Local Teahupoo Surfers Protest New Olympics Tower
Beginning in July next year, the surfing for the Paris 2024 Olympics will be held 15,000kms away in Tahiti.
Teahupoo locals have known about this for a while with Games organisers going to lengths to show the small village won't be overrun by crowds or infrastructure. The official Paris website states that there'll be minimal disturbance as "the small-scale overlay installations set up for the Games will disappear after the competition."
Added to that point, however, was this detail: "...with the exception of the new judges’ tower. Once built, it will allow French Polynesia to benefit from an infrastructure that will enable it to host major surfing events after the Games."
The old wooden tower, the vantage point for many a Tahiti Pro camera operator and judge, will be torn down and replaced with the new one - a $5 million permanent aluminium tower.
It's been a touchy topic since it was first raised with locals today displaying opposition with a protest walk from the marina to the point.
Matahi Drollet rallied the troops on Instagram, writing: "This peaceful walk is NOT against the Olympic Games but it’s is against THE NEW ALUMINIUM JUDGING TOWER they want to build on the reef. This is going to damage the reef and the whole ecosystem of the lagoon in front of the wave… and in the worst case scenario the wave of Teahupo’o also."
"The Ocean and the lagoon is the most precious place we have here. This is where we get our food from, where we play, where’s we spend most of our time and where we have the most perfect wave in the world. It’s a heritage of our ancestors that we need to preserve. Our association that regroups Fisherman’s, farmers, surfers, the population of Teahupo’o, younger older people … we are against this new tower. We want them to use the normal judging tower that WSL uses every year. It works perfectly fine and they need to adapt to our environment and listen to what us locals say."
It's not the first transgression by the five ring circus as Mateia Hiquily has posted videos and photos of the kalo/taro fields behind the village being flattened and replaced by crushed gravel and concrete awaiting catering trucks and miscellaneous electronic equipment for the three days the contest runs.