You Are Here: Surfing & The Olympics


You Are Here, Nathan Myers

While the Ralph Lauren designs custom spandex for our bestest ping-pongers, shot putters and race walkers, surfing remains on the sidelines.

Do we even care? A SURFING Poll ponders.

By Nathan Myers

Did you know Roller Hockey was once an Olympic event? (1992, Barcelona) Tug of war was around for a while, pigeon shooting had a go, and there used to be an event called “obstacle course swimming” that took place in a busy river. Solo synchronized swimming is still an Olympic sport, but only one person watches it.

And yet, despite the grand efforts of the ISA, surfing still hasn’t been invited to the Olympics. Do we care? Should we?

SURFING polled a handful of professional surfers as to what events they’ll be tuning in for and whether they think surfing should be included in the Olympics (it’s already been denied for 2020, so don’t get your hopes up).

Here’s what they said:

What’s your favorite Olympic event to follow?

MICK FANNING: Probably the swimming, ’cause that’s where Aussies do well. But you can’t not watch the 100m sprint.

ROB MACHADO: Table Tennis, because it’s amazing.

HANK GASKELL: Basketball is my favorite to watch because all the best American players team up to put on an epic show on a worldwide stage. Good entertainment… Especially since the NBA season just ended. Us b-ball fans get a little bonus this year!!

CJ HOBGOOD: Speed kills: 100 meter spring. If you’re the fastest person alive, you can play any sport.

YADIN NICOL: Basketball is the only event worth while following. What is the point of watching someone throw a stick in hopes that it sticks farthest in the ground? I think it’s more impressive how hard they train all for one event every 4 years.

TONINO BENSON: Gymnastics is the best. It’s the hardest and most technical.

DAMIEN HOBGOOD: Not sure why but curling comes to mind. Looks like a fun game to have at a party.

DYLAN GRAVES: Women’s ice skating. There are some hotties!

ALBEE LAYER: I like to watch the one with the two poles when the chicks or guys get super nuts. And the vault or whatever.

CORY LOPEZ: Men’s 100, because that’s it. Can the US beat Bolt?

LEIF ENGSTROM: Swimming…because of Michael Phelps losing all his sponsors thinking he could get away with taking a bong rip in front of a huge party. Classic.

NICK ROZSA: It’s really interesting to see so many unexciting “sports” in the Olympics. I honestly don’t even watch the Olympics just for that reason. Nothing really that exciting to me.


Should surfing be part of the Olympics?

MACHADO: Surfing isn’t a sport, it’s a way of life.

HANK GASKELL: It’s gonna take some patience for the world to realize what an amazing sport we have.

CJ: Surfing’s great. The Olympics are great.

YADIN: I don’t think it should be in the Olympics unless it’s in a wave pool and everyone has equal opportunity.

TONINO: Kekai Minamishin. (*SURFING Googled this response… no luck.)

DAMO: Never really cared.

ALBEE: It would take a wave pool that was amazing for it to be in the Olympics, but I think after a year of the wave pool surfing would become like snow boarding half pipe where people scripted their runs before they caught the wave and it wouldn’t be real surfing which is based on 90 percent instinct in real waves.

MICK FANNING: A sick wave pool that everyone is talking about. It would be amazing to surf for a gold medal. Maybe Brazil 2016.

GRAVES: Once they perfect wave pools and getting them with legit waves would get surfing in there. Not having surfing be limited to coastal venues and being able to control conditions would be a whole different ball game. Not to mention everyone would get the same chances.

LEIF ENGSTROM: A wave pool like the Dion surfed in that new video Blue Electric. That thing was sick. Perfect sections, every wave is the same, and everyone can watch it.

NICK ROZSA: If surfing were to be an Olympic sport, there would need to be some sort of consistency as far as waves go… the ocean is just too unpredictable. So, my answer is no it shouldn’t be an Olympic sport. The playing field isn’t equal and therefore shouldn’t be categorized as one. If wave pools came into play, then there could be a possibility, but as we all know nothing can produce the raw power and intensity that the ocean provides for us.

So, apparently it’s all in Kelly Slater’s hands to develop a wave pool exciting enough to turn us into uniform wearing jocks. But is that really surfing…or just riding waves?

Well, until then, let’s just have a beer pong toga party and be thankful we’re not wearing spandex. Whaddayareckon, people?