Surfers take aim at Tokyo Olympics
SURFING: One of the Sunshine Coast's most iconic sports will be contested at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
In the early hours of Thursday morning, the International Olympic Committee announced that surfing will make its debut on the globe's biggest sporting stage.
With the likes of Julian Wilson and Keely Andrew already on the World Championship Tour and with a host of prospects coming through the ranks, there is a genuine chance a Sunshine Coast athlete could feature in the competition.
Among them is junior world champion Isabella Nichols.
She's excited about the prospect of being a part of something so big in surfing.
"It is a really big step for surfing to be included in the Olympics in 2020,” she 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.”
And given Australia's prominence in the sport, there's every chance they will be among the medals.
Surfing icon, Gold Coast's Mick Fanning, is keen to get involved in whatever capacity he can.
"I think it is great the Olympics has recognised surfing because it is such a global sport these days and for the people lucky enough to be competing it will be very prestigious so I am extremely happy,” Fanning said.
"In four years time I don't think I will be at the top of my game so I would be honoured to be a coach or mentor.”
It's not yet known exactly how or where it will be staged.
"Whether it is in a wave pool or in the ocean is irrelevant, the athleticism, the mindset and the ability to perform under pressure is what makes surfing so unique,” Surfing Australia chair and seven-time world champion Layne Beachley said.
"I think the worldwide audience will appreciate how we can turn a wave into our own beautiful canvas.”
The International Olympic Committee approved to support five new sports at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Game, including karate, skateboarding, sports climbing, surfing and baseball/softball.