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Sports

Tahiti are the official hosts for the Paris 2024 surfing competition

Friday 19 August 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Regional, Tahiti

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Tahiti are the official hosts for the Paris 2024 surfing competition
A Surfer training days out from Billabong's annual Tahiti competition at Teahupoo reef. TAHITI, FRENCH POLYNESIA - AUGUST 5 2018 Photo: Andrea Izzotti/123RF

It's official! Tahiti will host all surfing events for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

In Papeete this week the president of French Polynesia, Edouard Fritch, signed the official documents for the competition with Tony Estanguet, the president of the Olympic games organising committee.

The venue for the surfing competition is a surfbreak off of Teahupo'o on Tahiti, famous for its heavy, glassy waves often reaching two to three metres in height and sometimes as high as seven metres.

The three official documents signed this week pertain to the infrastructure required on the site, security for the surf events and the passage of the Olympic flame.

"We are going to make it an event that meets your expectations," Edouard Fritch said during the signing ceremony.

"We are a small far away island in the Pacific who will host the Olympic Games. It is extraordinary! We had to convince the population but we have done it, everyone will look at us."

Tony Estanguet said during a press conference, "Since last Friday we have met many actors on the site"

"Its a document that is advancing well, some construction will be necessary but a lot of it will be temporary to not ruin the sites."

The President of French Polynesia, Edouard Fritch
The President of French Polynesia, Edouard Fritch Photo: AFP

The contracts were signed at the Federation of Tahitien surf in Papara which will host fans arriving to witness the Olympics.

President of surfing in Tahiti Lionel Teihotu told RNZ Pacific the event will be a clean event and will be a way for local communities to witness and take part in the Olympics.

"Each will participate to the games to make a greener event. That is what Tony Estanguet and his team are carrying. Its to make a clean game by utilizing the existing infrastructure and focus on sport," Lionel Teihotu said.

"It is also a good opportunity to prepare our athletes at the level of the federation of surf. We have a good portion of young people that just want to participate in the Olympic games," he said.

"Its also true that a huge amount of countries in the Pacific near our territory surf. So this event allows us to make a lower carbon emission because we are right next door".

Papeete, French Polynesia.
Photo: 123rf

The Olympic organising committee delegation have stayed in French Polynesia for six days to locate future instalments such as accommodation for the athletes and fan zones.

They also observed the logistics of the 2022 Outerknown Tahiti Pro World Surfing League championships which were held at Teahupo'o from the 11th to the 21st of August with the final stage to be held in California.

Tahiti was chosen by the committee over other French surfing destinations including those to the south-west of Britanny, Hossegor and in other parts of the country.

Surfing made its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games which were held in 2021 because of the pandemic.

Italo Ferreira of Brazil and Carissa Moore of the United States were the first man and women to ever be crowned Olympic surfing champions at Tsurigasaki beach, about 60 kilometres southeast of Tokyo.

MAUI, UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 2: Three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore of Hawaii placed second in the Heat 2 of the Semifinals of the 2019 Lululemon Maui Pro at Honolua Bay on December 2, 2019 in Maui, United States.  (Photo by Ed Sloane/WSL via Getty Images)
Hawaiian born Olympic gold medalist Carissa Moore. Photo: 2019 World Surf League

According to the official games website Hawaiian born Olympic Gold medalist Carissa Moore started surfing with her father when she was five on the beaches of Waikiki.

Moore was untouchable all the way to the Olympic final against South African Bianca Buitendag in Japan, taking gold 101 years after Hawaiian surf legend Duke Kahanamoku first said surfing should be included in the Games.