Today marks what would have been opening day at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic games. In terms of the rapid evolution of professional surfing, this summer would have been the largest competitive milestone for the sport. But due to unforseen circumstances amid the Coronavirus pandemic, surfing's Olympic debut has been forced to wait until next year.
In honor of the significance of a new sport being inducted into the Olympic arena, the New York Times just released a video interviewing eight future Olympians from the WSL Championship Tour who were scheduled to compete in Japan.
Gabriel Medina, Italo Ferreira, Johanne Defay, Sally Fitzgibbons, Owen Wright, John John Florence, Brisa Hennessy, and Caroline Marks join the NYT to explain what makes surfing so unique, and why it's going to be one of the most interesting events to look out for in 2021.
"In all of these [sports] you have a field, or you have the court, and it's set," says Florence. "In surfing you have a playing field that's always changing."
The Olympic venue for surfing will be at Tsurigasaki beach in Chiba, located just southeast of Tokyo. Though the waves will likely be smaller than at most of the Championship Tour locations, some of the surfers believe it will create an equal playing field for competitors.
Others think that the Brazilians will have an advantage when it comes to aerial surfing.
When asked about Brazil's advantage, Medina told the New York Times, "Yeah, maybe. They would say that in every single wave, I guess. Because the last four years, it's been like that. I grew up watching all the Australians and the Americans doing well. And today we are those guys."
Now, surfers are taking the extra year to train for the unique conditions they will face in Chiba next summer.