Forty surfers are about to make Olympic history, debuting the wave-riding sport for the first time in front of millions of viewers.
More than most of the other 41 sports in the summer games, surfers will have the added drama of relying on Mother Nature to bring a wave of action for the athletes in the water.
The unpredictability of the ocean can be a factor that makes or breaks a podium finish for the athletes, who are already at Tsurigasaki Beach in Japan warming up in the waters where the surf contest is expected to kick off this weekend.
In Southern California, surfing is a popular pastime and sport, but even the most seasoned surfers might need a guide for what’s to come at the Tokyo games.
Here’s a bit of Olympic surfing 101 to get you stoked for the sport’s debut:
Surfer Anat Lelior, of Israel, rides a wave during a practice session at Tsurigasaki beach at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Ichinomiya, Japan, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Will there be surf?
One of the most important elements for surfers will be whether or not nature will deliver waves to actually ride.
The beach the event is being held at, Tsurigasaki Beach about 45 miles southeast of Olympic Stadium, is known for being small and gutless this time of year – and there’s been worry leading up to the event that there will be lackluster waves to showcase the surfers’ skills.
It’s now close enough to the event that forecasters at Surfline.com, a Huntington Beach operation that is the official forecaster for the event, are seeing potential for a tropical cyclone on the horizon for opening weekend.
“Believe it or not, we have a typhoon,” International Surfing Association President Fernando Aguerre said while standing on the sand of the contest site Thursday morning. “The only thing we couldn’t plan, was the surf, the waves. The waves are coming. It’s incredible.”
The swell brought by the tropical system is expected to fill into Japan’s coastline on Sunday, July 25, starting in the 3-to-4-foot range and reaching 5-feet to 7-feet by the end of the day.
Solid head-high to overhead surf is expected to continue Monday, dropping to about 4-foot surf, with occasional 5-footers on Tuesday, and more size filling in by the afternoon. Another favorable tropical system could bring more waves for the second half of the next week, a buffet of waves that’s good news for surfers ready to battle it out for gold.
Ideally, the waves will have enough punch in size so athletes can do big carves on the wave faces or punt to the sky to do progressive aerials above the lip of the wave, or even create hollow waves to allow the surfers to tuck into barrels. Forecasters are also watching winds carefully, because even if there’s swell, bad weather can create choppy, messy conditions that could force them to wait for a better day.
The event needs at most four days of contestable surf, but could be compressed into two and a …read more
Source:: Los Angeles Daily News