UP-AND-COMER: World junior champion Isabella Nichols, of Coolum.
UP-AND-COMER: World junior champion Isabella Nichols, of Coolum. Kelly Cestari

Nichols excited by prospect of surfing at Olympics

SURFING: Reigning junior world champion Isabella Nichols is excited by the prospect of competing at Tokyo 2020, after the sport moved much closer to Olympics inclusion.

The executive board of the International Olympic Committee has backed a proposal to add the package of surfing, karate, skateboarding, climbing and baseball/softball.

If approved at the IOC session in Rio de Janeiro in August, the change would be the most comprehensive evolution of the Games program in modern history.

Coaster Nichols, 18, is a rising start of the sport, who conquered the world's best juniors at Portugal in January.

The thought of competing at a Games is an enticing one.

"A couple of years ago I guess no-one would have really thought twice about it but competing at the Olympics would be pretty amazing," she said.

"It would be awesome and something else to work towards."

That surfing is being seriously considered is significant in itself, she said.

"It's going to be taken more seriously and hopefully more support comes our way. There could be more opportunities and could become more popular," she said.

Coolum Beach star Julian Wilson - the world's number 13 - told the Daily last month: "I think it (to have surfing at the Olympics) would be great."

At this stage, it's believed organisers would likely favour natural surf breaks rather than a wave pool.

Nichols will on Friday leave for El Salvador to compete in a Qualifying Series event, in her quest to earn a berth on the world tour.