A surfer rides the waves at Teahupo'o. Photo: Tim McKenna Photography-TMK Tahiti/23112013/23112014
After weeks of controversy over potential environmental damages, French Polynesia's iconic site of Teahupoo has been confirmed as the 2024 Olympic Games surfing competitions venue, but it will be set up in a lighter format.
a lengthy joint release at the week end, the Paris 2024 organizing committee
(OGOC), the French High Commission in French Polynesia and the local government
have acknowledged concerns raised by local population over the potential
environmental impact of a new aluminium judge's tower.
opposition had materialised via local protests at the site, as well as a
petition which had gathered over 160,000 signatures.
main concerns were related to the potential damage to local marine life, but
also on the reef's structure, due to massive drilling to install the new
tower's foundations on the Teahupoo reef.
and petitioners said the construction works and drilling on the reef could even
alter the unique shape of the tube-like waves at Teahupoo.
existing wooden tower, which had been used over the past two decades of World
Surfing League Tahiti Pro competitions at Teahupoo, had been deemed unfit to
meet safety and technical requirements.
weeks of limbo, OGOC said the initial 14-metre high aluminium tower will now be
erected under new guidelines, in a slightly downgraded version, so as to
minimise its environmental impact while still meeting the required standards.
complied with technical specifications which required one air-conditioned and
moist-free room for the judges but also for the computer servers that will be
required to despatch the signal for a world-wide television and Internet
the tower's dimensions have been reduced by 25 percent, especially on the
tower's base surface that now comes back to the original wooden tower's
dimensions, which is about 150 m² (square meters).
new tower will now weight nine tonnes, compared to fourteen for the original
project, to support the weight of 25-30 officials instead of 40.
for the installation and drilling process for the foundations on the reef, a
barge will still have to be used, but with a shallower draught and drilling
will be made at a lower depth, because of the reduced weight of the tower
"without any risk of damage to the coral", the release assured.
also added that the foundations would now be installed "in an area with
few corals" and that "some coral reefs will be moved to avoid any
risk of damage during the works".
of the fittings necessary during the competition, such as fibre, electricity,
drinking water and wastewater connections, would also be removed after the