Olympic Inclusion of Surfing
The dream of including Surfing in the world Olympics began with a man named Duke Kahanamoku. Kahanamoku was not only a Hawaiian native and acclaimed father of modern surfing, but also an Olympic Gold Medalist himself. Kahanamoku first expressed his dream of the Olympic inclusion of surfing to the International Olympic Committee aka the IOC in 1912, during the Summer Olympic Games. Finally, after countless decades the ISA organization has achieved the Kahanamoku dream.
In 1994, a new president of the ISA was elected. His name was Fernando Aguerre. Originally, Aguerre was a member of the Argentina National Surfing Team. Thus shortly after Aguerre's election in 1995, he arranged a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland with the IOC president, Juan Samaranch. In this meeting Aguerre clearly stated that the inclusion of Surfing in the World's Olympic Games would be a relentless priority for the ISA organization.
ISA has not only steadily pursued the inclusion of surfing in the Olympics but has successfully made massive strides in the world wide development of the sport. In 1995, the ISA was only comprised of thirty two member Nations. Presently, the ISA contains one hundred member nations which means countries such as Iran and Russia whom are not traditionally familiar with the sport of surfing are now fully immersed in it.
Additionally in 2014, after numerous attempts, the ISA was finally granted an application for Surfing as well as Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUP) to be included in the 2020 Tokyo Games. We can partly thank Thomas Bach, the new IOC President, for allowing the ISA access to the event. Bach believes that the Olympics need to incorporate more youth orientated and colorful sports.
As if things couldn't get any better, in 2016 on August 3rd during the 129th International Olympic Committee Session Surfing was voted in as one of the five brand new sports to be included in the 2020 Olympic games. Not to mention, Surfing and SUP are also to be included during the 2017 Managua, Nicaragua Central American Games, the 2019 San Diego, United States ANOC World Beach games, and the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. Although, SUP was not accepted 2020 Olympic games, the ISA organization is still fully pursuing its inclusion in the 2024 Olympics.
Not only has Kahanamoku's dream been fulfilled but now all future surfer generations have the chance to aspire to make it into the World's Olympic games. Surfing will be revolutionized by the Olympic games as we push toward global progression. The Olympics welcomes surfing with open arms readily embracing this new competition.