Competitive surfing and skateboarding are on the dawn of a brand new era. We’ve known for two years that our two founding boardsports would be debuting on the world stage at Tokyo 2020, but it’s all becoming very real now with qualification processes and finer details coming to fruition.
With speculation and opinion pieces aplenty circulating in endemic media on surfing and skating’s future as Olympic sports, here at SOURCE we decided to deliver the facts and explain exactly what we know with regards to the qualification process, drug testing, governing bodies, broadcast schedules and whether surfing will take place in the ocean or on a manmade wave.
Just a few years ago the notion of surfing at the Olympics on a manmade wave would have seemed far-flung, but with the World Surf League acquiring Kelly Slater Wave Co in 2016 and September 2018 seeing the first Championship Tour event contested at a manmade wave (since the pitiful excuse for a comp held in 1985 at Allentown, Pennsylvania), the peculiar now seems more like reality.
SOURCE was there in attendance in Lemoore, California for this monumental event and despite desert-like temperatures, the competition was a success, crowning two champions in Gabriel Medina and Carissa Moore. A wealth of lessons in everything from judging to wave mechanics and broadcasting will no doubt have been learnt, but the competition ultimately delivered very similar waves to all contestants and the best surfers on the day won.
While in Lemoore, SOURCE had the rare opportunity to interview the WSL’s CEO Sophie Goldschmidt, in which the Englishwoman delivered insight on everything from the WSL interview process to tour sponsorship, the Olympics and wave pools, right the way through to perhaps
the most monumental of all her achievements, delivering an American-based sports first, equal pay for male and female athletes.
We also speak with Kevin Casillo from Vans, a company no stranger to hosting elite level surfing competitions thanks to their work with the US Open of Surf over recent years. But it was at this summer’s Vans Duct Tape Invitational in the Basque Country where we caught up with this issue’s Big Wig to talk more about the grassroots and cultural side of surfing they look to activate with this expressive event.
Be sure to stay tuned to the SOURCE website for more in depth interviews from the Surf Ranch Pro presented by Hurley. And subscribe to our e-newsletter to stay informed as we enter a very important time of year for the European boardsports industry with a number of key events including the EuroSIMA Surf Summit, Quiksilver/Roxy Pro France, MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal and Paddleexpo.
Harry Mitchell Thompson