The Polynesian island of Tahiti was selected on Thursday as the venue for the surf events at the 2024 Paris Olympics, after being selected over the beaches in south-west France and Brittany.
Tahiti is located 15,700 kilometers from Paris, but was chosen because it offers virtually guaranteed surf waves during the summer months.
The events take place in Teahupoo, a place where some of the biggest waves in the men's World Cup circuit are located.
"It is an extremely pleasant surprise and recognition for our history that will once again honor Polynesia, where surfing began," said Tahiti Surf Association President Lionel Teihotu to AFP.
According to the Organizing Committee of 2024, there was no difference in the cost or environmental impact of the four possible venues.
Tahiti was favored for "sports" reasons – a survey by the French weather center Meteo France showed that Teahupoo offers a higher probability of good surf waves during the summer months, said the local organizing committee of Paris.
The election of Teahupoo is controversial, as it is currently not represented in the women's world. The waves are currently considered too dangerous for surfers.
The organizers said they would avoid the problem of hosting the surfing events of the Olympic women with careful planning.
"We can dress the women at a time of day when the waves are less strong," Teihotu said. "We have options to plan now, and it will allow women to surf at Teahupoo, too."
The election of Tahiti did not go down well with the other venues applying for surfing, though the decision did not seem very surprising.
"We found over the weeks that Tahiti had the whip in hand, we are not completely surprised," said Country spokesman Philippe Courtesseyre.
The city of Lacanau and its partner Bordeaux questioned the idea of putting surfing so far from Paris in the limelight.
"This decision is very surprising as the late adoption of Tahiti is contrary to the expected values for this type of event, such as the carbon footprint, hosting, associated costs and legacy," said a statement.
Biarritz, one of the most popular places for surfers across Europe, announced that it would not give up hope for hosting the event until the International Olympic Committee approved it.
"This is not a final decision," Biarritz spokesman Laurent Ortiz told AFP.
"It is the proposal of the Organizing Committee. So we will remain an active candidate until the beginning of January.
"As long as nothing is completed, we will keep hope."
The organizers also approved the choice of the Place de la Concorde in Paris as the venue for the five "urban" sports: skateboarding, BMX freestyle, break dancing, 3 × 3 basketball and climbing.
Do not miss the latest news and information.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS for access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer and other over 70 titles. Share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download it as early as 04:00, and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.