Paris 2024 Olympics rejects wavepool

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

When surfing was accepted into the Olympics back in 2016 there existed a distinct possibility that it'd be run in a wavepool. Shidashita Beach, Tokyo, where competition was due to be held, is a low quality beachbreak. Even the most optimistic forecaster knew the XXXII Olympiad had long odds of getting good waves, stretched even further by being completely out of season.

There was a reasonable argument that the most-watched surfing event of all time should be held in good waves. Also, having the Olympic gold medallist decided, not by skill, but by the vagaries of the ocean seemed unjust, and a controlled environment would put paid to that debate.

The Kelly Slater Wave Company (KSWC) quickly purchased land in Tokyo and made lots of noise about it. In September 2018, KSWC President Nick Franklin told Sports Business Daily, "With surfing going into the Olympics, we want to be supporting the markets where the Olympics will be headed." Yet the move was more commonly seen as an attempt to backdoor the Olympics and have it run surfing in their pool.

The Tokyo organisers, however, were adamant their event would be held in saltwater. Since then we've heard little from Nick Franklin about the KSWC Tokyo pool.

Attention shifted four years hence to the Paris Olympics. Unlike Tokyo, Paris has no nearby coastline - the largely unsurfable English channel is 150kms away - and rather than rushing to construct a pool, as they were doing at Tokyo, either KSWC or their European rival Wavegarden could take their time to build a pool and ingratiate themselves with the Olympic movement.

But with over five years to go till Paris that dream has just been quashed. Writing overnight in Wave Pool Mag - yes there is such a thing - Chris Klein quoted Tony Estanguet, president of Paris 2024, as confirming that surfing would again be in the ocean.

“It was decided at the last Paris 2024 Board of Directors meeting not to use artificial waves to host the surfing events, opting instead to use a natural site,” said Estanguet. “We are fortunate in France to have several natural sites that have the experience and expertise to host major international surfing events.”

Those sites are Lacanau, Hossegor, La Torche, and Biarritz. However, it is the Summer Olympics - Paris 2024 will be held from 26 July till 11 August - so, like Tokyo, the dates fall well outside their swell season.

Despite Tony Estanguet's assurances, I expect we'll be seeing more agitation from the wave pool companies, particularly KSWC. Since surfing was accepted into the Olympics it's been viewed as a springboard to greater heights. Athletes want to increase their exposure, sporting organisations want a bigger share of the government spend, and if private companies such as KSWC or Wavegarden were to have the greatest show on Earth run in their pools it would provide legitimacy and a significant branding advantage.

Comments

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 2:28pm

Ironically, in the last day or so have seen news articles: "Queensland Premier seeks meeting with PM to lock in Brisbane Olympic bid for 2032".

It's another eight years following Paris, but in a country where the WSL have had considerable success at leveraging the government for funds. 

Thirteen years away is certainly playing the long game though.

bill-poster's picture
bill-poster's picture
bill-poster commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 3:12pm

It didn't feel that long ago that KSWC were swinging for the fences with their pools. Land in Japan, firing up the tractors for Palm Beach Florida, and hiring Andrew Stark for Oz roll outs, and now all of that has hit a hurdle(s)....Florida dumped, Japan not happening, nor Paris, and yoo hoo Starky, where are you??

Their most significant event of 2019 is calling Lemoore the Freshwater Pro.

derra83's picture
derra83's picture
derra83 commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 3:30pm

Who's excited for Shidashita Beach!!??

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 3:44pm

"Shida Surf Spot Russians getting ready for Olympics 2020"

PeteH's picture
PeteH's picture
PeteH commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 4:09pm

Looks like Middleton on an average day. Surely they couldn't hold a world class event in that! Not that I care too much about surfing being in the Olympics to begin with.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 4:10pm

I'm more impressed that there's a Russian surf team in full HPC training mode.

PeteH's picture
PeteH's picture
PeteH commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 4:13pm

Yep, the Russians are coming as they say!

surfing-cronulla's picture
surfing-cronulla's picture
surfing-cronulla commented Monday, 24 Jun 2019 at 12:39pm

And to think it wasn't so long ago I was training young conscripts up at Singleton then WA to fight off those nasty "commies" coming via "dominos" to take over Australia. More like pawns in chess than dominos but here we are surfing with Russians? How it should be ... as long as they don't drop in.

daisy duke kahanamoku's picture
daisy duke kahanamoku's picture
daisy duke kaha... commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 4:40pm

I think the grey water will make a nice change from the colour and pageantry of the Olympics.

