Surf Ranch to build in Tokyo for their Olympic dream
The Tokyo Summer Olympics starts in just over two years and intrigue surrounds the venue for the surfing event. Fernando Aguerre, the head of the International Surfing Association (ISA), who's spent 36 years trying to get surfing into the games, is adamant the surfing event will be held in the ocean, at Tsurigasaki Beach in Chiba. He recently told Surfline, the organisers "have determined that surfing will take place in the ocean, and that, "The ISA is excited about showcasing surf culture and lifestyle through an innovative beach festival concept at the Games.”
Yet the Olympic Games, the largest sporting event on Earth, has often been used a springboard for commerce and Tokyo is proving no exception with two wavepool companies planning to build pools in the vicinity of the Olympic complex. No doubt motivated to show the superiority of their technology over the local beachbreaks and perhaps force their way into the Olympic spotlight. Exposure to four billion Olympic eyeballs being the main game here.
Late last year, Wavegarden announced they were building one of their pools in Tokyo and unashamedly called it a "Plan B" if the ocean went flat at Chiba during the Olympics.
More recently, plans by the WSL-backed Surf Ranch to build a pool in Tokyo have been made public. The confirmation came via a Japanese newspaper which stated that construction of the Tokyo Surf Ranch would begin in September 2018 and be completed by December 2019 - six months before the games begin.
It's location will be Kizaru City, midway between Tokyo and Chiba, and the site is 140 acres with the pool itself being 580 metres long and 150 metres wide. That's the same width as Lemoore yet just over 100 metres shorter.
To date, Fernando Aguerre has resisted the trojan horses but the wavepool companies will persist. Complicating matters is the Surf Ranch is owned by the WSL who employ the best surfers in the world and, at this stage, consent to their athletes competing in the games.
Also, unsanctioned companies cannot leverage the Olympics to advertise their product. Yet there's been rumours of the Surf Ranch running a Tokyo contest to display their product superiority which, if it doesn't transgress IOC rules, risks rubbing influential people up the wrong way.