New sports at the 2024 Olympics: surfing

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Although surfing is a sport that can't be ignored on beaches the world over, it wasn't until the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo that surfing became an Olympic sport. Following its success with the public, the sport is proud to be back at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, with the famous Teahupoo wave in Tahiti as the competition venue!

With its origins dating back several centuries, even before it was discovered by Europeans, surfing is a historic sport that began to gain popularity around the world in the 20th century. Associated with the Hawaiian and Polynesian islands of the Pacific, where it originated, surfing not only enjoys a cool, exotic image, it also fascinates with its tricks on waves that can be very impressive.

Following the creation of the International Professional Surfers in 1976, the first international surfing federation (now the World Surf League - WSL), which organises the annual World Championship Tour (WCT), surfing has finally been included in the Olympic Games in 2021, almost 100 years after professional surfers first called for surfing to be included in the Games. And for this 2024 edition in Paris, the competition will take place in Tahiti, on one of the world's most emblematic surfing sites: the Teahupoo wave!

Surfing the Teahupoo wave in Tahiti
Teahupoo Tours and Surf Adventures

It was only logical that the surfing competition at the 2024 Olympic Games should be organised in Tahiti, as French Polynesia is part of the original cradle of this water sport. There are many surfing experiences in Tahiti, offered by locals and enthusiasts who are proud of this important part of their culture, and the presence of an internationally renowned wave on the island also made it obvious that the surfing events would be held here, rather than in mainland France.

The surf competitors at the 2024 Olympics will have to measure themselves against the famous Teahupoo wave, whose name means "wall of skulls", on the Taiarapu peninsula, also known as Tahiti iti. Located opposite Papeete and its international airport, this 'little Tahiti' still offers a wild and unspoilt setting, less frequented by tourists than Tahiti nui.Watching the Teahupoo wave by boat is one of the must-do activities, and this surfing site is THE must-see spot on the Taiarapu peninsula!

Watching the Teahupoo wave from a boat in Tahiti
Teahupoo Tours and Surf Adventures

The surfing events at the Paris 2024 Olympics will be held over 4 days, with competitors using shortboards, short boards offering greater manoeuvrability and responsiveness, and enabling surfers to perform fast and spectacular manoeuvres on the waves. It's sure to be an exceptional show on the big day, with the competitors having to score points by executing technical, powerful and stylish manoeuvres while overcoming the waves to which they'll have to adapt! You'll no doubt be able to admire the surfers performing tricks such as :

  • Bottom Turn: a manoeuvre where the surfer turns at the bottom of the wave to gain speed and position himself for the following manoeuvres;
  • The cutback: the surfer makes a turn at the top of the wave to return to the critical part of the wave, thus extending his ride;
  • the Snap: a short, powerful turn that allows the surfer to explode water into the air, while keeping control of the board;
  • Aerial: an aerial manoeuvre where the surfer takes off from the wave performing acrobatic tricks such as a 360, backflip or alley-oop;
  • the Tube Ride: one of the most emblematic manoeuvres in surfing, which consists of sliding inside the hollow tube of the wave, also known as the barrel, surrounded by the breaking wall of water.

Taking centre stage, a number of famous competitors are expected to put on an unforgettable show during the surfing events at the 2024 Olympics in Tahiti: Gabriel Medina, Brazilian surfer; Carissa Moore, American surfer; Kanoa Igarashi, Japanese-American surfer; Owen Wright, Australian surfer; Bianca Buitendag, South African surfer; and many more. Spectators are sure to witness some incredible demonstrations, on one of the most renowned waves in the surfing world!

This year's surfing competition at the Paris 2024 Olympics should not only attract a lot of people, but also make many people want to try their hand at the discipline. And if you're already interested, take a look at the 12 things you need to know before taking your first surf lesson, as well as the Top 10 best places to learn to surf in the world!

And if you're lucky enough to be there to watch the events in person, don't forget to take a look at the things to do in Tahiti to make the most of your stay in this little corner of paradise!