Paris 2024 chief pledges to find solutions to keep Olympic surfing in Tahiti after coral damage

by Ryan Lee
Olympic Surfing Tahiti

The President of the Paris 2024 organizing committee has reaffirmed his commitment to hosting the Olympic surfing competition in Tahiti, despite concerns over coral damage caused by the construction of a judging tower at the site. Tony Estanguet, speaking to Polynesie La Premiere, emphasized his dedication to keeping the event in French Polynesia at Teahupo’o.

Due to the offshore surf breaks at Teahupo’o, Olympic judges need to be positioned in the lagoon. Organizers have proposed installing them and television cameras on an aluminum tower attached to the reef. However, this plan has sparked protests in Tahiti, with environmentalists and critics worried about the impact on coral and marine life. Last week, these concerns escalated when coral damage occurred during a test of a barge intended for tower construction, leading to the suspension of construction by local authorities.

Estanguet acknowledged the need to find an environmentally responsible solution, stating, “We need to find a solution to respect the environment. As organizers, we need to adapt.” Critics on the island have advocated for the use of a wooden tower on existing foundations, but Estanguet cited Olympic security standards as a reason for not adopting this option.

He also assured that safety would not be compromised, and efforts would be made to ensure the barge’s access to the site without damaging the coral reef. The International Surfing Association (ISA) expressed sadness over the coral damage and called for intensified consultations to explore alternative options.

While some French towns have offered to host the surfing events if Tahiti is abandoned as the venue, Estanguet stressed that, for now, this is not an option. He remains committed to finding a technical solution that respects the environment and allows the tower to be installed. This choice aligns with France’s desire to highlight its historical ties to the Pacific and involve its overseas territories in the Summer Games, even though the distant Tahiti venue presents logistical and environmental challenges, given the Games’ main focus in Paris, thousands of kilometers away.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Olympic Surfing Tahiti

What is the main concern regarding the Olympic surfing competition in Tahiti?

The main concern revolves around the construction of the judging tower at the Tahiti venue, which has led to damage to the coral reef.

How does the offshore surf break at Teahupo’o affect the competition?

Teahupo’o’s offshore surf breaks necessitate placing Olympic judges in the lagoon, which prompted the proposal for an aluminum tower attached to the reef.

What are the environmental concerns raised by critics in Tahiti?

Critics are worried about the impact on coral reefs, fish, and other aquatic life when the tower’s foundations are drilled into the seabed and mounted on concrete.

Why do some locals advocate for using a wooden tower on existing foundations?

Locals propose a wooden tower on existing foundations, but it’s cited that this option doesn’t meet Olympic security standards.

What is the response of the International Surfing Association (ISA) to the coral damage?

ISA expressed sadness over the coral damage and called for intensified consultations to consider alternative options.

Are there alternative locations proposed for the surfing events if Tahiti is abandoned?

Yes, some French towns have offered to host the surfing events, but the focus remains on finding a solution to keep the competition in Tahiti.

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Paris2024Supporter December 8, 2023 - 1:38 pm

Paris wants Tahiti, not mainland France, long ties, logistical challenges!

SportsFanatic22 December 9, 2023 - 3:31 am

Tony Estanguet, serious guy, wants Tahiti surf, environment matters!

Reader123 December 9, 2023 - 4:21 am

Olympic surf in Tahiti? Bad idea! Coral damage, tower issues, oops!

NatureLover87 December 9, 2023 - 5:47 am

Critics worry, reef, fish, harm, wooden tower maybe? ISA said, find options!

BeachBum55 December 9, 2023 - 8:37 am

Cool! Surfing in Tahiti for Olympics, but coral, tower, drama. Hope they fix it!


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