Coast's top surfers take aim at Tokyo Olympics
SURFING: Some of the Sunshine Coast's brightest prospects have signalled their intentions to compete at the Olympic Games after surfing was included in the schedule for Tokyo 2020.
In the early hours of Thursday morning, the International Olympic Committee announced that the sport will make its debut on the globe's biggest stage.
It sparked an enthusiastic response from many of the region's top boardriders.
In-form World Championship Tour competitor Keely Andrew could hardly contain her excitement.
"It's pretty cool. We get to have the opportunity to represent our country on the Olympic stage. That's something I don't think many people saw coming," she said.
"It's something I've got my eyes on."
Andrew, 22, is 13th on the world tour in her maiden campaign on the elite circuit.
She expects to be even better by the time the Tokyo Games roll around.
"Just in the last six months I've learned so much and four years down the track I think I will be a completely different surfer," she said.
"I think surfing is going to be at an incredibly high high level and hopefully I'm at the top of it."
Coolum Beach's reigning junior world champion Isabella Nichols was another to express her desire to compete in Japan.
"It is a really big step for surfing to be included in the Olympics in 2020," the 19-year-old said.
"Being recognised as a major sport is this arena is huge.
"If I end up competing in Tokyo it will be daunting with so many people worldwide watching it but so exciting at the same time."
The Sunshine Coast also boasts men's world number nine, Julian Wilson.
The 27-year-old could not be contacted for comment on Thursday but he has previously told the Daily he was excited by the prospect of surfing featuring at the Games.
"I think it would be great," he had said.
"I think any opportunity for surfers to participate in some sort of team sport would be great (because normally) it's so individual."
The region also has a seemingly-endless production line of junior prospects.
On Sunday, all seven divisions of the Queensland school surfing championships were won by Sunshine Coasters.
The IOC also approved to support karate, skateboarding, sports climbing and and baseball/softball at Tokyo 2020.