WSL wants a Surf Ranch in Japan in time for Tokyo 2020

June 28, 2018 | Surfing
Surf Ranch: the World Surf League wants it in Japan by 2020 | Photo: Cestari/WSL

The World Surf League (WSL) is planning the construction of a wave pool in Kisarazu, Japan.

According to Mainichi Shimbun, one of the largest newspapers in Japan, the Surf Ranch is expected to open to the general public in December 2019, just a few months before the 2020 Summer Olympics.

The plans have already been presented to the residents of Kisarazu in a private meeting, and construction works are expected to begin in September 2018.

The Surf Ranch will be built near the Tisayama Expressway, on a 57-hectare plot of land.

"The wave pool will be 580 meters in length and 150 meters in width, and will be equipped with a device that generates artificial waves by electronic control, and about two meters in height," the Japanese newspaper writes.

Beach or Pool: A Silent War is Breaking Out

The secret plans to build a man-made wave pool in Japan could open a silent war between two organizations that have teamed up to select the surfers who will participate in Tokyo 2020.

Fernando Aguerre, president of the International Surfing Association (ISA), fought decades for the inclusion of surfing in the Olympic movement. Sometimes, he did it all by himself.

Aguerre has always advocated the use of natural waves in surfing's Olympic debut and even shared the qualifying spots with the World Surf League. Now, something that was already considered a closed chapter could increase tension between both organizations.

But how will the Argentinian answer to WSL's more or less underground scheme to undermine the original plan to run the Tokyo 2020 surfing program at Tsurigasaki Beach?

Why is the WSL building a Surf Ranch across the Tokyo Bay? Will they lobby the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and try to change surfing's Olympic venue?

One thing is certain: the World Surf League is avidly seeking a return on their investment. But what will be the consequences of overselling a concept that, from a competitive and spectator perspective, has been proved to be repetitive and boring?

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