Qualification for surfing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has been a relatively complicated process, and much misunderstood in the surfing world.
The qualification process has taken in the 2019 WSL Championship Tour, 2019 ISA Games, 2019 Pan American Games and 2020 ISA Games.
20 men and 20 women will compete, with a maximum of 2 surfers per nation, per gender (i.e. 4 maximum, over both categories.)
Hawaiians, who are traditionally a separate entity from their mainland counterparts in WSL competition, will be competing under the star spangled banner of the USA.
Elsewhere, the nations are more or less as they are in the WSL.
The strongest nations, with a full quota of 2 men and 2 women qualified in 2019 are Brazil, USA and Australia.
Behind them are France and Japan (2 men, 1 woman) then SA, Peru & NZ (1 male, 1 female each), then Israel, Morocco, Portugal and Costa Rica each with a single surfer.
So far, 12 countries have qualified surfers, with potential for a few additions (or second surfers from nations already with qualified surfers at the 2020 ISA’s.)
So Who’s In?
Via 2019 WSL CT: Italo Ferreira & Gabriel Medina (BRA); Julian Wilson & Owen Wright (AUS); Kolohe Andino & John John Florence (USA); Jeremy Flores & Michel Bourez (FRA); Jordy Smith (RSA); Kanoa Igarashi (JPN).
Via 2019 Pan American Games: Lucca Mesinas (PER)*
Via 2019 ISA Games: Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR)*; Shun Murakami (JPN)* Frederico Morais (POR)* Billy Stairmand (NZL)*
5 further spots to be allocated at 2020 ISA Games.
Via 2019 WSL CT: Stephanie Gilmore & Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS); Carissa Moore & Caroline Marks (USA); Tatiana Weston-Webb & Silvana Lima (BRA); Johanne Defay (FRA); Brisa Hennessy (CRI)
Via 2019 Pan American Games: Daniela Rosas (PER)*
Via 2019 ISA Games: Bianca Buitendag (RSA)*; Shino Matsuda (JPN)* Anat Lelior (ISR)* Ella Williams (NZL)*
7 further spots to be allocated at 2020 ISA Games
* Provisionally qualified assuming 2 surfers from same nation don’t secure qualification spots at 2020 ISA Games. Either way, the nation has qualified, and will be at the 2020 games.
What About Team GB?
Britain’s recent Olympic success is unlikely to be matched in surfing in Tokyo 2020, with the 2020 ISA’s Britain’s last chance of qualifying a surfer for the games. Britain’s male best surfer Luke Dillon (ranked 153rd on the QS in 2019) is not in the GB squad, while Britain’s best female Ellie Turner (ranked 85th in 2019) will need to place higher than any other European at the 2020 ISA’s.
Team GB does have the prodigious talent of Sky Brown in skateboarding in Tokyo, the youngest Olympian ever to compete for Britain (she’ll be 12); and her surfing skills could see her in possible contention for Paris 2024, or perhaps more likely, LA 2028.
Cover photo: WSL