The ‘long road’ to Tokyo
THE head of Channel Islands surfing says two young Islanders have the ability to challenge for a place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but admits that professional riders are likely to take up most of Team GB’s potential slots.
The door to the Olympic Games opened up for Caesarean surfers last year when the Channel Island Surfing Federation was accepted into the International Surfing Association, and the ISA have now welcomed the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) suggested qualification system for the sport’s Olympic debut in two years’ time.
The move will ensure participation of the world’s best professionals in Japan, as well as promoting universal opportunities for surfers from around the world.
A maximum of 40 surfers will compete in Tokyo [20 men, 20 women] – selected using rankings from World Surf League and World Surfing Games events in 2019 and 2020.
Team GB hopefuls could miss out altogether.
‘It’s a long road, and the standard to get to the Olympics will be very high,’ said CISF president David Ferguson.
‘Personally I think Kitty Brewer and Will Masterman have the potential to do very well, but they will have to compete in many tournaments to give themselves any chance.
‘To get to Olympic level a surfer will have to be selected first for Team GB, and I’d expect nearly everyone who gets into that team will be a professional surfer.
‘CI surfers will have to be entering World Qualifying Series events, pro-junior tournaments and compete regularly on the UK Professional Tour.
‘There will have to be great determination shown over the next couple of years and then they will have to be selected by Team GB.’
Ferguson added that developments are not just limited to the Island’s current crop of competitors.
‘It’s not just surfers who will get bigger opportunities now – officials and judges will get the chance to move up a level as well,’ he said.
‘We’ve just had 15 people complete an ISA judging course and officials are looking to upgrade as well.
‘The British Championships are in Jersey next year, I’m expecting all the best surfers in Britain to be coming here to compete, therefore we have to up our standards all round.’
The first step towards the 2020 Olympics starts with the Store It Jersey Championships this weekend at the Watersplash.
The open, ladies and junior division winners will then compete against Guernsey’s best later in the year and the results from that will decide the CI team to compete against England, Wales and Scotland, at Fistral Beach in Cornwall, in October.
To be eligible for Olympic qualification through Team GB, all surfers selected for their national teams [England, Wales, Scotland, CI] must take part in the 2019 and 2020 ISA World Surfing Games.