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 6:26pm

I know this stretch of beach and surrounds pretty well - when you are living in Tokyo it’s a easy escape for the early riser with wheels. Had lots of fun surfs here even in summer but that’s just relative to not surfing at all. My bet is on a Up and coming QS surfer doing well here as it’s not unlike many marginal QS locations. Certainly no place for old men ( hello Kelly).

knB

seen's picture
seen's picture
seen commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 2:04pm

Handpicked for kanoa?

Adam71's picture
Adam71's picture
Adam71 commented Thursday, 20 Jun 2019 at 4:38pm

Cool. The Russian amateur surfer will say to the pro. “ I must break you “. Slater with his stars & stripes boardies on, will respond “ go for it “. As long as the Russians have some of their glam women on the beach with their powerful stare. I’m all for it.
On a more serious note, if it’s out of season for swell at Japan & France. What will they do if it’s flat?, go mobile?

OHV500's picture
OHV500's picture
OHV500 commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 3:45pm

I'm not a fan of the pools - but for the olympics you would think they are a must have. In all other sports in the olympics there is a level playing field, personally I think it should be the same for our sport. I hope the powers that be, in the olympic movement, know what they are doing, or it could be a disaster for surfing. Maybe thats a good thing ?

mattlock's picture
mattlock's picture
mattlock commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 4:57pm

Sport! Olympics! Couldn't be any further away from what surfing is really all about. I will probably watch though!!

seen's picture
seen's picture
seen commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 2:06pm

It should be like boxing - open to amateurs only (I guess in surfing could say QS surfers only), and yeah wave pools make sense for that

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 5:03pm

You reckon the Olympics will even be around in 2032?
They're so fucking pointless already.

D-Rex's picture
D-Rex's picture
D-Rex commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 9:18am

World is meant to end by 2031 (Climate Change Hysterians) so no point planning anything.

Ray Shirlaw's picture
Ray Shirlaw's picture
Ray Shirlaw commented Friday, 14 Jun 2019 at 11:09pm

Hahaha good point. The world has come such a long way since many traditional sports were Tremendously Exciting. But Ay it keeps 'em outta the water,yeh?

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 12:08am

Tweak the 100m Wavepool to 45km/hr & bare arsed Bodysurfer claims Bolt's WR.
WR Record doesn't stand...Basher is disqualified for not endorsing WSL surfboard.
Fair call...then cut Bolt down to size & have him run barefoot 100m in boardies

You're all right! A half real Olympic Athlete would be doped & branded as illegal alien.

Hog tied & dead from the waist down WSL Surfletes are ticked off as marine debris.
Surely WSL can see that Olympic Stadium spotlight exposes surfing's achilles heel.
WSL pantomime has backpaddled Surfing as least progressive of all Board Sports.
Eg: Wipeout then remount in a Barrel=[0][0][0][0][0] "That's not the WSL way chap!"

Other board sports dump baggage & ties to flip & soar with anyones but their board.
re: $2 SUP cross demolition already surfs rings around WSL playdoh arena.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaxD3jvRHOU

Surfers may ditch boring ISA /WSL Wavepools to join SUP's on 'ICF' rad river waves.

Payette Games was an example of Total Water Sport Control...Big $ in remote locale.
Loggerz/SLS/volleyball/Frisbee/Body-Surfing/SUP/Trad Canoe/Kayak/fishing +heaps
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbGUDX6icZE

WRSA $5,000 Surf Slam- "Hey Ma! Them Pro varmints are shootin our Rapids!"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eIN_H9NdZg

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 11:00am

"Shidashita Beach, Tokyo, where competition was due to be held, is a low quality beachbreak"

I lol'd.

("She-dash-ta", I know, I know...)

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Saturday, 15 Jun 2019 at 1:20pm

tbb was surprised to read that Surfing was included in Paris Olympic Games?

21st Feb 2019 (Paris submitted Surfing inclusion for Olympic program)
24th-26th June 2019 (IOC will vote to grant Surfing a [P] License)...Not yet official?
Dec 2020 (After Tokyo Olympics "Execs may or may not officially confirm Surfing"

Japan Surfing is renowned for Tsunamis + Radioactive Godzilla Jellies...(Wait & see!)

Athleticism (Olympic Ideal) vs Postcards (Cash cow) vs Sporting Wheelies (Politics)

*The Ideal Surfing Athlete (Bodysurfer) Can hardly hide Olympic brown paper bags.

