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Surfers are stoked about the 2020 Olympic games

MARINA DEL REY, CA - MARCH 18:  A recreational surfer prepares to go surfing on March 18, 2014 in Marina del Rey, California.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
MARINA DEL REY, CA - MARCH 18: A recreational surfer prepares to go surfing on March 18, 2014 in Marina del Rey, California. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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This week, the International Olympic Committee announced it will add surfing, among four other sports, to the lineup of games in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

The announcement was made in Rio de Janeiro this week, where the 2016 games will officially kick-off today.

Many Southern California surfers - young and old - said they were stoked by the announcement.

"I think it's great and it's gonna be rad and sick," said 12-year-old Max Lambert, walking home with his surfboard after an afternoon riding waves in Huntington Beach. "I can't wait."

The road to convincing the IOC to include surfing has been long. It began back in 1920, when Duke Kahanamoku, widely considered the "father of surfing" won a gold medal in swimming. The win brought attention to the sport of surfing, but it wasn't until the early 90s when surfers began to lobby the International Olympic Committee.

Bill Sharp, owner of the Huntington Beach Surf School and a coach for pro surfers told KPCC he was a part of the International Surfing Association group that submitted a bid to get surfing in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. At the time, surfing was still largely ignored by the IOC and was denied entry to the games because it didn't meet the committee's standards for entry.

"I'm pissed off that it took this long," he said. "It's the greatest sport in the world."

IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement that he and the entire Olympic committee could no longer ignore the need to include games that appealed to younger athletes. Among surfing, the IOC announced it would include baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding and sports climbing for the first time, calling it the most comprehensive evolution of the Olympic program's history.

"With the many options that young people have, we cannot expect any more that they will come automatically to us," he said. "We have to go to them."

At the 2020 games, 40 surfers from around the world will get their chance to compete for a gold medal. ​