5 Mar 2020

Sport: Tahiti excited to host Olympic surfing in 2024

1:29 pm on 5 March 2020

Tahiti will be working closely with its French counterparts to ensure it is ready to host the surfing competition at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The decision to stage the event in French Polynesia was approved by the International Olympic Committee this week at its executive board meeting in Switzerland.

Fédération Tahitienne de Surf President, Lionel Teihotu, said he was excited knowing Tahiti was officially confirmed as the competition hosts.

"For us, it's a very big joy to welcome this rendezvous in our island of Tahiti in Teahupo'o," he said.

"We are so proud to hear that great news and so for us and all of us from Tahiti and from the islands and as well from France, it's great news."

Teihotu believed the decision to hold the competition in Tahiti was made based on its climate and the average wave swells expected from July to August.

"In Tahiti we have such big swells, about 75 percent [chance] to get waves, and we know that in summer time in France there is maybe a lack of swells at that time," he said.

Tahiti's surfing federation has also established a partnership with their counterparts in France to ensure preparations and planning all run smoothly over the next four years.

"We have a team [and] we will build a team together so it's going to be very important to do that and to start working for this project in 2024," Teihotu said.

"I think the help as well with the International Surfing Association, with World Surf League and the French Federation, it could be a good result with our government and the French government."

"Now he's [President of French Polynesia Édouard Fritch] going to make a big committee of the organisation to organise surfing days...

"So for surfing, we will do our best. It could be good for the years coming and after 2024 to use some structure which will have some big benefits for the entire population."

The President of French Polynesia Edouard Fritch speaks to journalists after a meeting with French Prime Minister at the Hotel Matignon in Paris on June 22, 2017.

Edouard Fritch is involved with plans for French Polynesia to host surfing at the 2024 Olympics. Photo: AFP or licensors

Surfing will be introduced for the first time at this year's Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Teihotu anticipates that there was a strong chance that surfers born and raised in French Polynesia could participate in the event in four years time however, it would be under the French organisation.

"That is why we are working with the French Federation to get the best team to go and to send our best local athletes," he said.

"We belong to the French Nation...because we can't have our own team because we have a special status and that's why we belong to the French organisation in sports and for the Olympic Games."