Tom Curren, left, is an honorary patron of the 2017 World Surfing Games ©ISA

Former world champion and surfing icon Tom Curren said today that he believes the sport has always deserved a place in the Olympic Games.

Curren is currently at the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games as an honorary patron here in Biarritz.

He never had the chance to compete at the Olympic Games but, as the sport prepares to make its debut at Tokyo 2020, Curren believes it is a fantastic opportunity for surfing.

"I think it [Olympic inclusion] is great," Curren told insidethegames here today.

"Surfing has always been a sport that has been a little difficult to put in a package and, especially in the Olympics, you need sports that are very easy to tell who won and who did not.

"Our sport has come quite far and it is now very technical in how the judging is and I think that was the biggest hurdle, to make sure we have a uniform judging criteria that is not hard to understand.

"The sport has always seemed to me to deserve a place in the Olympic Games."

The 52-year-old American, a legendary surfer from California, has returned to La Grande Plage - the same beach where he was crowned the first ISA junior world champion in 1980.

Tom Curren has won all three major surfing honours during his career ©Getty Images
Tom Curren has won all three major surfing honours during his career ©Getty Images

Curren stands alone in ISA history as the only athlete to be crowned world champion in the junior, open and master competitions.

Two years after his junior triumph in Biarritz, he took top honours at the World Surfing Championships in Australian city Gold Coast.

In 2011, he took gold at the World Masters Surfing Championships in Punta Roca in El Salvador.

Returning to Biarritz, where he lived for a number of years, Curren praised both the town and the competition site.

"That [winning junior gold in Biarritz] was a long time ago you know, over 30 years or so," Curren added.

"The contest is on a bigger scale now and the commitment from the town is huge.

"This beach is a good place for a contest because it's a pretty consistent spot and you will probably find that the best and most experienced surfers will be at the top.

"But, who knows, maybe we will get one of the outsiders doing well."