Everything you want to know about surfing Olympics debut in Japan, 2021

Congratulations: surfing will make its debut at the 2021 Summer Olympics Games in Tokyo, Japan. Congratulations again: The Olympics will happen after all. They were moved from 2020 to this year, but it wasn’t clear until recently if there would be games or not.

In this article, we’ve collected all the facts about the surfing Olympic debut, answering the most important questions.

Ivan Kuznetsov
Outdoor writer from the Dolomites, Italy, and Karelia, Finland

— The idea of riding on waves has always attracted man as much as the idea of diving to the bottom of the ocean or yachting around the world.

Archaeologists have found that the Peruvians were the first to use fishing boats similar to surfboards about 4,000 to 5,000 years ago. But true surfing originated in Polynesia on two islands, Hawaii and Tahiti.

There, on these Pacific Islands, over time, surfing has developed from an activity known only to the locals into a popular recreational sport.

The founding father and the promoter of modern surfing was Duke Paoa Kahanamoku (date of birth: August 4, 1890) from Hawaii, USA, 5x Olympic swimming champion. Yes, he was also the pro swimmer. After he finished his pro swimmer career, he went to Hollywood to be an actor. In particular, one of his films triggered the boom of surfing.

Thanks to him, and others, by the late 1930s already tens of thousands of Americans were traveling to Hawaii every year to surf on the local spots. But the real popularity of the sport came in the 1960s in California, USA. This is the third significant place of development of the sport — the Californian coast, where there are also many great spots.

Other places include the famous Gold Coast in Australia, as well as many spots in Europe and around the world.

Today surfing is one of the most popular sports on the open water. More: it’s a whole culture with its own heroes, equipment and clothing manufacturers, events, and so on.

Read next about surfing Olympics debut in Japan, 2021 in the Windy.app blog — leading pro weather forecast application for iOS and Android.


Text: Ivan Kuznetsov

Cover photo: Kate Gordon / Unsplash

Subscribe to weekly newsletter — get my new travel book