Surfing and skateboarding – two extreme sports with close ties to Southern California – will officially be part of the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.
The news comes after the International Olympic Committee met in China on February 3 and decided on 28 approved sports which members said had a “strong emphasis on youth”, according to a IOC announcement.
“Skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing, all youth-oriented sports, made their successful Olympic debuts at Tokyo 2020 and all have deep roots in California,” the announcement reads.
The move solidifies surfing’s place on the Olympic schedule, the International Surfing Association said in a statement. But there are still a lot of unknowns as the Los Angeles games approach over which surf spot will be chosen as the competition arena.
Huntington Beach is already pushing for consideration, with experience handling large crowds, numerous nearby hotels, and waves that crash on both sides of the pier year-round.
Visit Huntington Beach CEO Kelly Miller said the IOC’s decision speaks to the success of surfing at the 2020 Tokyo Games and “removes some uncertainty about whether surfing will remain in future games”.
Huntington Beach officials hope the Los Angeles Organizing Committee sees the city as a place not just for surfing, but also for other action sports like skateboarding and more.
“We are Surf City USA. We have demonstrated that we can host the biggest surfing competitions in the world,” said Miller. “I also believe that our infrastructure, our walkability, our world-class resort hotels, parking, key logistical considerations such as electricity and most importantly, the iconic sports competition playground on the north and south sides from our pier – all of these things are tailor-made for must-see TV and social media engagement.
Miller praised surfing’s governing body ISA and its president, Fernando Aguerre, for their decades-long effort to bring surfing into the Olympics.
“Surfing our ocean brings everyone together in one place, for a common purpose,” he said.
Lower Trestles, a jewel in the surfing crown just south of San Clemente, can also be considered due to the high quality of the waves there.
The addition of surfing marks a nearly three-decade journey for Aguerre, who spearheaded efforts to bring the sport into the Olympics.
“It was my dream and my hope to show that surfing deserves to be included in the Olympics for the long term. Today is a truly wonderful day when this dream becomes a permanent reality,” he said in “My heart is full of gratitude at this festive time for all surfers and wave-riding fans,” a statement said.
Aguerre said surfing was a natural choice for the LA games, which are scheduled for July 21 to August 6, 2028.
“As the official sport of California, surfing is synonymous with action, youth and energy,” he said. “And we have a powerful connection to the natural environment and sustainable living.”
In November, Los Angeles officials recommended that action sports be part of their games, but this week’s IOC announcement puts an official stamp on it.
Aguerre said he put in 12,000 hours of effort surfing the games leading up to Tokyo and 4,000 hours since – which he says is 96,000 waves he could have surfed.
Paris officials want to include the sport in the 2024 summer games (the surfing competition will take place in Tahiti), but the prospect for Los Angeles has remained uncertain until now.
“It’s huge,” Aguerre said. “It’s longevity. … I think it’s the start of a new wave.
He saw Tokyo 2020 as a test to see how the sport would perform in the Olympic arena.
“It was obvious that we changed the paradigm, we changed the games,” he said. “We really brought something that they didn’t have.”
Aguerre said that when IOC President Thomas Bach showed up at the Athletes’ Zone in Tokyo, he marveled at how surfers from different countries were hanging out together – competitors on the waves, but friends out of the water.
Often in surfing competitions there’s “a lot of competition, bad blood,” Aguerre said, but Bach acknowledged the camaraderie and, in a photo shoot, even raised his hand with the little finger and thumb outstretched to do the surfing “shaka” sign. .
“I think it’s a new era,” Aguerre said.
Here is the complete list of sports approved for LA28:
World AthleticsWorld Rowing (FISA)Badminton World Federation (BWF)International Basketball Federation (FIBA)International Canoe Federation (ICF)Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI)International Equestrian Federation (FEI)International Fencing Federation (FIE)Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) International Golf Federation (IGF)International Gymnastics Federation (FIG)International Handball Federation (IHF)International Hockey Federation (FIH)International Judo Federation (IJF)United World Wrestling (UWW)International Swimming Federation (FINA)World RugbyWorld Taekwondo (WT)International Tennis International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)International Archery Federation (ISSF)World Archery Federation (WA)World Triathlon (TRI)World Sailing (WS)International Federation of Volleyball (FIVB) International Surfing Association (ISA) World Skate (WSK) ) International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC)