Surfing: there will be 40 surfers in Tokyo 2020 | Photo: WSL

The International Surfing Association (ISA) and the World Surf League (WSL) have reached an agreement on the qualification principles for surfing's debut in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

According to both organizations, 18 of the 40 places at the Games will be reserved for WSL's Championship Tour (CT) surfers (10 men and 8 women), with the remaining 22 places determined at the 2019 and 2020 ISA World Surfing Games, the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, and a single slot (each for men and women) for the host nation, i.e., Japan.

With the support of the WSL, the ISA eligibility rules for Olympic participation will require surfers to make themselves available for their national teams to compete in the ISA World Surfing Games in 2019 and 2020 and, if selected by their national federation, to participate.

The agreement between the ISA and the WSL reinforces both organizations' commitment to the successful Olympic debut for surfing, showcasing a strong collaboration between an IOC-recognized International Olympic Federation and the professional home of the world's best surfers.

Surfing was confirmed as an Olympic sport for Tokyo 2020 in August 2016 after decades of campaigning by the ISA for the global development of surfing. Surfing will also be included in the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima. This campaign has been buoyed by the continued improvement in high-performance surfing and mainstream attention of the WSL Championship Tour. 

"We are happy to reach this historic agreement with the WSL on the participation of their top stars in the Olympic Games and ISA World Surfing Games. The support, endorsement, and collaboration of the WSL and its top professional surfers have always been an important part of our Olympic pathway to Tokyo 2020 and beyond," said Fernando Aguerre, ISA President.

Team Japan: the host country will name two surfers for inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games | Photo: Evans/ISA

"This agreement not only underlines our commitment to have the world's best athletes competing for gold in surfing's debut in Tokyo but also to ensure that the competitions reflect the open access and universality of our sport around the world, in all five continents."

"We are also very pleased to have the WSL's full support of and commitment to the ISA World Surfing Games between now and 2020. The participation of the top professionals in their national teams will elevate the surfing to new heights, creating additional excitement and drama in the lead-up to the Olympic Games."

The final decision on the complete process is subject to the approval of the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at its meeting in February 2018.

"The Olympics offers an incredible platform for any sport and surfing stands to benefit from this massive opportunity in 2020 and, hopefully, beyond. It is essential for surfing to showcase its best possible surfing through this opportunity and that requires the world's best surfers from the Championship Tour to participate," added Sophie Goldschmidt, CEO at WSL.

"It's great that the ISA and WSL, in conversation with the athletes, could come to an agreement on the qualification process for 2020. We look forward to enhancing the partnership as we get closer to this fantastic opportunity."

Tsurigasaki Beach has been named the Olympic surfing venue for Tokyo 2020.

Surfing in the Olympic Games | The Qualification System

ISA (22 places)

2019 ISA World Surfing Games
2019 Pan American Games
2020 ISA World Surfing Games
Two Japanese Surfers (Men and Women)

WSL (10 Men and 8 Women)

Championship Tour

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