Overview, Guide, Timeline, Key Players


Surfing is one of five new sports that will debut at the Tokyo Olympics. Surfing is governed by the International Surfing Association (ISA) and will expand into several other disciplines in the next two Olympic editions after the 2020 Summer Olympics. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has unanimously declared that surfing would be included on a one-time basis in the Tokyo Olympics with scope for expansion.


A total of 40 surfers, 20 in the men’s and women’s events from 18 nations, will compete for the ultimate Olympic honour. Surfers will only be allowed to use shortboards. 18 athletes (10 men and 8 women) qualified for the 2019 World Surf Championship Tour.

The remaining quotas were filled with the best players of the 2019 ISA World Surfing games except for the two American continents. The best surfers of the 2019 Pan American Games have traveled to the Tokyo Olympics.

The remaining six slots went to the top players of the recently concluded 2021 World Surfing Games, with Japan getting the obvious host slot.


Surfers will be scored on a five-point scoring system based on their maneuvers by the judges. Commitment and difficulty; Innovation and progression, variety, combination and speed, power and throughput were identified as the five most important factors.

The two events will take place between heats, quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final. Four to five surfers will take the waves in each heat and at least 50% of competitors will advance to the next round of heats.

There will be a total of three rounds based on elimination. Surfers will be allowed 30 minutes in the sea, and they will be asked to make as many waves as possible. The two highest scoring waves will be taken into account during the final scoring.

Stephanie Gilmore in action.


All surf events will take place at Tsurigasaki Surf Beach, approximately 100 km from Tokyo.

#1 Round 1 & 2 (Men & Women) – July 25, 03:30 – 12:50 IST (07:00 – 16:20 local time)

#2 Round 3 (Men and Women) – July 26, 03:30 IST – 13:10 IST (07:00 – 16:40 local time)

#3 Quarter-finals and semi-finals (men and women) – July 27, 3:30 am IST – 10:50 am IST (7:00 am – 2:40 pm local time)

#4 Bronze Medal Game, Gold Medal Game and Medal Ceremony (Men and Women) – July 28, 04:30 IST – 08:05 IST (8:00-11:35 local time)

July 29 to August 1 have been kept as reserve days in case the weather at the beach is not likely to surf on any of the scheduled dates.

Italo Ferreira in action.

Key players

#1 ​John Florence (Men/USA): Two-time world champion and Pipeline Masters award.

#2 Carissa Moore (Women/USA): Reigning world champion and will be the closest challenger for the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

#3 Stephanie Gilmore (Women/Australia): Seven-time world champion.

#4 Owen Wright (Men/Australia): 14 year veteran in the best cream in the world of surfing.

#5 Gabriel Medina (Men/Brazil): First Brazilian world champion.

#6 Italo Ferreira (Men/Brazil): Reigning world champion and will be the big favorite to win the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

#7 Igrahashi Kanoa (Men/Japan): Representing the host country can cause some upheaval.


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