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Tokyo 2020

Surfing at Tokyo Olympics: Preview, Guide, Schedule, Key Players

Tokyo Olympics Surfing: Event Preview, Rules and Regulations, Events Schedule, Timing and Key Players

​John Florence surfing

​John Florence in action


Sayak Dipta Dey

Updated: 19 May 2022 8:39 AM GMT

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


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

The remaining quotas have been filled with the top performers from the 2019 ISA World Surfing games barring the two American continents. The top surfers from the 2019 Pan American Games have made their way to the Tokyo Olympics.

The six remaining slots have gone to the top performers from the recently concluded 2021 World Surfing games with Japan getting the obvious host slot.


The Surfers will be marked on a five-point marking system depending on their manoeuvres by the judges. Commitment and difficulty; Innovation and Progression, Variety, Combination, and Speed Power and Flow have been pegged as the five most important factors.

The two events will be held across the heats, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. Four to five surfers will take to the waves in each of the heats and at least 50% of the contestants will advance to the next round of heats.

There will be a total of three rounds of heats based on elimination. Surfers will be allowed 30 minutes in the Sea, and asked to make as many waves as possible. The two best scoring waves will be taken into consideration during the final marking tally.​

Stephanie Gilmore in action.


All the surfing events will be held at the Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach, around 100 km away from Tokyo.

#1 Heat 1 and 2 (Men and Women) - 25th July, 3.30 AM - 12.50 PM IST (7 AM - 4.20 PM Local Time)

#2 Heat 3 (Men and Women) - 26th July, 3.30 AM IST - 01.10 PM IST (7 AM - 4.40 PM Local Time)

#3 Quarter-finals and Semi-Finals (Men and Women) - 27th July, 3.30 AM IST - 10.50 AM IST (7 AM - 2.40 PM Local Time)

#4 Bronze Medal Match, Gold Medal Match and Medal Ceremony (Men and Women) - 28th July, 04.30 AM IST - 08.05 AM IST (8 AM to 11.35 AM Local Time)

29th July to 1st August has been kept as reserve days in case the weather at the beach is not susceptible to surfing 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 in the Tokyo Olympics.

#3 Stephanie Gilmore (Women/Australia): Seven-time World Champion.

#4 Owen Wright (Men/Australia): 14-year veteran in the top creme of World Surfing.

#5 Gabriel Medina (Men/Brazil): First-ever Brazilian World Champion.

#6 Italo Ferreira (Men/Brazil): Reigning World Champion and will be the firm favourite to win the gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics.

#7 Igrahashi Kanoa (Men/Japan): Representing the host nation can cause a few upsets.

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