*WSL/Olympic showbags for White Trash Seachange Resorts is new Olympic Ideal.
Beach Volleyball bulldoze squelchy sand dunes for fake beach sand =($20m later)
Why? Well 1992 Beach Volleyball is now #1 Olympic Sport.(Equal Sex...Yes Please!)

France proposes Olympic Surfing Resorts... (Hossegor / Lacanau / La Torche)

How can downtown Wave Pools compete against Olympic Beach Babes in Bikinis?

*Well! Olympics have a nice little bit on the side..."Paralympics!"
est 1964 Paralympics is now #3 World Sporting Event (4,000 entrants/148 nations)
Aussies(SLSA) 7,000 competitors
Lifesaving World Championship (6,000 athletes = 1000 officials)

As such Olympics crave Surf Events & Surfing needs disability access to expand.
Ooh La La! Enter... "Le Wave Pool"
Laws dictate City CBD to be compliant outward to Tourist Resorts as last resort.
Think of the impost to transit 148 Paralympic nations to a dodgy seaside resort.
City Wavepool grants instant affordable sporting access to Jr/Disabled/Sr Surfers.

Consider Surfing is still on [P] plates..
The very minute Surfing is sanctioned then Paralympic Surfing compliance is #1

Oz Govt already run SLSA Nippers in Oz Olympic/Wave Pools with disabled access)
Govt Wave Pool sporting handouts are funnelled by partnering Liberal SLSA Clubs.

Wave Pools hook Dad/Grom dual Year Pass + Many Rescue Craft upgrades @ shop.
Several operating Wave Pools & proposed adopt SLSA format for Govt handouts.
Each Wave-Pool can host 200 strong Nipper Club with all the Govt/Council perks.
Wave Pool Training Facilities Gyms all now donated or funded by Olympic default.

Surfing Australia also run Surf Grom Wave Pools for a handful of Up Town Groms.

Wave Pool future is here & now & we see how quickly the cash cow is milked.
Crew clearly see that city centric Wave Pools don't flow the way of the Surfer.

tbb points out- pool depth,wave shape & length are reshaped to suit Sponsor's Ads.
Sponsors can't yet afford Wave Stadium lined with quick change running ads so.....
Current examples point to a Short Ramp Wave Slam for Billboard Surf Mag Ads.
We all wish wise counsel from our Surfing Overlords...but there you go!

JackStance's picture
JackStance's picture
JackStance commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 9:28am

Fukushima anyone?
Something about :https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/03/29/national/seven-years-radioa...

It's not just a little bit., and I'm pretty sure theres a water current that T-intersection on the west coast - the oyashia current (see: google)

Breath. Murdoch's empire will one day fail to control our minds.

JackStance's picture
JackStance's picture
JackStance commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 9:37am

The 5 assessments on Fukushima raise some questions about omissions found in most of them. These omissions are contextualised by a cultural reluctance to question authority.
https://thebulletin.org/2014/03/five-assessments-of-the-fukushima-disaster/

Breath. Murdoch's empire will one day fail to control our minds.

Numbatt's picture
Numbatt's picture
Numbatt commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 9:30am

Boat wake, or ship wake, may save the Olympians.

Adam71's picture
Adam71's picture
Adam71 commented Thursday, 20 Jun 2019 at 6:16pm

lol

JackStance's picture
JackStance's picture
JackStance commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 9:55am

Perhaps we need to reinvent the wheel.

Imagine a tsunami. A Huge one. Every surflete has their own helicopter hovering in a line 10 miles of the coast.

All of Hollywood is there to "document" the event. With Don King as the lead commentator, and Michael Obowitz starring a Stryder Waz.

Who will make it the furthest!!!?

Who will bungle the acid drop.

Current statistics say that only one on seven attempts are successful.

Unleash the Gladisurfers. 100 from the field of 700 have landed the acid drop, 600 perish (don't worry, they're mostly from countries that the axis of US warmongers don't like) the upswing is each of these 600 had a Hollywood crew of 20 - a massive blow to the narrative controllers.

( https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2018/06/04/whoever-controls-the-narrative-c... )

Suddenly, the 6 billion people watching the event simultaneously being feeling the air filtering in and out of your lungs, ....... the sounds of the room, ....... the feeling of your skin connecting to whatever on this beautiful earth is currently bearing your body. ....... Taking all the time you need to feel in to how safe you are right now, how few bears are chasing you, how lacking your surroundings are in oncoming tsunamis or walls of flames.

