Paris Olympics 2024: Surf’s Up...10,000 Miles Down The Road, As Tahiti Hosts Big Wave Contest

Get your flights booked to French Polynesia!
13:55, 13 Dec 2019

Excited for Tokyo 2020 yet? Well before we dive headfirst into athletics action in Japan there’s even more news about the Olympics four years after that: Paris 2024.

That Summer programme is expected to contain 319 separate events across 28 sports, ranging from aquatics to archery, fencing to field hockey, skateboarding to surfing.

Surfing is due to make its debut appearance in Tokyo next year, with even Kelly Skater, arguably the most famous and celebrated surfer of all time, eyeing up an appearance. It’ll certainly be one to keep an eye on at the three-week long XXXII Olympiad.

Four years later however, surf isn’t entirely ‘up’ in la République however, as organisers had swapped the location of the event for one outside of the country.

15,000km outside of France to be exact.

Teahupo’o in Tahiti slap bang in the middle of the Pacific Ocean will now host the surfing event in 2024. 

As part of French Polynesia since the late 19th Century, Tahiti qualifies for hosting as an overseas collectivity of the French Republic. 

A typical flight from Paris to Tahiti takes approximately 20 hours, and will cost the typical traveller over £1,000 in travel costs.

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A press release from the official Olympics committee provided comment on the decision by stating that “the consistency and the quality of the Teahupo’o wave, at this time of the year, in the middle of Tahiti’s high surf season, should ensure that the Olympic competition will take place over one week”. 

The Surf Travel Company has described the region of Teahupo’o as a “true surfers paradise” allowing athletes “access to some unbelievable wave”’, a choice use of words that complement Paris 2024 of French Polynesia being “one of the cradles of surfing”. More competitive and challenging waves will be at a higher likelihood than the other speculative candidates who applied, Biarritz Pays Basque, Lacanau-Bordeaux Métropole, La Torche, and Hossegor-Seignosse-Capbreton, allowing more a better sporting experience.

There have of course  been concerns of the environmental impact as a consequence of the decision, with athletes and spectators travelling from France to the middle of the South Pacific.

“All 48 athletes competing will thus have the opportunity to spend the second week of the Games in the Olympic Village, with their respective delegations, in Paris and in Seine Saint-Denis, and to take part in the closing ceremony,” read the statement.

The Committee has however also outlined measures to combat harmful traffic on the location: “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.

“This tailor-made configuration will be able to limit the carbon impact of the surfing competition in Tahiti. Teahupo’o being in the lower range of the five candidate sites. 

“Paris 2024 thus reinforces its ambition to organise sustainable Games aligned with their times, on an environmental scale as well as economically and socially.”

There’s still a long way to go - and of course a whole other Olympics to witness - before we get there, but 2024 just got a whole lot prettier.