Surfing is set to make it's Olympic debut in Miyazaki, Japan, in the summer of 2021. After having to refigure what that looks like, last week the International Surfing Association live-streamed "The State of Olympic Surfing" to help fans understand what's next. Future Olympic surfers Jordy Smith and Sally Fitzgibbons, as well as ISA President Fernando Aguerre broke things down. Here are some of the big takeaways:
What A Difference A Year Can Make
This is an obvious one, but with the Tokyo Olympic Games being postponed to 2021, President of the ISA Fernando Aguerre shares that "we have an extra year to prepare and do it better."
Aguerre spent over a decade working to get the sport where it is today. This extra time is giving both the athletes and event coordinators more time to tighten up and fine tune every detail.
It was only four years ago that surfing got its Olympic nod. On August 3, 2016, the International Olympic Committee formally included surfing into the list of gold medal sports.
"For me it was when the dream became a goal and how am I going to position myself for this goal," said Smith. "I am going to do anything I can to make it happen."
Sally's Training With A Beginner's Mindset
Fitzgibbons is taking an interesting approach to logging the extra training time. Her main focus has been on progressing her surfing above the lip with aerial maneuvers, which has humbled her.
"I'm more excited about my surfing than ever and we will see where it leads" said Sally.
And while she admitted that there's been no shortage of frustration and ice packs from blown landings, she's embracing the moment as if she were a beginner and this was all new.
"What was normal can now be epic," she added.
Time At Home Has Been Good For Jordy
Jordy was the first of 18 men to receive provisional qualification for the Olympic games in Portugal during the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal, representing South Africa.
"When I qualified and I was the first male it really sunk in. I just thought about putting one foot in front of the other in order to make it happen" said Jordy.
But with the year derailed, Smith has basically been posted up at home in South Africa for the last few months chasing swells.
"The positive thing about having a year off was that I was able to surf a winter in South Africa for the first time in 13 years. For me, that was huge," continued Jordy. "To be able to surf every spot that I always wanted to, normally I'd be in Brazil grinding out cutbacks and I'd be watching my mates get 20-second barrels. I finally got to experience that. I did not miss one swell."
Olympic Dreams Do Come True
Both Sally and Jordy have long dreamed about representing their respective countries in the Games, and next summer that will become a reality.
"I feel as though in my life I've imagined the Olympic dream time after time, since I was probably six years old," Sally explained. "I don't know what it's going to be like."
"I'm not much of a dreamer. I always put goals in place," Jordy added. "That is what the Olympics was to me. It was a dream. It was probably one of the rarest dreams to me because I had no idea ever that it would be apart of surfing. For that to be apart of during my lifetime during the peak of my career is something so special."