Surfing on natural waves has been proposed for Tokyo 2020 ©ISA

Surfing competitions would take place in natural ocean waves rather than in an artificial wave pool if the sport is added to the programme for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, it has been confirmed.

The sport was one of five proposed by Tokyo organisers to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last month, along with baseball and softball, karate, skateboarding and sport climbing.

More discussions are now set to take place within the IOC ahead of a final decision at next summer's Session in Rio de Janeiro.

Men and women's shortboard surfing events were proposed, but it was not immediately clear where competitions would take place, with the International Surfing Association (ISA) having put forward bids utilising both natural waves and an artificial pool.

Artificial pools, such as one which opened in Snowdonia in Wales in August, guarantee high-quality waves while also keeping the sport in the city and thus at the centre of the Games, with ISA President Fernando Aguerre having indicated to insidethegames in July how this was their preferred option due to fears over the size of ocean waves in summer months.

But concerns have emerged over the likely cost of a wave pool as, although the technology involved is thought to be relatively cheap, costs to rent the land on which it would be built would be far more expensive.

A famous picture of a wave in Japan, entitled the
A famous picture of a wave in Japan, entitled the "Great Wave off Kanagawa", produced between 1830 and 1833 ©Wikipedia

This comes with Tokyo organisers determined to scale-down expenditure, with the proposed National Stadium plans having been scrapped on the order of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe earlier this summer due to soaring costs.

Aguerre has now confirmed speculation that events using natural waves have been put forward to the IOC, tweeting how the ISA "hope to bring our sport and culture to Tokyo 2020 and to celebrate it with the Olympic Family".

He added: "Delighted that Tokyo 2020 have proposed natural waves.

"We're excited by the prospect and will continue to work hard towards our Olympic dream."

The governing body now appears far more confident about the quality of the waves, with insidethegames understanding they are confident that conditions in Japan will be good enough.

No venue has yet been decided, but there are several surfing hotspots within reach of Tokyo, in locations such as Chiba, Kanagawa and Izu.

Between late August and October is considered the best time of year to surf in Japan, with more volatile but potentially strong waves between December and March.

The Games are due to take place between July 24 and August 9, a time of year when conditions appear to be more variable.

A World Surfing League (WSL) junior tour event took place in Chiba, almost 50 kilometres to the east of Tokyo, from August 1 to 3, with competitions successfully held on waves of around one to two feet.

Organising an Olympic event would represent a distinct step-up in standard, however, with bigger waves required. 

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