo Czermak and Matahi Drollet are already fired up.
“New goal: Olympic Games 2024 at Teahupo’o,” wrote Czermak on Insta.
But for as exciting as this is for the men, it’s a huge question mark for the women. The last Championship Tour event held there for the ladies was back in 2004, and besides Keala Kennelly and a couple other girls, there weren’t many takers, which is why the comp was eventually canceled. But this is a new era and the women on tour are more proficient in the barrel. Carissa Moore’s already spent a fair amount of time there over the years, but to be fair, she’s more the exception than the rule.
“We can put the women on at a time of the day when the waves are less powerful,” Lionel Teihotu, the president of Tahiti’s surfing federation, told AFP. “We have ways of planning that now and it will allow women to also surf at Teahupo’o.”
In an exclusive interview with Stab, seven-time World Champ Steph Gilmore shared similar sentiments about the prospect of women surfing Chopes in 2024, saying, “To have it in Teahupo’o would be very special. But I’m a little scared for some of the countries where surfing isn’t their strongest point. Because if someone qualifies and then they get thrown out at solid Teahupo’o, that’d be scary. But I think that’s just because deep down I’m scared for myself [laughs].”
It’s only a short 10,000-mile jaunt from the opening ceremonies to The End of the Road, we’ll see ya there in 2024.
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