Paris 2024 Olympic Surfing Competition Faces Environmental Concerns
The upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic surfing competition in Tahiti, French Polynesia has hit a roadblock as concerns about its environmental impact grow. The International Surf Association (ISA) has welcomed the decision to pause the construction of an aluminum tower that was planned to be used during the event.
Tahiti’s Teahupo’o, considered one of the world’s premier surf spots and home to World Surf League competitions, usually sets up temporary wooden structures for events. However, plans for an aluminum tower accommodating judges and television crews have sparked opposition from locals and professional surfers.
In response to criticism, organizers modified their original design by reducing the weight of the tower from 14 tons to nine tons. Despite this adjustment, concerns persist among residents and visitors who started a petition calling for a reconsideration of not only the tower but also other preparations such as drilling platforms and underwater pipelines required for the competition.
The controversy surrounding this structure doesn’t seem to die down easily. Recently, video footage shared by Save Teahupo’o Reef showed a barge used in constructing the tower getting stuck on coral reefs with visible damage caused.
“The ISA was saddened and surprised by witnessing how a test conducted by French Polynesian government resulted in damaging Teahupo’o’s coral reef due to a barge,” expressed ISA in their statement released on Wednesday. They further highlighted that all further testing and preparations have been suspended by the French Polynesian government to learn from this incident.
The ISA has since commended this decision, urging intensified consultations to explore alternative options. Prominent surfer Kanoa Igarashi expressed disappointment over the environmental impact caused by the tower’s construction and questioned its necessity for just a two-day event. He emphasized that Olympic events should leave a positive lasting impact on local communities.
Kelly Slater, an 11-time world champion, also criticized the revised plans for the tower, questioning its need for such a massive structure in relation to the short duration of the competition.
The World Surf League (WSL) voiced their concern about reef damage at Teahupo’o due to ongoing construction work related to building the new tower. They emphasized the importance of engaging with and listening to local communities when making decisions regarding iconic surfing locations like Teahupo’o.
Campaigners and residents have long raised concerns about potential adverse effects on marine life and ecosystems associated with constructing these structures.
- Olympic Gold Medalist Ariarne Titmus admits she faces a challenging road to recovery following ovarian surgery, aiming to make a comeback for Paris 2024.
- Paris 2024 Olympics to showcase medals crafted with iron sourced from the iconic Eiffel Tower
- Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva receives four-year ban from Court of Arbitration for Sport