The key elements of the qualification system are as follows:
• 20 men, 20 women.
• Maximum of 2 surfers per gender per National Olympic Committee (NOC).
• Qualification spots will be earned on an individual basis, by name.
• In accordance with IOC guidelines, the qualification events have been determined in hierarchical order of qualification, as further explained below; If two surfers of a gender have qualified through the first hierarchical order, that NOC will not be able to qualify more surfers of that gender through qualifying events lower in hierarchical order.
• All surfers selected by their respective National Federations for their national teams must participate in 2019 and 2020 ISA World Surfing Games in order to be eligible for Olympic qualification. The final details of the eligibility requirements are still under review by the ISA and the IOC.
The hierarchical order of qualification will be as follows:
1. 2019 World Surf League Championship Tour: First 10 eligible men and first 8 eligible women.
2. 2020 ISA World Surfing Games: First 4 eligible men and first 6 eligible women.
3. 2019 ISA World Surfing Games: 4 men and 4 women selected based on their continent. Top finishing eligible surfer of each gender from Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
4. 2019 Pan American Games: First eligible man and first eligible woman in the surfing competitions.
5. Host nation slot: One man and one woman slot will be guaranteed for the host nation of Japan, unless already filled through the above hierarchies. Should athletes from Japan qualify regularly, their slots will be reallocated to the highest ranked eligible surfers from the 2020 World Surfing Games.
Following a landmark agreement with the World Surf League (WSL) in December 2017, the ISA formulated a proposal to the IOC for the complete qualification system. In the months that ensued, the IOC and ISA worked hand in hand to refine the process to promote universal opportunities for surfers and enable for the world’s best surfers to compete in the Games, arriving at the process that has been announced today.
Discussing the news, ISA President Fernando Aguerre said:
“This is another historic moment for the sport of Surfing, and for all of us who have dreamt of our sport’s inclusion in the Olympic Games. The release of the qualification process is a key step on our journey towards Tokyo 2020 and surfers around the world now have a clear path to their Olympic dream. I am excited to see how these incredibly talented athletes perform in qualification with the target of the Olympic podium now within their sight. This process assures true geographical universality, while providing a pathway for participation by the top professionals.
“Olympic Surfing’s debut at Tokyo 2020 promises to be a unique moment. Together with the IOC and Tokyo 2020 we have pledged to bring Surfing’s vibrant culture and youthful energy to the Games in the form of an Olympic Beach Festival, which will run alongside the competition, and give an exciting dimension to the Olympic Surfing experience.
“We are delighted to continue to work alongside the IOC and the Tokyo Organising Committee to put together the best conditions for Surfing’s Olympic debut. I wish the many athletes from around the world the best of luck as they embark on this exciting journey through qualification.”