Surfing at the Tokyo Olympics | Surf Snowdonia -

Surfing is a sport that first originated atop the sparkling, cerulean waves of Polynesia in the late eighteenth century, during a time when surfboards were thick, heavy pieces of wood that weighed up to 90 kilos. Enjoyed by everyone from royalty through to fishermen, it was a way of life associated with sacred rituals and celebration. Brought to the attention of the masses during the early 1900s by the father of modern surfing and Olympic swimmer Duke Kahanamoku, it was something he passionately campaigned for, saying it was his ‘dream’ to see surfing become an Olympic sport upon accepting his gold medal at the 1912 Stockholm summer olympics. 

Fast-forward over a century, and the decision by the Olympic committee to include surfing in the games was made on the 3rd August 2016, when they also announced that baseball, karate, skateboarding and climbing would be added. 

So, in a historic year for the sport, what have we learned from watching 40 world-class athletes take to the water? 

Even Olympic surfing is at the mercy of mother nature 

No matter what the level of preparation is, surfing competitions throughout history have always been subject to one uncontrollable element, the weather. The Olympics is no exception, with the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals all rushed into one day in order to accommodate tropical storm Nepartak. 

A lot of different factors go into surf scoring

With a panel of five different judges watching each wave, athletes go head to head in three 30 minute rounds known as heats, where every wave ridden is scored from 0.1-10. On each wave, the very highest and lowest scores are thrown out with the average of the middle three giving the overall score for that wave. 

The scores from the best 2 waves are then added together to calculate each surfer’s overall heat score. While all of that might sound complicated, the simple factors being taken into account by the judges include the difficulty and variety of moves, the speed, flow & power of execution and the athlete’s overall commitment to the wave.  

Surfing is set to continue it’s Olympic journey 

Scheduled to take place in Paris in 2024, surfing will be featured in the 2024 Olympics but with a catch – the surf competition itself will take place in Tahiti, almost 10,000 miles away. It could also be the year that we see Sky Brown qualify for the Team GB surf squad, after she became the youngest British Olympic Medallist by winning the Bronze medal in skateboarding, revealing that it’s her ‘goal to compete in both sports at the Paris games’.

Beyond that, in 2028, Los Angeles is set to play host, meaning athletes will take on the consistent waves of the California coastline should surfing be kept on the agenda. (As surfing was declared the official sport of the state in 2018, we deem it highly unlikely that it will be dropped.) 

The wave pool is the perfect place to train 

With conditions often proving tricky, even gold-medallists appreciate the calm, clean consistency of a wave pool. Upon their arrival in host city Makinohara, Women’s Surfing Shortboard Gold Medallist Carissa Moore was one of the first to train, adding  “The host city has been incredibly generous in sharing their hospitality and culture – from the awesome beach, the cheering crowds, new wave pool and beautiful leis and hotel.” 

Improve your surfing at SURF SNOWDONIA

Surrounded by brooding mountains, rugged rolling hills and glorious green forests, the surf lagoon at Adventure Parc Snowdonia is the perfect place to practise your surfing, reconnect with nature and be inspired by this years’ Olympians. Located within an hour of some of North Wales’ best surf spots, you’ll easily be able to take your new found confidence out onto the ocean following a session or lesson.



© Adventure Parc Snowdonia Ltd trading as Surf Snowdonia & Adventure Parc Snowdonia. Adventure Parc Snowdonia Ltd is a company registered in England and Wales with company number 8220978. Registered office: 21 Oakland House, Hope Carr Road, Leigh, Lancashire WN7 3ET