Nothing is going wrong right now.

Put the future to one side for a blessed second and feel how safe and nourished by the world you are, everything working in concert to support your being, and decide for once that you want this, and you want to be here, and you choose life.

Breath. Murdoch's empire will one day fail to control our minds.

philosurphizingkerching's picture
philosurphizingkerching's picture
philosurphizing... commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 10:23am

Have you checked out the Adam Curtis documentary - Hypernormalisation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fh2cDKyFdyU

Praise be the big picture thinkers.

JackStance's picture
JackStance's picture
JackStance commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 1:50pm

Thanks Phil, just started on it.

Liberation from Corporate Psychic Colonization: New Subjectivity Awakening in Conscience: https://pqdtopen.proquest.com/doc/1615424886.html?FMT=ABS

Breath. Murdoch's empire will one day fail to control our minds.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 9:59am

I choose it, I choose it Jack.

Hallelujah!

JackStance's picture
JackStance's picture
JackStance commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 1:47pm

We got this

Breath. Murdoch's empire will one day fail to control our minds.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Sunday, 16 Jun 2019 at 2:47pm

France is usually pretty small that time of year....like lake flat.....believe me I know.

North Atlantic can have flat spells for weeks at a time also.

Billyw's picture
Billyw's picture
Billyw commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 11:11pm

yeh nah, lived in Basque/Landes for 22 years and disagree with you, and believe me I know.

B Dub

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 12:47am

Great links crew! Blame it on 1970's Chariots of the Gods mind control TV.
Faith healers,mind readers,Spoon Benders,microwave ovens all fooled the flock.
Kids snapped Mum/Dad out of it... "Not one of these freaks have psychic powers!"
Fondu Flickerz left shocked that their hosts could raise such cocky thickhead runtz!
Just repeating...we runtz never meant any harm! "All Hail President Spoon Bender!"

wax-on-danielson's picture
wax-on-danielson's picture
wax-on-danielson commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 1:09pm

In other related news, several Embassy’s from countries not bordered by the ocean have had an influx of inquiries from Australia, Hawaiian & American semi-professional surfers on becoming citizens and far away the nearest coastline is.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 1:26pm

Let the passport hopping begin!

PCS PeterPan's picture
PCS PeterPan's picture
PCS PeterPan commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 3:18pm

If any self respecting , crowd hating surfer thinks that a good show of SURFING at any Olympics will improve their surfing experience post Olympics , that surfer is not joining the dots !
Personally , I couldn't care a fig what average joe thinks of me or Surfing as a Lifestyle/Sport , never have and never will .
Selfishly , I hope it tanks , with no disrespect to those striving to make surfing "legitimate". There are enough clowns clogging up the lineups now let alone if
Surfing gains more traction during the Olympics.

seaslug's picture
seaslug's picture
seaslug commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 6:09pm

Hear Hear PCS PeterPan

seaslug's picture
seaslug's picture
seaslug commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 6:10pm

Hear Hear PCS PeterPan

Adam71's picture
Adam71's picture
Adam71 commented Thursday, 20 Jun 2019 at 6:19pm

Agree

Adam71's picture
Adam71's picture
Adam71 commented Thursday, 20 Jun 2019 at 6:31pm

Disco, you said it t best

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 5:38pm

Makes as much sense as golf, tennis, basketball in the lympics. I don't know why they just don't leave it to the true athletic pursuits.

Logical's picture
Logical's picture
Logical commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 7:48pm

Ban Wave Pools from Olympic.

Only the richest nation (USA) building identical Olympic pools will win every time. They will build several and have $millions to spend on power costs to generate waves all day every day for their team - all year round. (so much for climate change hey).

Billyw's picture
Billyw's picture
Billyw commented Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 11:09pm

Its because they want a surfing competition not a snowboard/gymnastic competition. Wave pools do not display surfing at its best, its repetitive, boring and has only the slimmest connection to surfing (in the ocean).

B Dub

Adam71's picture
Adam71's picture
Adam71 commented Thursday, 20 Jun 2019 at 6:18pm

Agree

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 24 Jun 2019 at 12:53pm

I hope Dirk is handling the stress from this latest challenge.

I can just imagine him hiding his pain, sitting on his solid gold toilet and wiping the tears from his eyes with freshly minted hundred dollar bills.