Rio de Janeiro: the perfect beach for surfing in the Olympic Games

Brazilian surfers have launched a global campaign to get surfing included in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, as a demonstration sport.

The International Surfing Association (ISA) has been lobbying the sport's inclusion in the Olympic Games, since Sydney 2000, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has never given surfing an opportunity.

Rio de Janeiro is the birthplace of Brazilian surfing, in a country where riding waves is a national sport. The national governing body for surfing has put online a petition and a Facebook page that have already attracted thousands of supporters.

"Rio de Janeiro has all the conditions to showcase surfing in the Olympic Games. We have good infrastructures, beached with perfect waves and the happiest people in the world", explains Rico de Souza, a pioneer of surfing in the capital of Brazil.

There are between 20 and 30 million surfers riding waves in more than 100 countries. The IOC guideline only demand an Olympic sport to have competitors in at least 70 countries and four continents.

In 2009, surfing was very close of having its debut in the Rio Olympic Games 2016, but golf and rugby made it through. Even kiteboarding got a medal ticket, replacing windsurfing. SurferToday.com strongly supports the inclusion of surfing in the official Olympic movement.

"Surfing is probably one of the sports with the strongest value and capability to change someone and the environment. Surfing is not only a sport, but a lifestyle capable of change", adds Carlos Burle, Brazilian big wave rider.

"Its presence in the Olympic Games strengthens the best human values: connection with Nature and human relationships with no racial, social or cultural difference".