When Did Surfing Become An Olympic Sport? - Green Iguana Surf Camp

When Did Surfing Become An Olympic Sport?

Surfing has always been a part of our lives. From the early days of surfing, it has evolved into a global phenomenon.

We have humble beginnings in Hawaii, the love of this sport has grown and grown over the years, with various competitions beginning to be created all over the world. Now surfing has been added as an Olympic sport, which is only a new development. 

In this article, we will discover when surfing became an Olympic sport, and how this sport is now judged. 

When Did Surfing Become An Olympic Sport

Surfing And The Olympics

The first time surfing was mentioned in the Olympic Games was in 1920, where surfers from Australia were included in the games. This was during the Summer games held in Antwerp, Belgium.

In 1924, surfers were again included in the games, but this time they were included in the Winter games held in Chamonix, France. However, these events did not have any official status and no medals were awarded to the surfers.

It wasn’t until 1932 that surfing would be included in the Olympic Games for the third time. This time, the event took place in Los Angeles, California. During this time, there were two categories of competitions: men’s competition and women’s competition. 

The events lasted for four hours, and the winner received $100. Although the event was considered successful, it didn’t receive much attention because it was overshadowed by other sports such as baseball, boxing, basketball, track and field, etc.

It wasn’t until 1948 that surfing returned to the Olympic Games. This time, surfing was included in the Winter games, held in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Unlike previous competitions, this time the surfers competed for gold medals.

There were only six surfers who participated in this event. It wasn’t until 1964 that surfing was included in the summer games once more. This time, surfing took place in Tokyo, Japan. 

In 1968, surfing was included in another Olympics. This time, the surfing event took place in Mexico City, Mexico. This time, the surfers did not compete for gold or silver medals. Instead, they competed for bronze medals. The event was very successful, as many people attended to watch these surfers compete. At least one million people watched the event live. 

In 1992, surfing was finally added to the Summer Olympics. This time, surfing occurred in Barcelona, Spain, and the athletes competed for bronze medals rather than just gold or silver.

In 1996, surfing was again added to the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. However, the contestants finally competed for gold medals rather than just bronze. The event was a huge success. It attracted over three hundred thousand spectators.

Surfing was introduced to the Olympics in 2000. The event was held at the Sydney Games. Since then, surfing has grown tremendously. In 2016, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that surfing would be added to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

The IOC decided to add surfing to the games because they felt that surfing had a unique place in society. They also believed that surfing would provide athletes with an opportunity to compete against each other in a new way.

The IOC stated that surfers would have to meet certain criteria before being eligible for inclusion in the 2020 games. These included having a minimum age of 18 and competing on a national team.

In addition, all surfers must have completed their compulsory education by the time of the games. This means that surfers will need to complete high school or college if they want to participate in the Olympics.

Surfers who are not able to meet these requirements can still enter the games as long as they do so under the auspices of a national federation.

How Is Surfing Judged?

How Is Surfing Judged

There are different ways that surfing is judged.

First, the judges look at how well the surfer performs in the water. They judge how well the surfer rides waves, paddles, maneuvers around obstacles, and does tricks.

Second, the judges look at the performance of the surfer on land. They judge how well he/she stands up on his/her feet while performing various stunts.

Third, the judges look at the wave that the surfer is riding on. They may also look at what kind of equipment the surfer uses when riding the wave. Judging how well-equipped the surfer is, including things like fins, boards, and helmets.

What Are Some Of The Rules For Surfing?

There are several rules that apply to surfing. First, surfers should always stay within the confines of the break. They should never ride out past the point where the surf breaks.

Alongside this, surfers should always keep an eye on the conditions of the ocean. Surfers should try to avoid getting caught in riptides, otherwise this could be dangerous.

As surfing can be dangerous, surfers should always use common sense when surfing. They should always take care of themselves and others when surfing. As a result, they should never drink alcohol while surfing. Eighth, surfers should never throw anything into the sea. 

Who Competes At Surfing Events?

Surfers from many countries compete in surfing events. Countries such as Australia, Brazil, China, France, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States are some of the countries that compete in surfing events.

Some of the best surfers in the world include Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning, Stephanie Gilmore, Gabriel Medina, Taj Burrow, and Jordy Smith.

How Does It Work?

During the Olympics, there will be 20 men and 20 women competing. They compete in groups of 4 or 5 people, which are known as the preliminary rounds. Then winners go into one to one until a winner is determined. 

The judging process can be confusing for beginners, and as there is typically only 30 minutes per round, the surfers have to think carefully on the tricks and waves that they want to surf.


Surfing is a beloved sport that has been growing in popularity. Now, surfing is recognized as an Olympic sport. It has been dipping its time into the event since the 1930s, but just before 2000 it finally got the recognition that it deserved. 

We hope this article has answered all the questions you had surrounding surging and the Olympics!

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